Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (正山小種, Zhèng Shān Xiǎo Zhǒng, "Correct Mountain Little Type") - This legendary smoked red tea hails from Tong Mu, in the Wuyi Mountains. It is the oldest red tea, making the Wuyi Mountains the origin point for both oolong and red teas. This tea is unique in that it is smoked over pine wood. It was developed when, scared away by approaching militia, Ming-dynasty tea farmers fled and left their tea harvest on the trail. The soldiers made camp on the soft piles of leaves, and by the time the farmers returned in the morning, the leaves had oxidized. In order to cut their losses, the farmers dried the “ruined” tea over open pine fires instead of wasting expensive charcoal. The dark, smoky character was completely new and immediately popular, giving rise to the 600-year tradition of curing Zhèng Shān Xiǎo Zhǒng with smoke. Our Xiǎo Zhǒng is produced using traditional methods in Tong Mu itself, now a UNESCO world heritage site. It is cured in a three-story wooden smokehouse in a process that takes two months from picking to finished leaf, overseen by Master Chen Shui Man. Its flavor is deep, clean, and evocative, with a unique pine character, smoky fragrance, and rich, malty sweetness that persists for 7-9 steepings.