When the finest black tea leaves are smoked over pine woods, you get one of the world’s famous smoky black tea- Lapsang Souchong. It has a famously smoky aroma and distinct flavor that no other tea ever has.
This distinctive smoky flavor of Lapsang Souchong is referred to as tarry and is a special tea from Fujian province. The Fukienese word ‘souchong means subvariety – that is a subvariety of other black teas from the Wuyi mountains of Fujian.
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 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.
- 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. With its robust aroma and smoky flavour, you will be tempted to spend an ecstatic morning with your cup of lapsang souchong appreciating every sip!
HOT TEA: put 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9 oz/200-260ml of water in the teapot. Pour freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep 3-7 min. Add Milk & Sugar to taste.
ICED TEA: (1L/QT): 6 slightly heaping teaspoons loose tea into a teapot. Pour 315ml boiling water on tea. Steep 5 min. Quarter fill serving pitcher with cold water Pour into pitcher straining the tea. Add ice, top-up with cold water, garnish & sweeten to taste
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 the market in time, it was too late to dry the leaves in the usual way. So they lit open fires of pine wood to hasten the drying. Not only did the tea reach the market in time, but the smoked pine flavor created a sensation!