Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Here’s a decadent and unique treat for tea and chocolate lovers. This is one of six new blends we created for our Box of Chocolate samplers. Lapsang souchong is a unique Chinese black tea that is smoke-dried over pine fires. This gives it a one-of-a-kind smoky flavor. For those who are not familiar with smoked teas, our tea of the week this week is a great introduction since we’ve blended the lapsang with (non-smoked) Nilgiri black tea, organic cacao nibs and natural rich chocolate flavoring. The combination yields a decadent, exotic and comforting cuppa that will leave you craving more.
Learn more about this tea here.
I am not sure what I think about this tea just yet, to be honest. Usually, before I start writing a review, I have a clear idea of how I’ll approach it, but with this tea, I’m not able to do that, because I’ve not yet formed my opinion about the tea. I hope that as I continue to write this review while sipping on the tea, my ideas will come to me. I hope you do not mind me taking you on such a journey!
I usually brew Lapsang Souchong teas in my gaiwan using short steeps, and that’s how I brewed this tea at first. But unfortunately, the short steeps rendered a tea that had very little chocolate flavor because the short steep time did not extract enough flavor from the cacao nibs.
So, I brewed the rest of the sample that I had in this tea in my smart brewer, and hoped that it would turn out better than the previous brewing. I steeped it for 3 minutes using boiling water, and the result is much better: I can taste chocolate now.
But, I also taste a very strong smoky essence from the Lapsang Souchong. I know, I know, that’s supposed to be the idea, right? With a name like Smoky Chocolate, it should be smoky. But I am not so sure about the balance between smoke and chocolate with this. I think I would like it to be a little less smoky and a little more chocolate-y. As it is, the chocolate is delicious, but it’s a little overwhelmed by the smoky notes.
That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s actually good, and the flavor becomes more appealing as I continue to sip. I like that the tea base is a blend of Lapsang Souchong and Nilgiri tea to help cut back on that smoky pine taste just a little. The backdrop of tea flavor is strong and flavorful. I taste hints of pine and an earthiness to the cup, and I find that the earthiness in particular is quite complementary to the flavor of the chocolate.
Is this a favorite from 52Teas? No, but, I did enjoy it, and am glad that I got to try it. I do like how the chocolate and smoke flavors taste together, although I think it would have been better if there was a little less smoke and a little more chocolate. I do find that the chocolate flavors intensify as the tea cools, so if you find with your first few sips of this tea that you want more chocolate taste, just let it cool slightly and I think you’ll discover that chocolate flavor you’re searching for.
This tea is featured in the Box of Chocolates Sampler, and it was the Tea of the Week for the week of February 6, 2012.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!