Lapsang Souchong from Twinings. . .

Chapters & Cups – The City of Brass’s Perfect Tea

Welcome my dear readers to a new segment exclusive to Sororitea Sisters! Here I will discuss my latest reads and what tea goes perfectly with the said read. I welcome your comments about new reads I should look into, what tea you would also think goes well with the read, or anything else you would like to add!

.Within the past few months, I have become the proud owner of S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel, The City of Brass. To give you a little bit about this book before I get started, this book focuses on a young Egyptian woman who lives in poverty and to make ends meet she uses her impressively deft hands and the mysterious ability that allows her to heal the sick. Now since this is set in the 18th century her abilities mark her as unholy but regardless she is still called on by the population of Cairo to heal their ailments. While doing this she foolishly summons a several centuries old Daeva warrior that quickly pulls her into the world of Daevabad that is unseen to the human eye full of ancient magic and dangerously confusing court politics.

To say the least, I devoured this book and now I have to wait until 2019 for the next installment. And while this book is commonly referred to as a young adult because the protagonist goes on a journey of self-realization I think it will be more apt to call this an adult novel because of some of the themes in this book. There are violent and sexual themes but it is not to the level that the Game of Thrones series is. I would say that this would be good for someone who is 18 and up.

Now the tea that I believe that is the perfect companion is Lapsang Souchong. More specifically Twinings Lapsang Souchong but I am sure that any other tea brands will do. I think this tea is a perfect companion for this read for it is as rich and smoky as the mood is that Chakraborty crafts. From the smoky djinn and daeva to the richness of the history and the populace of Daevabad. Also not to mention there is a part where a certain magical tea is described and it reminded me instantly of Lapsang Souchong.

As you can probably guess reader, I give this book 10/10 cups of tea. This book is perfect for any fantasy lover that enjoys traveling to a new world inside of our familiar world. The protagonist is strong and clever and the cast of characters that are presented in the book are fully fleshed out and are memorable.

See you for the next read!

Kara


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Twinings
Description

Lapsang Souchong, also referred to as smoked tea, is one of the worlds’ oldest and most distinctive black teas. The tea is grown in the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China and is made by only a select number of estates. Once a very secretive process, Lapsang Souchong is prepared using the same manual techniques today that have been passed down from generation to generation.

After the tea is plucked, the leaves are withered over cypress or pine wood fires. They are later placed into barrels so that the smoky aroma intensifies. As a final step, the leaves are placed into flat wicker baskets and positioned on bamboo trays over smoky pine fires, where they dry and absorb even more aroma. The finished tea leaves are thick and black and when steeped in hot water, produce a rich tea with a unique, smoky taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hot Cross Bun from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

I was too chicken to order a full supply of this springtime blend, but I did get a free sample so I got to get a taste risk-free.  Hot Cross Bun is one of the Easter flavors released by Bluebird Tea Company. This is a black tea and rooibos tea blend, though rooibos makes up the majority, so you won’t be overloaded with caffeine.

The scent of this blend was vibrant and noticeable right out of the bag.  Some of the black tea was clearly a smoky lapsang souchong, but the smoked flavor was closely followed by a powerful, sweet vanilla scent.  Quite the flavor duo.

Brewed, this tea continued to open up and show off its delicious ingredients.  The smokiness cooled off, and became more like the suggestion of a fire in the fireplace.  The creamy vanilla was heightened to the decadence of buttercream icing. Both flavors were nicely balanced by sweet and tart orange zest to bring it all together.

This is a great tea for those days that you want a sweet dessert blend, but don’t want to feel too much like a pastry chef.  The whiff of rugged lapsang souchong brings a unique boldness to this brew and makes you appreciate favorite flavors like cream and citrus in a new light.  Don’t be a chicken like me and the next time you can-order a full bag of this springtime tea before it’s gone!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Rooibos
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Description:

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Bold Scotsman from Tupelo Honey Teas

The Bold Scotsman from Tupelo Honey Teas is said to pay homage to The Outlander Series Books and Characters.  I have to admit I haven’t read them but I will tell you what I think about this tea.

It’s not the smokiest of smoky teas but there is still a bit of smoke, indeed!  I’m assuming that the smokiness of the Lapsand Souchong was knocked down a bit by the addition of the Assam, Kenyan, and Keemun or maybe it was just because of the ratios used by each of the 4 black tea bases.  What ever the case this blended black tea base is really fabulous!

Just because the Lapsang Souchong isn’t the prominent flavor here doesn’t mean this tea isn’t bold.  It’s just a different kind of bold.  In addition to the slightly smoky flavors I can also pick up on crusty and fruity notes, too!  This is one of those teas that makes me say “YUM” out loud while sitting in an empty room by myself.  The Bold Scotsman from Tupelo Honey Teas is one of those teas that makes you pause and think of the multiple layers of flavor it leaves dancing in your mouth.  This one goes on my RECOMMENDED list!  Thanks  – The Bold Scotsman from Tupelo Honey Teas!


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy:  Tupelo Honey Teas

tupelogo-longDescription: 

This tea was made to pay homage to the Outlander series books. Named by the local Ahtlander group, The Bold Scotsman is for everyone’s favorite character, Jamie Fraiser.

Bold, peaty, and slightly smoky this tea is best served on a cold day with a hot bowl of parritch.

Ingredients:  Assam, Lapsang Souchong

Learn even more about this tea here

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas

smokyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Majesteas

Tea Description:

Our own special blend of fine black tea will delight the single-malt whiskey lover. This tea combines peaty smokiness with a hint of citrus.

Region: China, India, Sri Lanka

Leaf: Black, full leaf mixed with cut pieces

Water Temperature: 212F

Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

Preparation: Makes a good afternoon or morning tea, can be milked and sugared

Flavor Profile: Medium strength, smoky, peaty and smooth

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a heavy-duty tea for sure!  If you are a fan of Lapsang Souchong this tea will most likely intrigue you!  What makes this tea different from your average every day Lapsang Souchong is that this Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a blend of their fine black teas with a hint of citrus.  It is VERY smoky and quite ‘peaty’ as well.  Majestea says this tea will delight ‘the single-malt whiskey love’ and that it is ‘perfect after a meal.’

It’s nothing short of a ‘slap you in the face’ morning wake-up tea but if you are afraid of smoky teas you have been warned.

The citrus notes are moreso in the front of the sip and the malt finishes everything off.  Personally I enjoy this tea after the appropriate brew/infusion times and at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.  It seems to bring more of the citrus notes out.

This is an oldie-but-a-goody from my stash that I am not sadly out of.  Perhaps this is a smokey tea that you will enjoy!  If you do be sure to let us know in comments!