There is a fairly recent thread on Lapsang Souchong in this subforum, but rather than hijacking it I thought I'd made a new one.
I will be travelling to China in six weeks time and it's a good time for me to stock up on some tea from Taobao. I have a favorite Taobao vendor for yancha that I will make an order from. Other than that, what I'm craving the most these days is Lapsang Souchong. However, I am finding it very hard to distinguish between different kinds of it.
As I have written elsewhere, I totally dig Jing Tea Shop's Lapsang Souchong. It has what I find to be a perfect balance between smokiness and deep longan flavors. I have compared it to a few other (cheaper) alternatives recently, with Jing's variety standing head and shoulders above the others.
It's been a long time since I had any unsmoked lapsang varieties, but that's really not what I'm looking for. I have no idea what's traditional and what's not, but I'm simply looking for a full-bodied, smoked (but not tarry style smoked) lapsang. Most of what I find on Taobao is either pricey stuff that's probably both quality and unsmoked or very gently smoked, often with whole leaves, or cheap stuff that I bet is no better than the variety from Palais des Thés that I tried the other day.
My main problem (beyond the general problem of distinguishing between good stuff and junk from Taobao) is that I don't really know what terms to use in my searches. Does anyone have recommendations here?
Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.
That's always an option, but we'll probably stay in Suzhou (with visits to Shanghai and Hangzhou) for our whole trip this time, and I'm not sure if that's the best place to look for Lapsang Souchong. But I'll definitely have a look at the tea markets we end up visiting.