Lapsang Souchong Tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.


Jul 9th, '16, 11:50
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by ethan » Jul 9th, '16, 11:50

[quote="jayinhk"]The only LS I've tried was from Fortnum and Mason--

Jay, That was the first L.S. I had. I dated a domestic worker in Hong Kong in late 80s, early 90s, & her employer had it. When she learned that I wanted to try "good tea", she took some of each "flavor" from the tins & replaced it w/ the cheapest loose Chinese tea which probably improved the taste because I think F. & M. is a bit over-flavored (strong).

Anyway, I think that the Fortnum & Mason is typically good L.S., but I don't respect the company. After the BBC documentary on the terrible exploitation & lives of tea farms' laborers, the company said that it would ensure they would not tolerate it. The promise to get their suppliers to change or change suppliers was a lot of hot air. F & M said it had personally saw the improvements it had called for, but no improvements were made. Follow-up by the BBC & a rebroadcast of the documentary followed by new comments that nothing had changed, did not shame major tea companies into pushing for improvement.

On the other hand. It is not easy. Many tea farms are too old & there is worldwide competition for producing the cheapest tea.

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Jul 9th, '16, 13:04
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by jayinhk » Jul 9th, '16, 13:04

ethan wrote: Anyway, I think that the Fortnum & Mason is typically good L.S., but I don't respect the company. After the BBC documentary on the terrible exploitation & lives of tea farms' laborers, the company said that it would ensure they would not tolerate it. The promise to get their suppliers to change or change suppliers was a lot of hot air. F & M said it had personally saw the improvements it had called for, but no improvements were made. Follow-up by the BBC & a rebroadcast of the documentary followed by new comments that nothing had changed, did not shame major tea companies into pushing for improvement.

On the other hand. It is not easy. Many tea farms are too old & there is worldwide competition for producing the cheapest tea.
I'd never buy anything from Fortnum and Mason myself, but the tea was a gift to my mother from my future sister-in-law. She actually works for a non-profit organization that tries to help improve factory workers' conditions around Asia. I think she'd be mortified if she knew Fortnum & Mason were up to that kind of thing, especially since she bought a bunch of stuff from their store in London!

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Jul 14th, '16, 23:54
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by Takarabune » Jul 14th, '16, 23:54

I adore lapsang souchong tea, particularly The Republic of Tea's. One sniff, and I'm reminded of summertime bonfires.
Harney & Son's Russian Country blend has my curiosity.

Jul 15th, '16, 09:14
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by ethan » Jul 15th, '16, 09:14

Takarbune, Today is the last day of 8 days at a friend's house. She broke 5 ribs & punctured a lung in an accident & eventually signed herself out of a rehab against medical advice. In her house are dozens of tins of Harney & Sons teas, but I really feel "tea" should be the word. All of the black tea is a uniform "blah" w/ flavor added. For other brands I can say the same, such as Kusmi violet. The best part of the tea routine is opening a tin & enjoying the aroma of the flavored dry leaves. The Lapsang Souchong from Upton mentioned before by me, is the only exception.
I think if one has a few flavors at home, then blending oneself might make sense before amassing a collection. (I don't; this kind of tea is not my thing.) I do put a simple, commercial teabag into the glass jars of preserves when they have too little left to spread on bread. The cheapest tea steeped in the jar w/ milk added is a comfort food reminding me of old relatives who used to put a teaspoon of apricot or cherry preserves into their tea when they wanted something special to drink.
Looking at Adagio's black & flavored teas, I think you will see longer leaves than what comes from H & S, Kusmi, Upton, etc. I repeat that this is not my thing, but I drink such teas from Adagio at another friend's a few times a year & feel they are superior in this category.

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Jul 18th, '16, 01:44
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by Takarabune » Jul 18th, '16, 01:44

ethan wrote:Takarbune, Today is the last day of 8 days at a friend's house. She broke 5 ribs & punctured a lung in an accident & eventually signed herself out of a rehab against medical advice. In her house are dozens of tins of Harney & Sons teas, but I really feel "tea" should be the word. All of the black tea is a uniform "blah" w/ flavor added. For other brands I can say the same, such as Kusmi violet. The best part of the tea routine is opening a tin & enjoying the aroma of the flavored dry leaves. The Lapsang Souchong from Upton mentioned before by me, is the only exception.
I think if one has a few flavors at home, then blending oneself might make sense before amassing a collection. (I don't; this kind of tea is not my thing.) I do put a simple, commercial teabag into the glass jars of preserves when they have too little left to spread on bread. The cheapest tea steeped in the jar w/ milk added is a comfort food reminding me of old relatives who used to put a teaspoon of apricot or cherry preserves into their tea when they wanted something special to drink.
Looking at Adagio's black & flavored teas, I think you will see longer leaves than what comes from H & S, Kusmi, Upton, etc. I repeat that this is not my thing, but I drink such teas from Adagio at another friend's a few times a year & feel they are superior in this category.
I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Ethan.
I've never tried Upton's blend, but will certainly give it a go.
Adagio does make really good tea, and I never turn down a cuppa Earl Grey Bravo.

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Jul 21st, '16, 00:51
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by john.b » Jul 21st, '16, 00:51

ethan wrote:...
Preparing the last bits of her 4 oz. foil bag, the dry tea seemed like it was dust & chopped leaves, but it expanded to show it was better than that. Anyway, we drank decent, acceptably tasty lapsang souchong. John B. treated me to some natural L.S. (not smoked) that is better but not world's away from this.

It's probably as well to clarify that the unsmoked version that I passed on wasn't Cindy's. I bought some awhile back from another vendor and had extra that I'd been holding onto. As I mentioned in that earlier post Cindy's is definitely better, at least the version I have of hers, compared to that other, although the general styles are comparable.

It's not as if those teas are difficult to brew but I find that they work much better at one particular strength, that the elements just balance well there, and not nearly as well brewed lighter or stronger. At least in my opinion and experience black teas typically aren't so much like that; they can support a range of preparation styles better than most. Of course anyone would prefer tea brewed according to their preference, since that's a completely circular statement, but it's more normal for other types of teas to really "click" in one particular way.

Related to smoked versions, I love it when those work, it's just tricky finding one that strikes the right balance. Preparation as too smoky ruins them, and even if the level of smoke isn't an issue the effect can come across as sour instead of warm, complex, and earthy. If the problem is the level of smoke and not the effect it's possible to just cut the tea, dilute it with another similar black. I used some to make a masala chai once, mostly as an experiment, and that worked, the way that one flavor element mixed in with the spicing.

Jul 21st, '16, 09:57
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Re: Lapsang Souchong Tea

by ethan » Jul 21st, '16, 09:57

John B., Very wise observation & well-written. Thanks

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