Lapsang Souchong Star (organic)

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Chinese Black Tea
Flavors
Smoke, Pine, Smooth, Tar, Thick, Ash, Tobacco
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Medium
Certification
Fair Trade, Organic
Edit tea info Last updated by partea
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 58 oz / 1715 ml

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From Our Community

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61 Tasting Notes View all

  • “So I was feeling adventurous today when I bought this, because I've always wondered about smoky teas. I found a smoky beer that I absolutely fell in love with at a local brewery, but they aren't...” Read full tasting note
    misslena1221 944 tasting notes
  • “Okay. A coworker gave me some of this to try a month or two ago but I have been so afraid of it that I held off trying until today. I used a scant teaspoon in my perfect tea mug for 3 or 4 minutes...” Read full tasting note
    33
    Uniquity 697 tasting notes
  • “Backlog More of the same deal, learned pretty quickly I didn't care for David's actual tea leaves in general. On the plus side, I used the rest of the pouch to make a vegetarian-friendly smoke...” Read full tasting note
    ifjuly 613 tasting notes
  • “Big Trouble in Little Lapsang! #1 of 3 Let me start by saying that I like Lapsang Souchong (or at least the three I tried) as a deviation from the more popular or mainstream fare and my scores for...” Read full tasting note
    83
    jganes 20 tasting notes

From DAVIDsTEA

If you like single-malt whisky and fine cigars, then this is the tea for you. Most say it was invented when soldiers took over a tea factory in Xingun (Star Village) during the Qing dynasty in China. When they finally left, the workers had to dry their tea in record time to sell it at the market. In desperation they lit open fires of pine to speed the process, and wood-smoked Lapsang Souchong was born.

About DAVIDsTEA View company

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61 Tasting Notes

944 tasting notes

So I was feeling adventurous today when I bought this, because I’ve always wondered about smoky teas. I found a smoky beer that I absolutely fell in love with at a local brewery, but they aren’t brewing it anymore, so I’d like to see if I appreciate a smoky tea as much.

I smelled it in the store, and intense wood smoke scent hit me in the face. The clerk said that lots of people use it for cooking, I was like yeah so will I if I don’t like it haha! I only got 15 g of it though, so we’ll see how it goes.

I brewed it for 4 minutes, as that seemed to be a sweet spot on Steepster for the good reviews. The steeped smell is not quite as smoky I don’t think, and there’s a stronger pine note. I am totally picturing camping amongst the spruce trees with a fire crackling and cooking smokies on the fire :) at least this is so far taking me to my favorite activity to do in the summer, camping!

So now the taste, and the verdict is…this actually is not too bad. It is definitely a more savoury tea haha. The first taste is a bold, rich flavor, then tapers off into the smoky aftertaste. The pine flavor is also present, moreso in the breathing in of the scent when you take a sip. I definitely would liken this to beef jerky, a heavily smoked beef jerky. Haha, my boyfriend had the first sip and I was like so what do you think? Is it like whiskey or smoke or beef jerky? and he said like eating a piece of charcoal haha. I can see where he gets that from, though.

Overall, I am happy I have tried this. It’s not something I will drink frequently, but it will satisfy those savoury salty tea cravings I sometimes get. I don’t think I will be running out to get anymore, but I would be open to trying other LS from different companies too, so I’m not scared off! I also might have to try adding some of this to salmon, I imagine it would be excellent. Yay for exciting tea experiences!

ETA – Yes. I have found a very tasty way to enjoy this tea. By eating cheese while drinking it! The salty cheese complements the smoke and tones it down nicely, and the illusion of eating applewood smoked cheddar is also created. Happy I found that this pairs nicely with one of my favorite foods :D

ETA again – so while this was ok when I had it, I’ve unfortunately had a lingering smoke smell/taste in my nose and mouth all night, and I’m quite tired of it now. Blarg. Removing rating as maybe I just am not a fan of this type of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

not sure how it would fare with this one, since i haven’t tried it but man i put a little maple syrup into my smokey tea this morning and man that was delicious!

MissLena

Hmmm that is definitely an idea! I hope I kind of like this one, I’ve had a sip so far and am kinda ehh..will update the note soon. Oh, and also, I totally forgot about swapping at some point for Berry Good haha, in my crazed tea buying state I got 50 g when the clerk brought it over I was like “OMG yess that oneee” lol, so we will have to swap for different ones :D

Sil

NP at all lol i know the feeling :) If you’re looking for good smokey teas that aren’t OMG IN YOUR FACE, there are a few that i’ve tried. Nice to have occasionally for a change

MissLena

Awesome :D yeah I want Verdant to come out with one, maybe when they return from China they will have something interesting and smoky, I can’t wait to see the Laoshan oolong they are working on!

El Monstro

Stone and Alaska brewing both make pretty good smoked style beer, not sure if either are available in Canada though.

MissLena

Hmm I’ll have to look into those!

Kittenna

I think I’ve heard that this tea is pretty harsh, as smoky teas go. They’re not all this bad!

MissLena

Yeah I’ve definitely heard that, I will still try new ones, maybe that will be my next goal, find the best smoky tea lol :) this one I will have sparingly just because it has such a lasting aftertaste, other than that it was not bad, just really smoky lol

Cavocorax

Thanks for the cheese idea!

MissLena

It definitely helped tone it down a bit :) still definitely not a favorite though haha, although I do enjoy eating cheese, so that’s a plus

Bonnie

Grind to a powder and mix with chili and garlic for a rub or sprinkle alone over broccoli before steaming and the house will smell like bbq.

MissLena

Mmm that sounds quite delicious, i will have to try those out, thanks!

CrowKettle

I have a hard time drinking this tea too because of the lingering aftertaste, but it is a really great cooking rub with some surprising flavours. I like the broccoli idea!

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33
697 tasting notes

Okay. A coworker gave me some of this to try a month or two ago but I have been so afraid of it that I held off trying until today. I used a scant teaspoon in my perfect tea mug for 3 or 4 minutes and am rewarded with a golden amber brew that smells like a campfire. This is feeling a bit more like a punishment than a reward, but maybe I’ll like it.

Over the past few years I have come to enjoy and even embrace a light smoke note in tea. Note the word light. This is POW. This might have my coworkers wondering if the office is on fire. Oy. Initially, I get a sweet taste that morphs into smoked ham. Then I am left with a mouth full of ashtray. Hm. The ashtray thing isn’t actually as bad as it sounds, but it isn’t good either. I’m clinging to the sweetness of the tea under all the smoke as if it were a lifeboat. I can drink this, but I really don’t think I want to. I do really want some smoked ham now…

whatshesaid

That sounds revolting…. I was literally just wondering why Lapsang Souchong tasted like, sounds like I’m better off not knowing

KeenTeaThyme

Permission to dump & rinse out the mug granted. This is one of those teas I just can’t stomach. You’re right – it’s an ashtray scent.

Uniquity

I keep smelling it on myself. Like all forms of smoke, it really clings. I think my mug is mostly scentless (it’s glass and metal) but my hands, hair and sweater all seem to have retained a trace!

Charisma

I completely understand! I keep trying to give Lapsang souchong another chance, but to me it is like drinking bacon in a bad way. My husband seems to like it, so thats the only reason this tea exists in our cupboard >_<

Kittenna

Ashtray?! That is not cool! I love smoke, and sometimes burned things, but ashtray-burny is revolting. The one time my roomie burnt evaporated milk on the stove, it tasted like ashtray, which completely ruined her rice pudding :( Usually we just eat our burned creations, but this was unpalatable.

TheTeaFairy

I so agree with you on this one! Someone here on Steepster had suggested to pair it with DT Oh Canada, the idea of maple and smoke sounded interesting but I’m still fearful to even open the pouch!

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

This tea need to be steeped light, if there’s too much leaves, the taste felt muddy or disgusting.

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613 tasting notes

Backlog

More of the same deal, learned pretty quickly I didn’t care for David’s actual tea leaves in general. On the plus side, I used the rest of the pouch to make a vegetarian-friendly smoke rub per Sally Schneider—you just grind it to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder and store it until needed, and it gives things like beans a smoky bacon-y flavor.

Dexter

This is a great idea. There are times I would like to add a little “smoke” to recipes. I am going to try this.

ifjuly

Hope you enjoy it! I keeps a long time sealed tightly in a cool dark place, which is a bonus. I’m a big fan of finding creative ways to use teas in the kitchen that aren’t terrible but you don’t really get excited to drink.

As Sally mentions, make sure to let the particles settle before you open up the grinder lest you inhale a bunch of smoke tea, ee. Ha.

Sil

you can also make the tea and then marinate things in it heh i do that with smokey teas as well….add a few spices and other such things and it makes a nice base for a marinade

moraiwe

I’ve used lapsang as a smokey element in barbeque sauces before, as well. Also very good.

ifjuly

Yum! I must try those two techniques. :D

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83
20 tasting notes

Big Trouble in Little Lapsang! #1 of 3

Let me start by saying that I like Lapsang Souchong (or at least the three I tried) as a deviation from the more popular or mainstream fare and my scores for all three in this series indicate to how much I like each one in relation to the others, not whether or not I like this kind of tea at all. After reading many poorly scored reviews on several different LS offerings from those who simply don’t like this kind of tea in any fashion, that seemed like it needed to be clarified.

Ouch! Sorry, I tripped falling off of my soapbox. Anyhoo.. Of the three I tried, this one from DavidsTea was by far the most robustly smoky in the bunch. I ordered it a while back and had never tried a LS before so I didn’t have any frame of reference although I thought it was passable in the evening when I wasn’t looking for much of a caffeine kick. I enjoy both a dram of scotch whisky and a taste of maduro cigars on occasion so my temperament for this sort of thing should probably be taken into consideration if you’ve never tried a Lapsang Souchong and are considering it.

This one is closer to a cup of burnt embers than smoky subtlety. While that is not necessarily a bad thing if it’s what you’re looking for, I found it to be a little over the top. It is the only flavor I was able to taste. Although I am rating this one between the other two, it actually would match my mood better from time to time and could be a go-to on those evenings. Adding sweetener of any kind here is a waste unless you plan to throw it out instead – look elsewhere for variations on this type of tea that will respond better to that sort of meddling. Drink this one neat.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

I’ve only tried a couple LS teas, and found them both to be over the top. I tired of them quickly. That was quite a few years ago, and now I’d probably look for a more subtle version, or do shorter steeps.

jason

Of course the one I liked best was the LS from a local tea house that I can’t order online! Bonnie has gotten her backyard tea house’s hooks in me and is going to have me driving all over the state to refill teas that are great but hard to come by.. I may have a trunkload to bring home in a few weeks!

ScottTeaMan

Can you buy that LS from the tea house??

jason

Apparently so! Happy Lucky’s wide world of teas has been a hit on every varietal I’ve tried so far. I plan to drive a few hours north in a few weeks on one of my days off to check this place out. No idea where they source their teas but I’m impressed with the few samples that Bonnie sent me.

ScottTeaMan

Sometimes samples aren’t enough, are they?? They get their hook in you, and don’t let go!

jason

hehehe Yes I’d say there’s a very real difference between the power of word of mouth (which can be huge on its own) and the power of a sample tea in cup. My shopping list is starting to look like my Netflix queue!

Bonnie

My girlie version of the cigars and whiskey is fine dark chocolate and I have a great whiskey white chedder that is a sweet counterpoint to the bold smoke. Um.

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84
1314 tasting notes

ehhhh, not as good as Teaopia. (minus serious points!)
There’s something missing, that certain malty depth that makes tea so satisfying for me. It’s smoky, but still weak. I almost wonder how this one would taste with milk(minus points). The teaopia one was just fine on its own but I had to add some agave here(minus points!!)…
Not much else to say about this one, not when I’ve had so much better. If it wasn’t for that I think this would get maybe five extra points from me.
EDIT: ok so I may have been quick to judge… I tried this with milk and it’s a bit better. Bumping it a few notches. The Teaopia version would be terrible with milk so I assumed the same for this one!

aisling of tea

I use this in everything I cook. My wife calls it our “Frank’s Red Hot”. Anyhoo, I recently made a potato soup with this and it is amazing. Completely out of this world. It tastes like a loaded baked potato soup with bacon, but there’s no actual bacon in it! I don’t drink this tea, but if you’re looking for a way to add a lot of flavor to cooking without adding sodium or calories, this is definitely one to keep around!

…I sound like an ad >.>

teawing

What an interesting idea, I will try it!

Indigobloom

oh my, that is a great idea!! I’ll try it one day soon :)

Amanda Earl

i agree with you, IB, there is definitely something missing with this version of the tea. the malty depth is a good way to describe what’s missing. thanks!

Indigobloom

heh, glad I could help Amanda! :)
I find it a bit scratchy to. Like I need to clear my throat constantly.

Amanda Earl

scratchy…hadn’t noticed that yet. i’ll have to brew another cup :)

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89
124 tasting notes

Hurray! Something interesting :)
After the disappointing tuo chas, I’m actually glad that I have no idea what to think about this.
From the beginning, I was fascinated by this tea and I really wanted to like it. I opened up the bag and was baffled – it was so much smokier than I had expected! I brought it around to my dad who likes whiskies and asked his opinion. First he said it smelled like a wet campfire which is, I think, what it was reminding me of. Then I mentioned the whiskey aspect and how it was made and he said he could absolutely see that.
My sister thought it smelled fabulous. I’m still on the fence. The piney scent really smells like some kind of carcinogenic chemical to me.
The flavor isn’t bad… it’s super interesting and less abrasive than the scent.
I’ve never tried anything like this before – the smokiness really lingers in my mouth and I can’t tell if I despise it or if I love it. It is one of the other.
My (vegan) sister mentioned that the scent smells a little like beef jerky – that scent/flavor started coming out more as the tea cooled.

Halfway through the cup I decided I like it :)
I tried adding milk to it at that point. I really like that too! I think this would be the perfect breakfast tea on a rainy day. The smokiness with the fogginess, the dark mellow notes with the color of the day, the sharpness with the drumming of the rain… yup. I’m sold!
ETA – I want to try brewing this for 3 minutes next time and see if it’s easier to drink black.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80
318 tasting notes

A sample of this has been sitting in my shelf for about a month now and I’ve been hesitant to try it because the scent is so smoky, it’s off-putting. It smells, honestly, like burnt gunpowder and campfire. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of gunpowder – reminds me of the model rockets I used to shoot off in the summer, before the engines got to be crazy expensive. But I wasn’t sure I’d like it in a tea.

I don’t dislike it, though it’s not my favorite. It’s certainly not as campfirey as it smells, though it’s smokier than anything I’ve ever had. It’s dark and malty and a little bit chocolaty. It brews a darkish red-brown, and I think it would fit in best with a winter snow, a fire in the fireplace and a book I’ve read a hundred times before.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

This is an occsional tea for me especially the smokier Lapsangs. It would be delicious with apples, cheeses like GORGONZOLA, sharp cheddar or swiss. How about toasted marshmallows?!

Bonnie

Some people like it in the morning with milk and sugar if it is salty which will make it a bit butterscotchy. Put some in the pot of water when you steam broccoli…put a pinch in sweet tea to smoke it a little.

Michelle

Yeah… unfortunately I only had a little 10g sample from David’s, and I made a pot. but I think I might try resteeping now, see how that turns out.

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72
95 tasting notes

Well, my first encounter with smoky tea, was Mr. Morgan’s tea (http://steepster.com/teas/the-pierpoint-morgan-library/15626-mr-morgans-tea) and if you take a look at my review, you’ll know that it wasn’t a good one.

I went to David’s Tea to talk to one of the girls about Mr. Morgan’s tea and the fact it smelled like cigars and she suggested I try this one. So, although I was a bit worried that I just didn’t have a thing for this kind of tea, I thought I’d give it a shot.

It’s definitely different! If you like smoky teas I recommend it. I let it steep for quite a while (totally forgot about it) but the tea didn’t become too bitter or strong! The flavour lasts though, and the smell reminds me of a fireplace—which makes me feel warmer!

A good thing since I’m about to start facing down a Canadian winter!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Dorothy

Absolutely a great tea to have around for the Canadian winter. :D

Michelle Butler Hallett

Must try, but I have about 200g of a favoured lapsang souchong already on hand. A good lapsang is incredible.

Beckara

It feels like a tea that I would be terrified to mess up if I was making it. One false move and you’ve made ashtray water!

Michelle Butler Hallett

And God help you if the tea is inferior. I once bought a box of Taylors of Harrogate’s lapsang souchong teabags … euh. Like drinking out of an ashtray. Especially disappointing as I’d just convinced a relucant friend to try lapsang souchong, and that was her introduction. ToH’s loose lapsang has never let me down, though. My current stash comes from that local teashop I keep mentioning, Britannia Teas on Water Street, St John’s. If you’re ever in St John’s, get yourself to Britannia.

Beckara

Now I have to come up with an excuse to go to St John’s. I’ve actually never been! My family hails from North Sydney, so I’ve been there, and Halifax but never made the trip to Nfld. I want to.

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34
232 tasting notes

Ummm…. EWWW!

I had to plug my nose to actually drink this! it smelled great, like kindling and hot dogs (don’t ask where the hot dogs came from) but it was terrible! Most certainly NOT a tea I will buy more of! Thank-fully I did not break the bank with this one at a mere 10g it was only $2 worth of tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
aisling of tea

This is a tea I keep in stock, but don’t drink. I do use it in my cooking, though. Any time I need a smoky bacony flavor or a substitute for beef stock.

MaddHatter

Oh… That could work. I was a little shocked when the girl at DAVIDs was quick to tell me she thought I smelled like “death in a bag” – ummm, I hope no one was listening…

aisling of tea

Geeze…There’s a difference between an honest opinion and insulting the company you work for.

MaddHatter

Oh I know, I think the look on my face said it all.

aisling of tea

hahaha I should have used that in my resume. "I will never compare one of your teas to “death in a bag”."

MaddHatter

ROFL, yes! When in doubt I will use what is written on the label to sell the tea. “Do you enjoy a good cigar? How about well aged whisky?” … “Well, may I suggest this tea?”

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1243 tasting notes

So I’ve never actually had a cup of this, but I go through a 100g every other month or so, because I cook with it constantly. Tonight it was the star of a bacon and brussels sprout risotto…well as much as anything can be a star when sharing the stage with bacon ;) But oh my goodness it was delish and add so much more flavor than the 4 cups of water the recipe called for!

mewakeling

That sounds amazing! We have some that was given to us, I am not crazy about the taste but I could totally see cooking savoury with it!

aisling of tea

It’s great! It adds so much flavor without adding salt or calories! Try it in any bacon dish, or anywhere you would usually use beef stock! My default now is if it takes water, it can take tea, and usually be better for it.

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