Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea (Yan Xun Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Burnt, Cedar, Leather, Pine, Smoke, Tar, Malt, Molasses, Peanut, Ash, Tobacco
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Scott
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g 12 oz / 342 ml

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90 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Not really ready to review this, just giving more of an update. My tea and my kettle set up were the last things I removed from office. I had two grocery sacks of tea - mostly samples. This morning...” Read full tasting note
    ks6 1250 tasting notes
  • “Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn't tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, "Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that...” Read full tasting note
    ashmanra 1797 tasting notes
  • “*Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!* Ya'll know I love me some Lapsang Souchong...Amen! (left over accent from living in Texas years ago!...long story...) When I saw everyone receiving the...” Read full tasting note
    bonniejohnstone 673 tasting notes
  • “This is what I took to work today. We're getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of...” Read full tasting note
    tabby 467 tasting notes

From Teavivre

Origin: Wuyi Mountain, Fujian, China

Ingredients: Da Bai Hao (Pekoe)

Harvest time: May 02, 2013

Taste: smoked taste, mellow, sweet aftertaste

Brew: 2-3 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 194ºF (90 ºC) for 1 to 2 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: Black teas contain antioxidants, which help in the prevention of some cancers and help reduce the affects of aging that is caused by free radicals. They can also reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks due to natural chemicals that reduce cholesterol.

About Teavivre View company

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90 Tasting Notes

59 tasting notes

This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.
Dry Leaf: Had a sweet and smokey pine aroma.
Wet Leaf: Had the smokey pine aroma.
Liquor: Had a bright and beautiful reddish brown color.
Taste: Had a perfect amount of the pine smoke flavor. This tea was smooth and not bitter at all. The soup was more on the watery side.
Overall Opinion:I give this tea a 89. This tea I believe is a love it or hate it type of tea. I find it very unique. This tea is very smooth and no bitterness. The tea reminds me of sitting by a nice campfire. The only thing I would want from this tea is more texture to the tea soup and that cooling effect you get in the after taste of higher quality Lapsang Souchongs. Again, can not be to hard on this tea since it is not overly smokey and so smooth with a pinch of sweetness.
Vessel: SAMA DOYO Gongfu/Kungfu Teapot. I used 7 grams of leaf for 220ml or approx. 7oz. water in the inner cup of pot.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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254 tasting notes

We had some friends over tonight, and one of them was from the Netherlands. I brought this out for him to sniff, and he immediately knew exactly what it was, which made me so happy to know there are more people like me! :) Although he pronounced it more like Lapsang Soo-Wong, which may be the correct way to pronounce it, I have no idea. He picked this out to drink and was very happy with it!

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114 tasting notes

Backlog from last night. Or was it two nights ago? I don’t remember.

Anyway, I got this as a sample from TeaVivre ages ago and have finally gotten around to trying it out. Thanks, Angel and Teavivre!

This is going to be a short note since I didn’t write anything down whichever night I had this.

Smoky, but less so than some other lapsang souchongs I’ve had. Most of the smokiness seems to be in the smell. Smooth, malty, with a bit of sweetness that becomes more pronounced as it cools. Very enjoyable with the fall weather!

Thanks again, Angel and Teavivre!

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163 tasting notes

I’ve never tried a Lapsang Souchong until this one that came as part of the black tea sampler I purchased. Since the description said smoky, I assumed it would not be “my cup of tea” but was pleasantly surprised at how the smoky flavor was just right, not overwhelming the tea flavor. It is a subtle and smooth cup of tea. It would probably never be an everyday cup for me, but that’s a matter of personal taste, not quality. I can envision when cooler weather arrives in the fall,that this would be a very enjoyable cup to savor.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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1 tasting notes

A new encounter for me so m expectation are a bit high.

the smell inside bag was very smoky, the dry leaves smelled very good, dark and campfire like, just like a goos Lapsang. Using 2tsp of leaves into my teapot for making a cup, and used the suggested time and steep temp. The brew was as expected smoky in flavor, still powerful it filled my senses.

So I scooped out 2 tsp of leaves and put it in my gaiwan, then adding the hot water at the suggested 90 c. temperature. Sniffing the tea liquor as it brewed, the scent of smoke is still pretty powerful, perfect.

My first sip was lighter than the smell earthy, slightly smoky, slightly sweet and a velvety feel. a slight cocoa aftertaste reminiscent of the aroma, very nice touch.

In all it was a very good Lapsang, that i enjoyed. classic but just different enough to be engaging, and work its way into my cupboard.

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153 tasting notes

a great black tea! i love the campfire like taste :D like eating hotdogs cooked over a campfire

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146 tasting notes

Let me preface this with emphasis that I am rating this tea based on what it is supposed to be. I actually discovered I don’t like Lapsang Souchong at all, but Teavivre makes a good one for what it is.

Dry: Small tightly rolled black tea leaves. The package reminds me of the stables- the dry leaf smells very leathery to me with considerable smokiness and another aroma that reminds me of dry cedar chips.

Steeped: Deep red-brown clear liquor. The smokiness is a bit less present in the steeped tea than in the dry leaf. A hint of malt plays around the edges of the mug.

Taste: Holy smoke, Batman! This one is bold on flavor. Strong smoke with a hint of sweet. Very smooth, with pine, leather, and cedar notes. If I were to taste a tea that reminded me of a campfire, this would be the one. Not for me and I honestly couldn’t even finish the pot, but nonetheless, a quality tea and definitely worth a trial if you enjoy potent smokey notes in your tea. For some weird reason, I imagine that someone that might like this tea may also like whiskey, cigars, and horse races, lol.

Flavors: Burnt, Cedar, Leather, Pine, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

I love your objectivity. It is a hard thing to review something you don’t like on its own merits. Good job! And this is a good one.


Thank you! :)

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15 tasting notes

Teavivre is currently having a giveaway in exchange for reviews. I chose to review their entire “5 Featured Black Tea Sampler”, not realizing I could only have one entry. I will include my reviews for all five teas in this entry, and I’ll divide out the individual teas in a few days.

Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea

Leaf: Dry, I see slim twists of black tea with golden tips. It smells rich and smoky and a little acrid, as if someone briefly uncapped a permanent marker. The acrid scent could be from the masking tape I was handling a few minutes previously, though. Wet, it smells like the damp, dewy remains of a a campfire after a night of camping.

Water: I don’t have a temperature control kettle, so I just have to estimate water temperatures. My kettle is glass, though, so I can get a pretty good idea of what is going on. The temperature I used was below boiling, at the point when small bubbles are formed on the bottom of the kettle and the first bubbles begin to be released.

Amount: I used approximately 2 tsp of tea for 8 oz of water, brewing western style.

First Steeping:
1 minute: The tea is a light gold. It doesn’t taste like much on the tongue, but the after taste when I swallow is slightly smoky and malty. I will let this steep for another minute.
At 2 minutes total steeping time, the tea is now a darker, honeyed orange. It smells much more smoky. It has a very thin mouthfeel, much different from the usual lapsang souchongs I am used to. The smoke flavor is fairly light and subtle.

Second steeping:
3 minutes: I used slightly hotter water this time, because the water seemed a little too cool to properly brew the tea last time. I can immediately see the difference when I remove my steeper. The tea is a dark, rich amber. I can smell some of the underlying tea base beneath the smell of smoke. For all of the smoke scent, there is not much smoke flavor. It is surprisingly light for a lapsang souchong. With this steeping, it is very subtly sweet.

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip

Leaf: These are beautiful twists of gold.

Water: Small bubbles were formed on the bottom, and on about half of the surface area, the bubbles were releasing.

Amount: Whoops, I overpoured and ended up using the whole 7g sample for 8 oz of water.

First steeping:
3 minutes: The tea is a deep reddish brown. It has a bright flavor, though it’s slightly acidic. After sipping the first half of the cup, I forgot about it, and it cooled to room temperature, and wow. It is really thick and creamy and malty. Fantastic.

Second steeping:
5 minutes: Again, the tea is a dark, reddish brown. However, it must have not had a very significant taste, because I didn’t have any notes on it. Maybe I was still too blown away by the cold tea.

Fenqing Dragon Pearl

Leaf: Huge tightly rolled balls, approximately the size of a small marble.

Water: I let the water get really hot, just under a full boil.

Amount: I used 4 balls for 8 oz of water.

First steeping:
5 minutes: The balls have completely unfurled. The tea is a medium shade of amber. This tea is hot! Sipping on it, there is nothing that special about it. It tastes very similar to the black tea that they have at a lot of the Chinese restaurants on my college campus. However, I let it cool for a few minutes, so I could actually drink a full mouthfull, and the flavor is much more complex. It is very malty, with just a hint of a sweet, caramel-like flavor. It’s very rich and thick.

Second steeping:
10 minutes: The tea is a lighter, caramel color. It has exuded most of its nuance in the previous steeping, unfortunately.

Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea

Leaf: Whispy little twists.

Water: Much cooler than the water I used for the dragon pearls. Bubbles were formed on the bottom of the kettle and had just started being released.

Amount: I used approximately 3g of tea in 8 oz of water.

First steeping:
1 min: This tea is a dark red-orange color. It smells earthy and tastes slightly tangy.

Second steeping:
3 minutes: The tea is now a rich red brown. However, it doesn’t taste like much, but that is likely because I ate a piece of candied ginger just before drinking the tea.

Bailin Gongfu Black Tea

Leaf: Short little folds of tea.

Water: I wasn’t paying attention, and the water got closer to a boil than I intended.

Amount: I used approximately 4g of tea in 8 oz of water.

First steeping:
1 minute: The tea is a beautiful, bright red-orange color. It has a very thick mouthfeel.

Second steeping:
3 minutes: The tea is a darker brown than before. It still has the thick mouthfeel. It is slightly bitter, I may have oversteeped it. It is ever so slightly acidic.

Golden Monkey Black Tea (I accidentally put this in the black tea sampler bag)

Leaf: Dry, it smells bright, with malty undercurrents. Wet, the leaf smells sweet, almost fruity. About half of the long, thin leave are a pale gold.

Water: Bubbles are formed on the bottom of the kettle and began being released.

Amount: I used approximately 1 tablespoon of tea for 8 oz of water.

First steeping:
1 minute: The tea is a deep, dark brown. It tastes very malty.

Second steeping:
3 minutes: The tea is now a rich amber color. It still tastes malty, but there’s a slight flavor with it that is almost slightly fungal.

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141 tasting notes

I was apprehensive about this tea because the dry leaf smells dreadful. I read somewhere that the leaves are sometimes smoked over pine tar rather than pine wood, and I wonder if that’s the case for this one, because it smells like pine tar. With heavy emphasis on the tar, and not much on the pine.

That said, most lapsang souchongs taste better than they smell, in my opinion, so I forged ahead.

When I first sipped it, I didn’t like it, though it definitely tasted better than it smelled. Now that it’s cooled a bit, it tastes nicer, sweeter and more mellow. There’s still a faint note of something that just doesn’t appeal to me though.

I have a feeling that this tea might just be too authentic for my sheltered American tastes. I’ve never really been into lapsang souchongs, but of those I’ve tried, I liked David’s the best. It was recognizably smoky, but still on the mild side.

Flavors: Smoke, Tar

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Another smokey one! I still have half my sample I’m saving to try again, but it isn’t something I think I’d have very often, although I did enjoy drinking it. I remember though that the aroma of it stayed with me all day!


I agree with the sheltered American tastebuds vs smoky tea. I live in the southern California wildfire area, and now smoky teas remind me of evacuating my home, so I steer clear of them….for now!


Yes, I’m getting near the end of my first round of tea sampler packets, and it’s no coincidence that the smoky teas got shoved till last. I only drink them when I’m feeling daring. I guess I’m just fussy about smoke flavor. I WANT to like it, because it’s so interesting and nuanced. And as we discussed, personal tastes do change from day to day. But at heart, I’m a peaches and cream kind of girl, so something this strong is way outside my comfort zone.


Sorry, donkeytiara, I just now saw your comment. Just watching them on tv, those southern California fires look terrifying. I hope they’re not as bad down there this year! Now that you mention it, I wonder if I too haven’t been affected by bad experiences with smoke. I’m staying in Idaho at the moment, and though I’ve never been in danger from the fire, both the forest service and the farmers have these controlled burns all through the summer that really pollute the air. I cringe now whenever I smell smoke.

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298 tasting notes

I have a case of the blahs. Pretty sure I am having an immune freak out from the tetanus shot I got yesterday, or maybe I am catching Ben’s summer cold, regardless I feel like a shambling blob. I am hoping that tomorrow I feel better so I can do something other than lay on the couch grumbling.

Today’s tea is Teavivre’s Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea or Yan Xun Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, China. This tea is smoked over pine wood (or pine wood charcoal) from Tongmu Kuan in the Wuyi Mountains. Lapsang Souchong has a long and interesting history, in theory Laspang Souchong was created when the passage of an army delayed the annual drying, so in order to meet the demand the tea producers spread up the processing by drying the leaves over pine fires. Turns out it was a tasty idea. The aroma is very much so a pine smoke heavy black tea, lots of pine smoke goodness and a rich malt. There are also notes of molasses and roasted peanuts which blends really well with the pine resin and smoke.

After tossing the pile of leaves into my gaiwan…ok, not tossing, that would be rude to the leaves, and giving the tea its initial steeping, the wet leaves have a very rich aroma with notes of molasses, loam, malt, pine sap, and loads of pine smoke. It smells like a rich black tea steeping over a fire. The liquid once it has been freed from the gaiwan (It is what I am calling pouring now) has a slightly sweet aroma that reminds me of freshly baked molasses cookies. There is, of course, an overarching aroma of pine smoke and resin.

The first steep is quite smooth and very light. The taste is subtly sweet with notes of pine sap and sweet potatoes. This fades to a rich smokiness that lingers into the aftertaste. This steep promises that future steeps are going to have a wonderful richness and smokiness, it is a good prelude to what is to come.

On the second steep there is a strong molasses and pine smoke aroma. The taste is very strong pine resin taste with strong notes of roasted peanuts and molasses. The tea is not very sweet and has a slight astringent finish. It is smoky and brisk and quite strong.

The aroma of the third steep is very malty and molasses heavy, there is still smoke, but it is not as strong as the previous steeps giving it more of a balanced aroma. The taste is a perfectly balanced blend of smoke, pine resin, molasses, and roasted peanuts. There is a sweet aftertaste and no astringency what so ever.

On a whim I decided to give this tea a visit using Western techniques. The aroma is malty, rich, and quite smoky. The taste is very smoky with heavy notes of pine, molasses, and sweetness. The aftertaste is malty and smoky. Both the Western and the Gongfu styles of brewing made a deliciously smoky and rich tea.

For photos and blog:

Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Peanut, Pine, Smoke

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