Lapsang Souchong (Organic)
Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province
Grade: Butterfly Lapsang
Altitude: 1050 – 1500m above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: A smooth crisp character with the remarkable heady aroma of a pine and oak wood fire.
Infusion: Tending bright and lively.
Ingredients: China Black tea
Description: In life there are many things we tend to love or hate, things for which a middling position is impossible. Consider: Liver and onions.
Hip Hop Music. Getting caught in the rain. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Well now you can add a tea to the list –
Lapsang Souchong. Variously compared to a burning campfire or ashtray, the flavour of Lapsang Souchong is to the uninitiated, quite an intense flavour to behold.
However, to those who know, the smoky cup of a high quality Fujian Lapsang is second to none, mysteriously miraculous, a feast for the taste buds, truly one of those unique items for which there is no middle ground of appreciation.
This special smoked tea has a distinctive flavour sometimes referred to as tarry, and is a special tea from Fujian province. The Fukienese word ‘souchong’ means sub variety – this 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 flavour. Interestingly the best Lapsang is produced in the nature reserve 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.
So how is this miraculous tea produced and who conceived of it in the first place? Well, there is only one way to produce it.
Souchong leaves, noted for their thick, rough appearance are withered over burning pine bows, placed in barrels covered with cloth and allowed to ferment. A process which has gone virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. And who came up with the idea?
Like many developments in the world of tea there is more than one story. One story maintains that during the Qing Dynasty an army unit passing through a small village decided to camp in a tea factory. Once they were gone, the workers realized that the only way to get the tea ready for the next day’s market was to dry it over a fire. They did exactly that and voila, Lapsang Souchong was born.
Story number two describes a situation aboard an English Tea Clipper enroute from China. In this story, waves broke over the deck during a storm and soaked a shipment of Fujian tea. The sailors, recognizing this to be very bad for business decided to dry the tea in large pans set over a campfire. Et voila, Lapsang Souchong was born again.
So, take your pick. Which story do you like?
The modern method of production is as follows: The leaves are first withered over fires of pine and 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 flavour. When finished they are thick, glossy black strips, and produce a dark red beverage with 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.
May we suggest you mull it over a nice hot cup of tea? Inhale the rich smoky aroma and absorb the mystery of its origins. Next take a sip and note how the smoky sensation fills your mouth in a way no other tea possibly could. Can you tell which side of the
love/hate relationship we fall on? It is important to steep Lapsang for slightly less time than you would other teas. Even for a true connoisseur the flavour of an over-steeped Lapsang can be slightly overwhelming. The flavor may also be enhanced with a touch of milk and sugar. In conclusion, we are pleased to offer you this superb tea, especially so considering its organic status.
Unlike many inferior Lapsangs that may be grown and flavoured with chemicals, this tea is 100% natural. So brew a pot today, and get with the love.
Hot Tea Brewing Method: Bring fresh cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 200-260mL of fluid volume in a teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Serving this as iced tea is generally not recommended, however, should you wish to brew it anyway, please follow the instructions below.
Iced Tea Brewing Method: (to make 1 Litre): Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using fresh cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the tea. Add ice and to up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. Note some quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of quality and nothing to worry about].
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