Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: English Tea Store
The Lapsang Souchong China Tea blend from English Tea Store is a smooth crisp character with the remarkable heady aroma of a pine and oak wood fire.
The tea originates from Fujian province. The Fukienese word ‘souchong’ means subvariety – that is a subvariety of other black teas from the Wuyi mountains of Fujian. When Lapsang Souchong was first exported to western European countries and became famous on the international markets – it was no doubt due to the distinct aroma and flavor. Interestingly the best Lapsang is produced in the nature preserve located in the Wuyi mountains where the high mountains with thick pine forests and heavy mist provide the ideal environment for growing top quality tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
As I’ve said on many occasions, I tend to be wary of heavily smoked teas. And Lapsang Souchong … well, it really doesn’t get much smokier than that, does it? This Lapsang Souchong Black Tea from the English Tea Store is so smoky that I could smell the smoke before I even opened the tin that I had it stored in. Smokin’!
The reason for my wariness of smoky teas is that … I find the heavy smoke to be a bit off-putting. It smells to me a bit like a campfire combined with cigar smoke and I’m not … into drinking a liquefied version of that. And as I’ve mentioned a few times, my first few experiences with Lapsang Souchong have not been positive. I have since learned better ways to brew the tea so that I can enjoy it.
Here’s what I do: I bring the water to a boil and then I steep the leaves for about 10 – 15 seconds, and then I strain off the liquid and discard it. A little rinsing of the leaves. Then I steep the tea for 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water, and strain it immediately. From this process, I get a tea that is smoky, but not so smoky that I can’t lift the cup to my lips without feeling put off by the smell of smoke. It smells smoky, it tastes smoky … just not as smoky as I’d experience if I were not to do the rinse and steeped it longer for 2 1/2 minutes.
And when I say I can enjoy the tea … I really do like it! The smoky tones are still very clearly defined, but, I also taste other aspects of this tea that I really like. I taste the caramel-y undertone that sweetens every sip. It has a rich, robust taste to it that is invigorating.
No, Lapsang Souchong is not my favorite tea now. It probably never will be. But I like it now. It’s not something that I’d drink daily, but it’s something that I do enjoy about once a week … and this Lapsang Souchong from English Tea Store is a really pleasant example of a fine tea.