What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Apr 21st 16 4:47 pm
Posts: 104
Joined: Dec 16th 09 2:03 am
Location: at the bottom of a cuppa

What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by whatsinaname » Apr 21st 16 4:47 pm

First, let me say that Upton Tea has not been very good to me.
None of their teas, even the moderately priced ones are worthy of reorder.
I recommend people to avoid them completely.

(Tea Trekker is the only vendor in New England who gets my tea money!)

All of the Upton lapsang I tried is fake chemical smoke flavor/aroma. I tried blending it with the subpar russian caravan we payed premium price for. We ordered a small amount of a russian caravan that was decent, when we received the pound order of the same it was awful.

These are both a couple years old now, so no fair whining to Upton. I've tried gongfu, grandpa, western, cold brewing. All terrible. I've tried a pre rinse, still awful.

I have never thrown tea away, but this is that bad. I have 0.5-1lb or so left of this awful black tea / lapsang blend.

What do you do with undrinkable hongcha?

If any sadists want this stuff, just paypal shipping.

Apr 21st 16 5:25 pm
Posts: 157
Joined: Jan 13th 13 4:46 pm

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by thirst » Apr 21st 16 5:25 pm

I don’t like smoke flavors in drinks so I’ve steeped lapsang and added it to my cooking.
Works if you want to add a smoky note I guess

Apr 21st 16 6:32 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by ethan » Apr 21st 16 6:32 pm

Whatsinaname,

About 10 days ago I drank Upton's Imperial Lapsang Souchong which I think is their cheapest. I thought it was a typical one, okay, nothing special. I drank half a cup straight then added milk.

I bought from Upton for a few years & found w/ teas like L.S. & Earl Grey, price did not determine how much I liked a particular one. Flavorverd teas & blends may be simply a matter of personal preference. For such teas I suggest you try the host of this forum, Adagio. John B. & perhaps someone else in a L.S. thread talked about a "natural" L.S. John gave me some, & it was very good.

Selling several hundred teas, I don't know how Upton could manage its inventory perfectly. Upton does not always list the year of its teas; & one could imagine some of them are old. I do believe they are honest so would suggest after a first taste, contacting them if you are unhappy. (I"m also curious what it would do or say.) After a bad experience w/ a different vendor & a worse response to my complaint to her on TeaChat I wrote of her poor business practice(s) which got a mixed response here.

Tea Trekker, Upton, & I (for the moment through TeaSwap) all sell tea from Jun Chiyabari, Nepal. Tea Trekker frequently is out of stock of J.C.'s teas which I think shows Tea Trekker does not want to get overstocked w/ old tea. I don't regularly mention the date of the flush etc. because right now, it does not matter. The tea is good & should remain so for years. (As most black tea behaves that is kept properly.) If that changes, I expect I would notice; but, I only have several teas not several hundred, not like Upton.

Apr 21st 16 6:36 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by ethan » Apr 21st 16 6:36 pm

Oh, maybe I'll take it. Where are you? You can PM.

Apr 22nd 16 3:15 pm
Posts: 104
Joined: Dec 16th 09 2:03 am
Location: at the bottom of a cuppa

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by whatsinaname » Apr 22nd 16 3:15 pm

Thanks Ethan.

I have some really good Lapsang from Jing, and lots of really good hongcha from various sources.
Just can't stomach this stuff.

User avatar
Apr 22nd 16 3:33 pm
Posts: 2817
Joined: Oct 17th 08 1:01 am
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by Drax » Apr 22nd 16 3:33 pm

whatsinaname wrote:Thanks Ethan.

I have some really good Lapsang from Jing, and lots of really good hongcha from various sources.
Just can't stomach this stuff.
Have you ever made tea eggs? The tea is just a component along with other items (usually including soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise and others). If it makes awful tea, it might still make a decent component to tea eggs...

Apr 23rd 16 4:35 am
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 25th 12 2:42 am

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by Whalebreath » Apr 23rd 16 4:35 am

You could easily use it as an ingredient for Tea smoked whatever on the stove-lots of recipes on the net.

User avatar
Apr 23rd 16 4:24 pm
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 19th 15 11:03 am
Location: on the road

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by kuánglóng » Apr 23rd 16 4:24 pm

Since they've changed some regulations in the WuYi area due to the Unesco requirements some years ago it got harder and harder to get authentic Lapsang. I bought some horrible, artificially flavored so-called Lapsang a few months ago and threw it straight into the garbage without thinking twice. The problem isn't just the abhorrent flavoring but nobody in their right mind, especially not our chinese friends would waste any rudimentarily decent leaves for that sort of crap.

Apr 23rd 16 8:53 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by ethan » Apr 23rd 16 8:53 pm

I apologize. I don't want the lapsang souchong. I had planned to give it to the friend who had some from Upton that I prepared while I was at her house a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, I visited again, & we drank that l.s. together. She only likes l.s. a little. She'll use what she has but does not want more. She's stopped ordering from Upton also, now preferring another vendor.

Drax, I have not made tea eggs nor cooked w/ tea. I think I want to keep tea flavors away from my food.

Apr 29th 16 3:56 am
Posts: 209
Joined: Feb 17th 10 5:16 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by Alucard » Apr 29th 16 3:56 am

ethan wrote:I apologize. I don't want the lapsang souchong. I had planned to give it to the friend who had some from Upton that I prepared while I was at her house a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, I visited again, & we drank that l.s. together. She only likes l.s. a little. She'll use what she has but does not want more. She's stopped ordering from Upton also, now preferring another vendor.

Drax, I have not made tea eggs nor cooked w/ tea. I think I want to keep tea flavors away from my food.
I am not a lapsang expert but I very much liked the Lapsang from Norbu and What-Cha. I didnt like the Lapsang from YS as a reference. The formers had a nice clean smokey, fruitiness flavor. The latter just bland smoke.

As far as other blacks go YS, Norbu, and What-Cha are definitely a worthwhile look.

Apr 29th 16 7:00 pm
Posts: 104
Joined: Dec 16th 09 2:03 am
Location: at the bottom of a cuppa

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by whatsinaname » Apr 29th 16 7:00 pm

Jing tea shop has wonderful, real Lapsang. It is worth every penny and then some. It's getting better with age!
Tea Trekker also has pretty good, real Lapsang. Also an excellent value.

This Upton tea is the first tea I have ever actually outright thrown away. Even the worst tuition puerh was never this bad.

Tea eggs are a good idea, but I've gone vegan in the last couple years so none for me.

Adios, crap tea!

Life is too short to drink bad tea.

User avatar
Apr 30th 16 3:43 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 3141
Joined: Aug 28th 12 12:12 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by jayinhk » Apr 30th 16 3:43 pm

ethan wrote:I apologize. I don't want the lapsang souchong. I had planned to give it to the friend who had some from Upton that I prepared while I was at her house a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, I visited again, & we drank that l.s. together. She only likes l.s. a little. She'll use what she has but does not want more. She's stopped ordering from Upton also, now preferring another vendor.

Drax, I have not made tea eggs nor cooked w/ tea. I think I want to keep tea flavors away from my food.
Ethan, I actually ate a tea egg and a couple of sandwiches for breakfast when we were headed up to Maokong! They're pretty good. The tea egg suggestion is a great one.

May 2nd 16 1:12 am
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 21st 16 7:38 am

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by GooseberrySpoon » May 2nd 16 1:12 am

Drax wrote:
whatsinaname wrote:Thanks Ethan.

I have some really good Lapsang from Jing, and lots of really good hongcha from various sources.
Just can't stomach this stuff.
Have you ever made tea eggs? The tea is just a component along with other items (usually including soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise and others). If it makes awful tea, it might still make a decent component to tea eggs...

Yep, tea eggs are great for using up lapsang. It's how I've gotten rid of one I didn't care for. Also if you make pickles or make salt cured salmon it adds a nice touch.

User avatar
May 13th 16 6:22 am
Posts: 225
Joined: Dec 26th 13 3:59 am
Location: bangkok

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by john.b » May 13th 16 6:22 am

I've made masala chai out of lapsang before and it worked out. If the smoke balance is just not what you like, a little too strong, or comes across as slightly sour, that wouldn't be a problem for some secondary use, but if it's a chemical taste from the smoke being some artificial substance, as mentioned, it's hard to imagine that not contaminating anything you might do with it.

I had a similar problem with tea I got on a trade once (not a trade I was happy with making, of course). I hate to throw tea in the bin but there was no way I was going to drink it (a darker roasted oolong, but a really nasty version of one, definitely off in some unique way). I just gave it to a coworker that doesn't have much of a sense of taste for tea, and it was his problem after that. Typically I don't even like to give away horrible tea because it doesn't make a great gift, but of course I explained that I really didn't like it in that case.

May 13th 16 12:43 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: What to do with awful black tea / lapsang

by ethan » May 13th 16 12:43 pm

john b.,

Don't feel bad about giving away tea you don't like to a co-worker. Remember where you live is where "white elephant" got its start.