Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Joseph Wesley Black Tea No. 7 - Lapsang Souchong

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark, wiry
Ingredients: smoked black tea
Steep time: 2 minutes
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain teacup and mesh infuser
Liquor: bright reddish brown

Lapsang Souchong can be a very polarizing tea. Most people that I have talked to either hate it or absolutely love it. This one was a very different experience from other Lapsangs that I have tried. The taste was malty and aromatic with an almost chocolate-like richness. It had a sweet note reminiscent of caramel that I was not expecting at all. It turns out that this particular tea isn't smoked at all. What a difference that makes! I really loved being able to truly experience the tea instead of having to search for it hiding behind the taste of char. It was not overly astringent so no milk or sugar are necessary here at all. When made gongfu style using a gaiwan, this tea had a really pleasant lightness to it. The more subtle nuances of the taste became more apparent. Tea lovers should try brewing it both ways, perhaps even side by side, to see which way they prefer, I love that the packaging explains exactly where it came from (Tong Cheng Village in Fujian) and when the leaves were harvested (March 2013). The cardboard canister is beautifully designed and would make an excellent gift. Even if you aren't particularly a fan of this type of tea, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Lapsang Souchong sample provided by Joseph Wesley Black Tea.