Prismatic wrote:Lapsang Souchung has been my favorite tea since college—over fifty years now. One of the best is Mark T. Wendell's Hu-Kwa, but I also like Upton's Black Dragon, a little less smoky and more delicate.
When I was in college in the 1950's Mr. Wendell was still alive and I used to buy it from him in downtown Boston. He was always willing to talk about tea. In those days it was hard to get tea from Red China and he was making do with tea from Taiwan for much of his business.
entropyembrace wrote:I love my smokey teas!
They can be mixed though if the leaf quality isn't good you'll end up with a flat taste overpowered by the smoke and it won't be a very pleasant experience. You should be looking for something that looks like a good keemun tea...evenly chopped leaf buds. The best Lapsang Souchong is from Wuyi and with the Russian Caravan I think it's important to look for aroma notes other than the smoke since it's a blend of Lapsang Souchong with other teas.
here's a photo of AAA grade lapsang souchong from Wuyi
it's available at http://www.jingteashop.com/pd-red-tea-z ... -zhong.cfm and is my favourite Lapsang Souchong.
[W]e at last learned from our tea manager that the tea we drank earlier was the original WuYi Bohea tea, or what the tea manager considers the authentic Lapsang Souchong, or the proper Zheng Shan Xiao Chung. He cautioned us that the Lapsang Sauchong we see in the West is not the original smoky tea, and although it is somewhat confusing, the same Chinese name Zheng Shan Xiao Chung applies both to this original tea and to the Lapsang Souchong teas known from exports. Xiao Chung refers to the limited production from this region, and the relatively small leaf of the genuine article. Approximately 300 to 400 years ago, no trademarks defined tea from this area. Zheng means genuine or authentic, so Zheng Shan (mountain) was used to distinguish teas of this area from other producing areas. The local dialect pronounces pine as "lap," which was later added and thus became Lap Shan Xiao Chung. This, however, eventually developed into Lapsang Souchong (as it is known today).
The special grade fine leaf tea that was served (the group later learned) was made after six hours of withering and 12 hours in the smoking rafters. The gentle hint of smoke we detected in the tea was sweet and haunting, inviting repeated sips. This original Zheng Shan Xiao Chung is soft and tasty, without the brasher smoke of a conventional Lapsang Souchong.
At an altitude of 1135-meters, this tea comes from trees in a small area in this hidden reserve. Admittedly, the very limited production from a single season's (spring) plucking makes this costlier than the standard Lapsang Souchong, and one that rarely finds its way to being exported. However, knowing a bit about its locale and comparing it to the bolder, somewhat harsher standard version, the original Zheng Shan Xiao Chung can still be considered a relative bargain.
After the four-minute mark it quickly acquires a harsh astringent aftertaste, which is bearable and wholly separate from the foretaste, but not subtle by any means.It must not be overbrewed or it turns bitter— 3 to 4.5 minutes is best