Anyone tried Lapsang Souchong?


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Anyone tried Lapsang Souchong?

Postby jennytea » Jun 16th, '09, 04:33

Or Smoky Russian Caravan?
I am curious about how smokey teas are, any tried them and what was your experience with them?
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Postby entropyembrace » Jun 16th, '09, 17:11

I love my smokey teas! :lol:

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.

Image
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Postby Rainy-Day » Jun 16th, '09, 18:09

I don't like Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan, but I think they work ok with food or sweets. The only smoky tea that I like is Golden Yunnan. At best, it's pure smoke, while L-S and R-C have a thick, sausage-y, musty flavour.
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Lapsang Souchung

Postby Prismatic » Jun 17th, '09, 00:17

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.

I drink Lapsang-Souchung about every other day. In between I like Earl Grey and Darjeeling, but I always come back to Lapsang Souchung.

This is not everyone's tea, but it's an excellent black tea. Just the smell of the leaves is intoxicating. It must not be overbrewed or it turns bitter— 3 to 4.5 minutes is best.
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Postby Ebtoulson » Jun 17th, '09, 01:00

You might also want to try hojicha, a roasted green tea. It has a nice smoky flavor but not quite as strong as lapsang.

I like lapsang in in the morning, its one of my breakfast teas :D.
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Re: Lapsang Souchung

Postby sandy » Jun 17th, '09, 11:37

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.


Wow, Prismatic! How wonderful to have met Mr. Wendell himself!

I grew up in Boston and was introduced to Hu Kwa in the early 70's by a beloved piano teacher. She taught me how to brew it and said it was the best one could get, since the revolution had destroyed the privately owned estates on the Chinese mainland. (She had a last ancient box half-full of individual leaves rolled and tied with red silk--a gift from a wealthy student whose family used to own an estate and import their personal supply.)

Fortunately, the Chinese tea harvest has recovered and is available to us again. But Hu-Kwa is still one of my all-time favorites, both for itself and its place in the romantic history of the Boston tea trade.
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Postby cyberhoofer » Jun 19th, '09, 10:19

You might also give a try to Tarry Lapsang Souchong. Coming from Formosa (i.e. former Taiwan!!), they are just a fraction 'weaker' than Chinese Lapsang in leaf intensity / liquor, but a tad heavier in the 'husky' overtones.

I bought mine in Finland, but I take it you'd find outstanding Tarrys in the States from any reputable online vendor.

Compared to Darjeelings (in my mind)) a Tarry L.S. is a sort of 1st Flush as opposed to Chinese Lapsangs (2nd Flush in DJs).

Just my cup'o'tea, but hope I was able to unpuzzle your future brews...

-cyberhoofer-

P.S. You can't overbrew a Tarry, it nerver gets bitter(ish)!
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Postby jennytea » Jun 20th, '09, 18:04

They had a limited selection at the store I went to but I did find Lapsang Souchong! I didn't try it yet, but the smell is not as strong or overpowering as I expected. I can't wait to try it!
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Postby Dronak » Jun 22nd, '09, 19:19

I like the smoky flavor of lapsang souchong. It's certainly noticeable, but I don't find it overpowering. I'm sure the exact strength of the flavor can vary though, and you might find that you don't like the smoky flavor at all. But for what it's worth, I do like it, and if I want something a little different than my usual black tea or (masala) chai, I go to lapsang souchong.
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Postby brad4419 » Jun 23rd, '09, 08:04

entropyembrace wrote:I love my smokey teas! :lol:

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.

Image


entropyembrace Im adding that lapsang to my list of teas to try.

I love lapsang souchong, the smokey smell and flavor of lapsang is such an amazing experience.

never had Russian caravan.
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Postby MarshalN » Jun 23rd, '09, 11:13

Keep in mind though, usually the more smoky the tea is for these types (Lapsang or Russian Caravan) the lower the grade. The highest grade lapsang are only mildly smoky -- so don't take "more smoke" to mean "better". It's usually the other way around.

Although of course some people like the smoke, and that's all good.
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Postby Thirsty Daruma » Jul 17th, '09, 02:01

Lapsang Souchong is my absolute favorite winter tea. Living in Seattle, and too cheap to turn on heating, and also afflicted with windows so poorly insulated they may as not have been there at all, I counted on LS to bear me through the winter.

If the smoky taste of either LS or Russian Caravan is too much for you to stomach (literally! I remember sipping my first cup of Russian Caravan just fine before getting a little queasy about half way through) I recall drinking a tea I purchased fromSeven Cups Denver called "Imperial Lapsang Souchong which was a lot like it's huskier, non-Imperial counterpart, but subtler on the smoky taste, and with better complementary flavors. I give that to new tea drinkers and they're usually quite impressed without finding the smokiness off putting.
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Postby JP » Jul 18th, '09, 17:29

I got to have them smokey notes! I'm having a cup of Lapsang Souchong No. 8320 right now. I picked up a big tin (200g) of it at the local Asian supermarket. It is produced in the Wuyi region. Good tea, good color and a sweet finish to it.
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Zheng Shan Xiao Chung

Postby jjb » Jul 18th, '09, 21:38

I've recently become addicted to reading about tea online, and I just unearthed an article worth mentioning on this thread. The whole thing is about the history and current underrated state of black teas from Fujian, whence most Lapsang Souchong comes. It's very interesting, and if you, like me, love reading about such stuff I suggest you read it here.

This excerpt concerns the original Lapsang Souchong, or Zheng Shan Xiao Chung, and the origin of the name '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.


Indeed, a quick Google search revealed that pretty much the only place to buy Zheng Shan Xiao Chung online is here, and not for too cheap.
(Someone buy some! I want a review! :) )


The only Lapsang I've personally had is Adagio's, and I quite enjoyed it, although I wouldn't be able to drink it every day. I definitely agree though:
It must not be overbrewed or it turns bitter— 3 to 4.5 minutes is best
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.

Vive le thé!
Jacob.


PS-- Alwyays rinse it, too. I slack on this with other teas but the improvement in taste is undeniable it with Lapsang, at least with Adagio's. Plus we don't want all those gnashty chemicals. :X
Last edited by jjb on Jul 21st, '09, 02:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MisterPanda » Jul 19th, '09, 04:19

I actually just purchased an ounce of LS from a local vendor today. The tea smelled strongly dry, quite similar to a campfire, and when it brewed it was lovely. I guess I fell in the "love it" category after 1 cup! About 7 cups later, I am ending the night looking forward to purchasing a whole tin!

I really like the smokiness of this tea, so if the 'higher quality' LS teas are less smoky, I might end up paying more for something I like less!

LS is certainly a tea everyone should try. Do you like the smell of a campfire? Smoked sausage? etc? Then you might love this tea! It isn't "smokey" in the abrasive cigarette kind of way. It is smokey in the... comforting, warm, earthy, nostalgic way. Like falling asleep in front of the fireplace Christmas night.

This might well become one of my favorite teas!
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