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Getting the Most Flavor Out of This Unique Black Tea
With its distinctive flavor and exceptional characteristics, Lapsang Souchong stands out among other types of tea. Unlike traditional black tea blends, which are simply dried after the leaves have been allowed to oxidize, Lapsang Souchong is roasted over pine fires to impart a unique smoky taste that is loved by many.
Where Did Lapsang Souchong Tea Originate?
Originally from the Wuyi region of Fujian province in China, Lapsang Souchong has an interesting history. One legend states that the unique smoking process was discovered by accident when bandits set fire to a tea farm in Tong Mu. Tea stored in pine sheds was exposed to the smoke and thought to be ruined, but when Dutch traders tried it, they were amazed by its flavor and wanted more. Whether or not this story is true, Lapsang Souchong continues to be enjoyed all over the world to this day.
Characteristics of Lapsang Souchong
Compounds called longifolen and alpha-terpineol are just two of many that give Lapsang Souchong tea its unusual flavor. During the smoke-drying process, these compounds increase while those responsible for the taste of black tea decrease. The end result is meant to strike a balance between the two flavors with neither one overwhelming the other.
Lapsang Souchong winds up smelling and tasting a bit like a barbecue, so it goes well with salty and spicy foods. It can also be used to add flavor to meals whether mixed into a marinade or used when smoking a main dish.
Steeping the Best Cup
As with any tea, it's best to start with fresh, cold water when brewing Lapsang Souchong. Filtered or spring water is preferable since the minerals in hard water tend to interfere with the taste of the tea. Bring the water to a boil in a kettle or pan and run hot water into the pot and cups you intend to use to warm them up. Cold vessels cause temperature fluctuations that prevent the full flavor of the leaves from being extracted.
For loose tea, measure one-two teaspoons per eight ounces of water into an infuser. Place the infuser into the pot or cup before pouring the hot water over it. Leaves can also be floated directly in the water to create a fuller flavor. To brew tea with our signature pyramid infuser, simply place the bag in your teaware and add water.
Start with a short steeping time, about two or three minutes, and test the tea for flavor. Allow it to brew until it reaches your preferred point of smokiness, but avoid over-brewing as this will result in bitterness. To experience even more variety of flavor, try re-infusing Lapsang Souchong tea a couple of times from leaves or bags. You'll find both among the 40 premium teas available at Tea Forte.