Scent in package: Mmmm…smoky and warm
Brewed in: Tea-for-one pot, metal infuser
Steeped: 5 min.@ 212 degrees
Cup: Café mug
The first time I tried lapsang tea, I about choked on the smokiness of it. It’s generally strong, and very much like drinking a bonefide campfire, so it’s not really for the faint of palate. It grew on me very quickly though, and now it’s one of my favorite teas for cold, snowy winter days (much like this one). There’s nothing like the scent of smoke in the air to warm me up when I get to work (or to make my boss ask, “What *is* that smell?”).
This is the second “version” of lapsang I’ve tried. The first was from Adagio, and it was pretty much like drinking liquid smoke (I did enjoy it). This one is a bit lighter, though still much stronger than the Bohea I drink from the same company. Of course one of my favorite things about lapsang Souchong is that even if you oversteep it, it tends to remain naturally sweet (and I tend to prefer the sweeter end of teas anyways).
This particular Lapsang is a bit more complex than Adagio’s. I can taste the wood and smoke (they make up the main taste profile, obviously), but the original “tea” taste isn’t completely overpowered. It’s obviously a good quality tea, with larger, twisted black leaves that unfurl into good sized leaf chunks of brown and green when steeped. It brews up lighter than one might expect, a deep golden brown that is as lovely to look at as it is to sip, and it leaves a pleasant “blackened” aftertaste on the tongue – like a good grilled steak. Continuing with the steak theme, the tea is almost “juicy”, if you can imagine, and almost literally makes my mouth water.
There is no astringency at all, and no bitterness, even when steeped for too long. It’s naturally sweet as I mentioned, and warming on the mouth, but without that charred burnt taste characteristic of too much smoke.
If you enjoy Lapsang, or if you’ve never tried it, this is a very good one – like most of the teas I’ve ordered from this company, it’s a very good quality tea for a reasonable price. If you live in a northern climate as I do, trust me – you need some smoky tea on these cold winter days!