MEET THE SMOKY BLACK TEA: LAPSANG SOUCHONG
When many tea drinkers think of tea, they think of black tea. Black tea is a favourite choice of many tea drinkers worldwide.
So if you are also one of the black tea lover, there is no doubt that you must have heard of many black tea types and blends. But have you heard of Smoky black tea?
Oh yes, Lapsang souchong! You got it right. The robust smoky black tea.
MEANING OF LAPSANG SOUCHONG
Typically thought to be the first black tea, Lapsang souchong is a unique and smoky black tea blend.
Instead of being left to wither, its leaves are smoke-dried over burning pine wood to give it a signature smoky flavor.
When a large-leaf black tea is smoked over the pinewood the result is this love-it tea.
There can be different variations of tea due to the strength and flavour of the black tea used to make it and the duration of time and intensity of smoking.
TALE OF LAPSANG SOUCHONG
It is thought that the smoking process was discovered by accident when the presence of soldiers in the area prevented the workers from property finishing their harvest.
The fresh green teas were left to oxidized too long and turned brown. The workers quickly dried the tea over a pine tree fire to save some of the tea and pleased with the smoky flavor of the tea.
Another story tells us that a squad of soldiers passing through the village made their camp near the factory and slept on the soft piles of withering leaves.
In doing so, they ruined the tea crop. To make up for their lack of consideration, the soldiers dried the tea over their pine fire for the tea workers, and so inspired the new flavor.
HOW DOES THE LAPSANG SOUCHONG PROCESS?
Lapsang souchong is processed similar to black tea. The only difference is the intermediary step of smoking over pine woods to add an artificial smoke flavour.
The leaves are first withered over fires of pine or cypress wood. After pan-frying and rolling, they are presses 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. 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.
HARVESTING AREA OF LAPSANG SOUCHONG
The original and authentic Lapsang Souchong is harvested in Wuyi mountain of Fujian province.
The high mountains of Wuyi with thick pine forests and heavy mist provide the ideal environment for growing top-quality tea.
Excellent Lapsang Souchong is also manufactured in Taiwan, from the small amount of black tea produced there.
HOW DOES THE LAPSANG SOUCHONG TASTE?
The well-made cup of Lapsang souchong has a biscuity and robustly smoky flavour. The liquor has dark red colour.
It tastes smooth, thick and its intensive strength lingers on the tongue and mouth.
It’s up to you whether you add milk or enjoy it as plain.