- Smokey Lapsang Background
- Black Tea Preparation
Our organic Smokey Lapsang Souchong has a smooth crisp character with the remarkable and heady aroma of a pine and oak wood fire. This special smoked tea has a distinctive flavor sometimes referred to as tarry. It is generally consumed with sugar or milk. Depending upon one’s palate the taste can be light and intriguing or it can be heavy and overpowering. Lapsang Souchong is best described as an acquired taste.
Ingredients: Artisan black tea
Origin: Fujian Province, China
The Fukienese word ‘souchong’ means sub variety - that is a sub variety 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.
Legend claims that the smoking process was discovered by accident. During the Qing dynasty, an army unit passing through Xingcun (Star Village) camped in a tea factory filled with fresh leaves awaiting processing. When the soldiers left and the workers could get back into the premises, they realized that to arrive at market in time, it was too late to dry the leaves in the usual way. So they lit open fires of pinewood to hasten the drying. Not only did the tea reach the market in time, but also the smoked pine flavor created a sensation!
The method of production is as follows: The leaves are first withered over fires of pine or cypress wood. After pan-frying and rolling, they are pressed into wooden barrels and covered with cloth to ferment until they give off a pleasant fragrance. The leaves are fired again and rolled into taut strips. Then they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on wooden racks over smoking pine fires to dry and absorb the smoke flavor. When finished they are thick, glossy black strips, and produce a dark red beverage with a unique aroma and taste. It is generally consumed with sugar or milk. Depending upon one’s palate the taste can be light and intriguing or it can be heavy and overpowering. Lapsang Souchong is best described as an acquired taste.
Water Temperature: Just off the Boil (205 degrees)
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 tsp. to 1 Tbl.(2.5 grams)
Steep Time: 2--4 minutes
Number of Infusions: 1
When measuring it is best to weigh your tea. (I use a small pocket scale. We have a few or you can get good inexpensive scales at Old Will Knotts) Measuring volume with a teaspoon or tablespoon is not accurate because whole leaf teas take up much more space than broken, graded teas.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." However, leaving the tea leaves in the water will result in an over-infused, bitter tea. If you want a stronger cup of tea increase the amount of leaf rather than the steeping time. If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.