The origins of our Tarry Lapsang Souchong
Redolent of pine smoke, this loose-leaf Chinese smoked tea from Fujian province takes the bold, intoxicating character of Lapsang Souchong a notch further. Characterised by black-brown wavy leaves and an amber-coloured infusion, our Tarry Lapsang Souchong offers a sharp note of smoke on the nose and a light yet spicy flavour profile.
True to tradition, this black tea is harvested in summer in China's rugged Wuyi Mountains, using the tougher leaves from the lower parts of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are then smoked over pine wood. To achieve that unique tarry Lapsang Souchong tea taste, this type of tea is smoked using the wood and the resinous bark of the horsetail pine to amplify its flavour. When brewed, the infusion is a beautiful amber colour that hints at its pine-resin influences. Its smoky, woody nature will appeal to those who appreciate single-malts and warm, aromatic hints of spice.
The history of Lapsang Souchong tea
Located in the hardscrabble landscape surrounding Tong Mu village, the tea gardens that supply the leaves for Lapsang Souchong are rooted in mountainous, rocky terrain 1,200-1,500m above sea level. It's here that the very history of commercially viable black tea is thought to have begun when, according to the most popular story, 17th-century battles between Ming forces and the ascendant Qing dynasty led to a passing army camping in one of Tong Mu's tea production facilities. Before the mid-1600s, only green (unoxidised) and oolong (partially oxidised) teas were drunk in China. But as the Tong Mu workers scrambled to catch up with the tea harvest after the soldiers left, they placed the leaves over pine embers to dry faster – and this charismatic tea was born.
Like a dark black tea, Lapsang Souchong is high in caffeine, making it a great all-day pick-you-up, and contains body-boosting benefits besides: B vitamins, which help with energy and fighting infection, plus minerals such as potassium, zinc and manganese.
Lapsang Souchong is particularly appreciated in the West for its unique smell and distinctive savoury taste. But perhaps no nation has embraced it as much as we British, who have made it a staple of afternoon tea menus and use it to create everything from Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon to smoky cocktails.
Other rich and smoky Chinese Black Teas
Our Chinese Keemun Black Tea makes a great breakfast brew for a lighter tea with a hint of smokiness. For those whom may like a blend of Lapsang Souchong with Chinese Keemun, the Russian Caravan tea is something to look out for.
Know someone you'd like to introduce to the smoky flavour of lapsang souchong? Comprising a stylish Zenshi loose-leaf glass infuser mug and 125g caddy of Tarry Lapsang Souchong, our Luxury Black Tea Gift for One is the ideal gift.