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Big Trouble in Little Lapsang! #2 of 3

After trying this LS and reading a number of the reviews I can certainly understand the attraction for many. It combines subdued smokiness with soft classic black honeyed-malt nicely. That being said, it just didn’t do it for me. While all of the nuances coexist in amity, there just wasn’t enough of a presence from any of them to make it remarkable based on my personal preferences of a bolder Lapsang Souchong. That sounds harsh and may not seem to align with my rating but I didn’t find it unpleasant or vile. It was perfectly drinkable but regretfully forgettable.

EDIT I tried this one again with some helpful suggestions from Jim Marks and have bumped my score slightly. In a more concentrated form, the reserved subtleties become dominant and more closely represent my personal preference of a tour de force Lapsang Souchong. Still not better than another that I have tried, but I appreciate the tip and the resulting cup!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

Everyone’s free to have their own opinions of a tea, but I find an assessment that this tea lacks presence and is forgettable “difficult to swallow”. I’ve found that not only does this tea hold up on its own, but also that it can hold its own in a blend. So, I’m curious what your leaf weight to water volume ratio was during this four minute steep?

Bonnie

Jim, want to try some LS from COLORADO?

jason

@Jim I used 2.3g to 6oz of water at the direction of the website from Upton, similar to how I followed the distributor recommended ratios from the other two I tried. That seemed to be the objective option and the easiest way to compare them according to the way their respective companies suggest steeping. Personal preference being what it is, this one just didn’t give me a reason to add it to the shopping list and buy it again although I respect your opinion and personal preference to rate this as one of your favorites. I still have roughly half of the sample I ordered though so if you have suggestions for a different ratio I would certainly give it another go with an open mind! Again, as I said in the review, I didn’t find this one to be unpalatable but in comparison to the other two I tried it was just ok for me. Granted, after several hundred tasting notes you have a much larger point of reference and if/when I try 20+ other LS and this one is still in the top 3 I reserve the right to change my score to reflect my opinion of this one in relation to the rest. (81 falls in the enjoyed it range, 90+ for me means I’d buy it again and in quantity)

Jim Marks

I certainly don’t mind that you aren’t wow’d by it. A big part of why I like it is that it is so much more subtle than most other LS. Most people seem to be in it for the pork rinds/camp fire thing and I’m really not. So, there’s no defensiveness there.

But your comment about a lack of presence surprised me. Two grams to six ounces of boiling water for four minutes is certainly going to give you everything this leaf has to offer, so I guess it is just too subtle for your taste. I prefer to say it is “refined” but that’s just my taste :-)

Since you’re open to experimentation with your remaining leaf, but that’s probably only about the same 2.5 grams…

If you could somehow steep that in as little as 3 or 4 onces of water you might get more “umph”.

But in the end, this is an LS that includes white buds in it, so what can you expect.

Bonnie, people are growing tea in Colorado?

Bonnie

Ah yes, LS is grown in Colorado Jim. Be serious! I would like to offer to send you some FROM Colorado (which does not mean the same thing as grown) if you truly enjoy a good LS taste comparison. I’d like to see what you think. You are welcome to any other tea samples I have also FROM Colorado.

jason

Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll try in in my 4oz gaiwan that way tonight and let you know. Refined/reserved would be a different perspective on how to describe the presence and I’d say that’s fair.

Jim Marks

Well, Bonnie, if I was going to try to grow domestic tea, Colorado is probably where I’d go to try to grow it. One never knows. :-)

jason

I didn’t get around to it immediately, but have now updated my rating based on Jim’s suggestion. Thanks for giving me a reason to revisit this one!

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Jim Marks

Everyone’s free to have their own opinions of a tea, but I find an assessment that this tea lacks presence and is forgettable “difficult to swallow”. I’ve found that not only does this tea hold up on its own, but also that it can hold its own in a blend. So, I’m curious what your leaf weight to water volume ratio was during this four minute steep?

Bonnie

Jim, want to try some LS from COLORADO?

jason

@Jim I used 2.3g to 6oz of water at the direction of the website from Upton, similar to how I followed the distributor recommended ratios from the other two I tried. That seemed to be the objective option and the easiest way to compare them according to the way their respective companies suggest steeping. Personal preference being what it is, this one just didn’t give me a reason to add it to the shopping list and buy it again although I respect your opinion and personal preference to rate this as one of your favorites. I still have roughly half of the sample I ordered though so if you have suggestions for a different ratio I would certainly give it another go with an open mind! Again, as I said in the review, I didn’t find this one to be unpalatable but in comparison to the other two I tried it was just ok for me. Granted, after several hundred tasting notes you have a much larger point of reference and if/when I try 20+ other LS and this one is still in the top 3 I reserve the right to change my score to reflect my opinion of this one in relation to the rest. (81 falls in the enjoyed it range, 90+ for me means I’d buy it again and in quantity)

Jim Marks

I certainly don’t mind that you aren’t wow’d by it. A big part of why I like it is that it is so much more subtle than most other LS. Most people seem to be in it for the pork rinds/camp fire thing and I’m really not. So, there’s no defensiveness there.

But your comment about a lack of presence surprised me. Two grams to six ounces of boiling water for four minutes is certainly going to give you everything this leaf has to offer, so I guess it is just too subtle for your taste. I prefer to say it is “refined” but that’s just my taste :-)

Since you’re open to experimentation with your remaining leaf, but that’s probably only about the same 2.5 grams…

If you could somehow steep that in as little as 3 or 4 onces of water you might get more “umph”.

But in the end, this is an LS that includes white buds in it, so what can you expect.

Bonnie, people are growing tea in Colorado?

Bonnie

Ah yes, LS is grown in Colorado Jim. Be serious! I would like to offer to send you some FROM Colorado (which does not mean the same thing as grown) if you truly enjoy a good LS taste comparison. I’d like to see what you think. You are welcome to any other tea samples I have also FROM Colorado.

jason

Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll try in in my 4oz gaiwan that way tonight and let you know. Refined/reserved would be a different perspective on how to describe the presence and I’d say that’s fair.

Jim Marks

Well, Bonnie, if I was going to try to grow domestic tea, Colorado is probably where I’d go to try to grow it. One never knows. :-)

jason

I didn’t get around to it immediately, but have now updated my rating based on Jim’s suggestion. Thanks for giving me a reason to revisit this one!

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Bio

I am so very new to loose leaf tea and, after decades of really really good coffee, I am blown away by the diversity and complexity that this little leaf has to offer. Every new cup is an adventure and I look forward to sharing them with you!

+ I attempt to rate teas in comparison to others I’ve tried of the same general variety, so a green tea rated at 95 vs a pu’er at 90 doesn’t necessarily mean that I liked the green better than the pu’er – it just means I liked it better than most other greens.

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