My general opinion of any lapsang souchong is that it’s like drinking bacon rinds. After disliking my small sample, I passed it to a friend, who did the same to another friend, and I’m afraid it ended up fertilizing somebody’s houseplants.
“EDIT: I think that Adagio has done something very WRONG with their Lapsang Souchongs in the past year--or else my taste has evolved. I would not order from them again. It's weak and...” Read full tasting note
“Le sigh... I realized that I haven't had this tea in about 2 months due to my overflowing tea cupboard (and bookcases). I actually picked up some decorative picture album boxes this weekend to...” Read full tasting note
“Cold, rainy weather...check. Long, rough day at work...check. Strong desire to get new samples of tea...check. All of these things mean it is time for some comfort, coming tonite in the form of...” Read full tasting note
“i got a small sample bag of this so i could keep tinkering with my personal sherlock blend. but i put one scoop aside so i could try it straight. not the best lapsang i've had. but still smokey...” Read full tasting note
Black tea from the Fujian province of China. Lapsang Souchong tea (also called Russian Caravan tea) has a famously smoky aroma and flavor. To create this, tea leaves are dried in bamboo baskets over pine fires, achieving a perfect balance of smoke and tea flavor. The ‘Eroica Caravan’ typically draws strong reactions: you’ll either love it or hate it.
Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at www.adagio.com and in many gourmet and health food stores.
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I was one of those precocious children with the tendency to stick my little nose, literally, physically into anything I found even remotely interesting. It was because of my innate curiosity, and inability to process a lesson until I’ve had to cycle through the worst of it some three-five times that I’m able to categorize so many different scents today. That being said, the moment I stuck my still little nose into this bag of Lapsang souchoung – a tea which I gave never even heard of until visiting this site – I was immediately brought back to the first time I’d hovered my face over my uncles barbecue during an annual neighborhood block party and inhaled a black lungful of burning hickory wood. I don’t recall actually liking that smell, something that naturally didn’t stop me from sticking my head in the barbaque some three more times before the end of the day. I still can’t pass by southern or Jamaican barbecue in Brooklyn in the heat summer with out taking in deep breath —just to smell that charred wood smoke. Memories.
Babbling nonsense aside; I haven’t tried this tea yet. I bought it with the sole purpose of creating a custom Russian caravan blend. So I won’t be giving this tea a rating, yet. -it’ll be far into the clutches of New York winter before I so much as glance at a black tea to drink again. shrugs Mostly I just felt like telling a story.
What tea. So campfire. Wow. Much smokey. Many burning.
I am … floored. By the incredible similarity between taking a whiff of this tea and standing by a campfire. It’s incredibly evocative of a campfire. I mean, I feel I need a shower because obviously if I’m smelling this, I smell of smoke. Right?
I had to try this. I saw so many people talking about Lapsang Souchong and it sounded like something people really inflate with their descriptions because how could tea smell like a campfire? Well guess what. It does. It’s a freaking pouch of campfire. And I brewed it and tasted it. I was very brave.
It was not a bad taste. I mean, I didn’t expect it to be so… not-bad. I smelled it and thought “This will make me lose my lunch.” It didn’t. The warm flavor was smoky and strong, but not bad.
I can’t figure out why anyone would want to drink it tho. I mean, I can see how it smells amazing and reminds me of beef jerky that I used to get when I was a kid… but I don’t see how it would be something you’d think “Man I really want a cup of that right now.” Maybe in blends. But… straight? No. Not for me.
It wasn’t bad tho. It just … wasn’t something I see myself wanting to drink.
So I have tried Lapsang Souchong. I have done it. Now I know. That is all.
Flavors: Campfire, Fireplace, Smoke, Smoked
You’ll probably love or hate this tea, but I love it. The tea smells smoky out of the bag and maintains that smell after steeping. It reminds me of evenings spent next to a campfire with friends and then discovering you still smell like campfire smoke the next day. Maybe I’ll take this tea next time.
Method: Gongfucha with 4 grams of tea to 100 ml of water with a quick rinse.
Upon opening the bag, you are overwhelmed by the strong scent of smoke, like you’re sitting right beside a campfire. The dry leaves are completely black and of a good size.
First Steep (10 seconds): The Color of the first infusion is a nice red-orange. The liquor Smells like a blend between Assam and campfire smoke. The Taste is smokey, with just a hint of fruit in the background. And the Aftertaste is simply like a clean black tea layered with a bit of smoke.
Second Steep (15 seconds): The Color becomes an even deeper shade of red-orange. The Smell has become a little more smokey, but hasn’t changed too much. The Taste is, again, a little more smokey. The Aftertaste hasn’t noticeably changed.
Third Steep (20 seconds): The Color is still that deep shade of red-orange, but the Smell has become completely made of smoke. The Taste has let go of some of the smoke for a more balanced blend of smoke of crisp black tea. The Aftertaste now tastes just like how pine resin smells.
Fourth Steep (25 seconds): The Color hasn’t changed at all, and the Smell is beginning to thin out, but is still has that nice smokey aroma. The Taste has taken on a slightly creamy citrus note in addition to its smokey flavor, and the Aftertaste still tastes like the scent of pine resin.
Fifth Steep (30 seconds): The Color has become noticeably more orange, with just a hint of red. The Smell is still that crisp blend of black tea and smoke. The Taste has let go of the citrus, and has become an interesting “creamy smoke” flavor. The Aftertaste is like the smoldering embers of a campfire.
Summary: This tea is definitely not for someone who doesn’t like smoke. The tea tastes and smells like smoke (to be expected), but has enough other flavors to make it interesting. I like this tea, but I can see why some people would be averse to it.
Followed some advice, lower temperature (just under rolling), more tea (three spoons for 2 cups), shorter brew time (3 minutes) and it has worked wonders on my Lapsong. The dark amber of the two was in full swing by 3 minutes, almost looking like rooibos. It was smokey but no bitterness in the end. In fact the end tasted like water, perhaps too thin?
The second steeping (3 minutes), this time no sugar, tasted of green tea, wondrous, and the smoke has settled to a low ember, not burning at all- excellent to the palate.