Tasting Notes: Dark amber liquor with bold notes of wood smoke and cedar.
The classic pine-smoked Chinese black tea, Lapsang Souchong has a bold woody flavor, with sweet-smokey cedar undertones. Lapsang Souchong is a black tea for lovers of cigars, campfires and bacon.
Sometimes referred to as the first black tea, the origin of Lapsang Souchong is up for a bit of debate, so we will leave it up to you to decide which story you find more plausible. One origin story credits the resourceful villagers of Tong Mu in the Wuyi province with rescuing their tea crop through creativity. In this legend, picking and processing in the Wuyi region that traditionally produces full-leaf oolongs was interrupted by an invading army. As the army arrived, villagers abandoned their crop and came back to find their leaves turning brown (oxidizing), so they quickly dried them over pine fires, creating the first black tea: Laspang Souchong. Another story for the origin of this tea is much more banal: the traditional green (unoxidized) teas that the Chinese had been trading with Europeans were losing quality over the long trade routes. So, tea makers devised a new way of drying leaves over pine fires that preserved their quality and imparted a distinctly smokey flavor.
Whichever origin story you believe, we are certainly glad that an enterprising tea maker developed the process to oxidize and smoke tea, creating Lapsang Souchong!
Lapsang Souchong has a distinctive, smokey taste that makes for an excellent and bracing morning cup - especially when camping. Add a little Ghost Pepper honey for a cup of tea that'll warm you up like no coffee can!
We also highly recommend using Lapsang Souchong to make hot toddies or cocktail syrups. Lapsang Souchong also makes a great addition to vegan cupboards, as it will impart a smokey, bacony flavor to meat substitutes and vegetables when used in broths and marinades.
You can brew your Lapsang using Western-style or traditional methods. Learn more about how to brew black tea using a traditional gaiwan or yixing teapot here!
Black teas are fully oxidized tea leaves that are created by the will of the producer to create a robust and structured cup. Bearing this in mind, they are the most likely to become bitter and astringent if over brewed. Black tea should be brewed between two and four minutes, according to the style of the tea and your taste, with water just off boil at around 205 degrees. Our high quality black teas may be infused multiple times and will yield different expressions in each infusion.
What is Black Tea?
Black teas are made from fully oxidized leaves. The Chinese refer to black teas as "red teas" in reference to the copper colored of their infusion. Developed in the 18th century, the production process of black tea begins with withering of the leaves, and then moves to rolling, oxidation, drying, sorting, sifting and sometimes, an optional firing.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Congratulations, if you are drinking tea, you have already chosen an incredible, healthful beverage. Tea is considered in many cultures to have medicinal properties. All tea comes from the same plant family, camellia sinensis, and therefore all types and styles contain the same components that contribute to significant health benefits. Influence of the varietal, growing conditions, production techniques, and your brewing practices play a role in the antioxidant and caffeine levels of your cup. Although black tea is considered to have higher caffeine than other tea types this is not necessarily true, and we encourage you to read your body's response to each tea, as caffeine levels in any category can vary from tea to tea.