Lapsang Souchong

Tea type
Black Tea
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Ash, Char, Pine, Smoke, Sweet, Caramel, Cedar, Malt, Spicy, Tar, Toast, Vanilla, Wood, Campfire, Metallic, Dark Wood, Leather, Meat, Fireplace, Smoked
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 oz / 251 ml

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70 Tasting Notes View all

From Adagio Teas

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.

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70 Tasting Notes

1934 tasting notes

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.

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4 tasting notes

Mum recommends boiling water, and big pinch is enough. Taste and nose evoked memories of slithering into my sleeping bag with a nice, comforting coating of warm campfire smoke.

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14 tasting notes

I was first introduced to lapsang souchong when a friend let me taste a Twining’s tea bag some years ago. I haven’t really had it much since then, but I always liked the smoky taste.

Now that I’ve been researching more about tea, I’ve learned about Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, but have yet to have a chance to try it and in either case, I enjoy a strong smoky flavor.

I’ve had this particular tea from Adagio once or twice made western style, this is my first time having it gongfu style.

90C, 4.5 g, 100ml, first infusion about 10 seconds.

Well, it smells like smoke. Straight up. The first infusion of this is smoky and sweet. It’s like drinking sweet smoke. Or barbecue aftertaste.

In the second infusion, more of the taste of the actual tea shines through. Barely there bitterness, a bit of sourness. Not really getting much sweetness in this steep, but a bit of a sweet scent is clinging to the cup. I also let this steep go a bit longer than I intended.

Forgot about my third infusion as well. Today is not my day. Smoky smell and taste remain. I feel like pine is more pronounced in this steep. I can probably get some more out of it, but it’s about lunchtime so I’ll finish up!

Flavors: Ash, Char, Pine, Smoke, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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145 tasting notes

I have been so busy this week. Even though I have been drinking a ton of tea, I have yet to post any new reviews until now. A lot of that can be chalked up to laziness. When I have had free time, I always seemed to find an excuse to do anything other than get on Steepster. Now I have a backlog of reviews piled up (again) and need to post them. This is one of my most recent sipdowns, and I wanted to start with it, so here goes.

I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I steeped 1 teaspoon of this tea in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions. I also tried shorter infusions around the 3 minute mark and will briefly comment on those. This review, however, primarily concerns the 5 minute infusion because I felt that one was the best.

After infusion, the liquor showed a dark amber in the cup. Pronounced aromas of pine, smoke, cedar, juniper, and toast were present on the nose. In the mouth, I noted more complexity and depth than expected. I easily detected notes of pine, smoke, tar, spruce, cedar, and juniper balanced by toast, caramel, malt, vanilla bean, and subtle spice. The finish was simultaneously rich and smoky, offering a pleasant blend of lingering wood, smoke, caramel, and toast notes. The shorter infusions were much milder, offering softer aromas of wood, smoke, caramel, malt, and toast. In the mouth, there were soft notes of pine, smoke, cedar, juniper, caramel, toast, and malt.

All in all, I did not find this to be a bad lapsang souchong. Granted it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was still very solid. I did not notice any metallic, resinous, or otherwise off flavors in this tea. I kind of suspect that many of the overwhelmingly negative reviews for this tea came from people who either already did not like lapsang souchong or who were more or less entirely unfamiliar with it. Whatever the case, I really do not think this is a bad tea. If you have yet to try it and are looking for a basic, affordable lapsang, I would encourage you to give it a chance.

Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Malt, Pine, Smoke, Spicy, Tar, Toast, Vanilla, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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4 tasting notes

It has a very smokey, campfire taste. Maybe a bit too strong for me. No bitterness There was a strange metallic taste to it as well. I’ll try to mix it 50/50 with an Assam, maybe that will mask the metallic and mellow out the smoke. I don’t think it was due to the water because none of the other teas taste metallic to me.

Flavors: Campfire, Metallic, Smoke

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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28 tasting notes

The smell upon opening the bag made me hestiate to even try the tea. It reminded me of the smokey, peat bog reek of Islay scotch, I like scotch, but not that kind.
The first sip dispelled the imagined fear of it tasting like Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Reality wasn’t much better though. It was like liquefied ham or bacon. I’m not sure as I haven’t eaten either in 20 years. I was not thrilled with my tea tasting like meat water.
My husband who loves BBQ and scotch liked it, but I think I’ll pass.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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22 tasting notes

This tea literally smells like liquid smoke. It’s almost overpoweringly so. The leaves are really long and curly especially when compared to a loose Earl grey. Just ran up to go pour my tea. I’m using my tasting set from Adagio. Alright, onto the flavor. I only brewed for two minutes so the flavor is very light. The beginning is very mellow but it ends with a smoky tinge. It’s very interesting. I really don’t know whether I like it or not. I’m so used to the mellow sweetness of black teas like English Breakfast, so I don’t know what to make of Lapsang Souchong. Okay, I just added this with a four minute brew and added in some honey. The honey (I’m guessing) took some of the odd bitter weird note. It still smells like I’m drinking a campfire though. I have no idea what to think. I know! It tastes like Mesquite smoke from barbecuing. Where I come from, bbq is big and we use a lot of mesquite and that it what this tea tastes like.

Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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64 tasting notes

seriously smokey! cant wait to cook with it

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546 tasting notes

I haven’t reviewed this tea? I could have sworn I did. Oh well, maybe I’m thinking about Teavivre’s version.

Anyway, it was 33°F this morning. A harsh wakeup call, if you ask me. So, I wanted something strong and wintery. No iced Earl Grey for me today!

I’ve had lapsangs before, but this one smells like straight up bacon cooked over a wood stove. Or cooked outdoors, at least. It’s smoky, but not in a cigarette way. In a nice fall way. You know that smell that fills your car for a moment when you pass someone burning leaves in their yard? It’s sort of like that.

However, the flavor is much less intimidating than the aroma. It’s actually a very smooth black tea. Hardly astringent and not bitter at all. It also doesn’t taste charred. More cured than burned. In the forefront are smoky pine notes, followed by leather and meat. I know it’s odd to think of tea as meaty, but I definitely taste something that makes me think of bacon.

While I know most people don’t like lapsangs, I still recommend this tea. It’s an unusual experience that I think people should have at least once. You never know, you might love it!

Flavors: Campfire, Dark Wood, Leather, Meat, Pine, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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11 tasting notes

Smells like wood smoke, tastes like drinking rich, dark wood.

Flavors: Campfire, Dark Wood, Smoke

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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