Lapsang Souchong Imperial (ZS80)

Tea type
Black Tea
Not available
Camphor, Citrus, Earth, Peat Moss, Campfire, Smoke, Ash, Wet Wood
Sold in
Not available
Not available
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Dan
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 14 oz / 406 ml

Currently unavailable

We don't know when or if this item will be available.

From Our Community

1 Image

6 Want it Want it

25 Own it Own it

  • +10

29 Tasting Notes View all

From Upton Tea Imports

The best China Lapsang Souchong we have found. To our knowledge we are the only importer of this grade of China Lapsang Souchong. Superior in flavor. Very smoky, yet quite mellow.

About Upton Tea Imports View company

Company description not available.

29 Tasting Notes

212 tasting notes

I was interested in lapsang souchong because I’ve read they are smokey teas. Of course, I see that Bonnie does quite a bit with them when cooking and I was curious.

I’m not really sure what to think about this one yet. I feel like I’m drinking liquid smoke with a smidge of tea. I only really know it’s tea because there is that familiar tea bite. I didn’t find any bitterness or much astringency. I’m thinking this is of decent quality.

I don’t think this is some thing I would really keep in my cupboard. I enjoyed trying it but I think I’d like it more in a blend. A little less smoke would make me happy.
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Have you tried Baker Street by Upton? YUMMY!

Autumn Hearth

While I prefer the LS Black Dragon, I did finish up the last of the Imperial a few nights ago. I brewed it with really short steeps and a rinse and it was actually sweet and delicious though still definitely smokey. The Black Dragon is a more buttery tea base and that’s the one I’ll be re-ordering in the fall.


Not quite yet but we did get some with our order. :D

One other thing I noticed is after drinking this tea any thing that is sweet now has super powers. It really seems to magnify sweet things.


I used to really dislike smoky teas but they are starting to grow on me a bit more!


I’ll have to look into that LS Black Dragon then. The smoke wasn’t a really bad taste, it just powered out every thing else.


Infusing LF in sauces would be good too! :))


Baker Street is a nice blend.


Put some in the water when steaming broccoli. Some people drink it with sugar and cream. I have a sweet whisky hard cheese that I eat along side with it and it’s wonderful. There are lighter versions. Also, overly sweet tea’s can be enhanced with a pinch of smoke.


I still dislike smoky teas, lol. Missy, LS Black Dragon is very smoky too, but have nothing to compare it too.


I’ll have to give that baker street a whirl and see how it does. I do have to say it really brings back camping memories.


Thanks for the cooking type Bonnie. :D


Funny Lupicia just emailed me a marinade recipe for BBQ steak using….Lapsang Souchong!


Lol what a coincidence!?


IMO smoky teas are better in blends than straight. In particular, I think of 52teas Mayan Chocolate Chai for a nice hit of smokiness, but not too much. I think their ‘Smoky Chocolate’ was a bit much for me though. So, I’d definitely suggest blending it! Or using it in recipes – I looooooove smoked meat, and think it would add fabulous flavour to so many things, as Bonnie frequently tells us!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

911 tasting notes

Upton and I haven’t been getting along much at all so I wasn’t expecting great things from this sample. In fact, I was planning on disliking this tea simply because I’m to the point where I just don’t like Upton. (Yes, I’m sulking about their general meh-ness and disappointing-ness. And I have no current plans to stop.) But, dangit, as much as I want to, I can’t dislike this tea. It’s good. Really good.


The smell is strong but not overly thick – it’s all campfires, bark and crispy fall with no road tar or thick smoke syrup to be found. The taste initially seemed a little watery, which fell into my general “I don’t like Upton” plans. I don’t know if the flavor thickened up a bit as it cooled or if the flavor built upon itself as I continued to sip, but I that watery impression didn’t stay around for long. Instead, the taste is smoky but not overpowering or heavy. There’s a hint of sweet that flashes across my tongue every so often but I wouldn’t go so far to say it is a sweet lapsang. There is a taste at the end of the sip that’s a little warm and almost spicy. It blends with the bark-ish tea taste and brings to mind cinnamon. Not so much that it tastes of cinnamon, but rather gives a feel of cinnamon. It makes me think of unsweetened Snickerdoodles.

I’d say this tea compares pretty closely with Golden Moon’s lapsang, though I haven’t had that one recently enough to do much of a true comparison. I don’t believe this one is as sweet and it registers perhaps a little more on the autumn side of things. Regardless, it’s annoyingly tasty. Which means I can’t just dislike Upton across the board. Apparently, they do some teas right. Darn it.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

148 tasting notes

Woah! I feel I should preface this review by stating that I really like whisky – especially smokey, peaty whisky. So when I opened the packet the first thing I thought was WHISKY!

This really does smell like a campfire when you open it – lots of smoke and peat smell right up front. Brewed, the liquor still smells smokey with an undertone of rich black tea. A few sips in and I can taste a bit of sweetness and there’s a bite at the back of my throat. This honestly feels like sitting in the woods around a big campfire, and that is what you are drinking. The wood, the smoke, a bit of earth.

I think I may need to try more lapsang souchongs!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

That sounds right up my alley!


I ended up only drinking about 1/3 of the cup because the smoke flavor was so strong, but shockingly Rayn downed the rest even though he 1) doesn’t usually like black tea and 2) doesn’t like whisky. shrug


The smoke flavor of Lapsang is usually too strong for me..

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

185 tasting notes

So, this is my first lapsang souchong. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and wasn’t sure I’d like it… but at the Upton price, it was totally worth trying out a sample.

Brewing this tea really caused the house to smell like a campfire. Quite pungent. I could smell it upstairs, easily.

The taste is smoky, and just that – all I taste is the smokiness. What’s funny, it doesn’t taste bad, necessarily… but it just tastes like someone put a drop of liquid smoke in my warm water. If I let it sit in my mouth for a bit, I can kind of rationalize the smoke away, and begin to taste a little bit of the tea itself… but it is truly hidden by the smoke flavor.

But, let me add that the smoke doesn’t make it taste unpleasant, which is probably a sign that the smoke isn’t overdone. It just doesn’t seem to have any other depth to the flavor. Just doesn’t really work for me. Can’t see myself buying more of this.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I have heard this kind of tea called a ‘love it or hate it tea’. I happen to love it, but I can easily see how someone can go the other way, too.


Don’t give up. It would be like having a bad other tea and giving up. There are different LS’s too. I could send you a couple different ones…one is a light version that even my grandkids like!

Dylan Oxford

Haha, I figure I’ll try Teavivre’s when we put in an order. I’m not ‘giving up’ so to speak, this one just definitely wasn’t for me.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

429 tasting notes

After Angrboda’s post I just had to have some Lapsang Souchong. This tea is smoky, smooth, and delicious with sweet undertones.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

109 tasting notes

Brew temp 208

Dry leaves are dark brown with a few medium brown. Tightly rolled. No golden tips or pine needle-type leaves like their Black Dragon Lapsang. Aroma is smoky with perhaps a burnt rubber note. Liquor is light copper.

I thought this was going to be much smokier than the Black Dragon-especially after inhaling the brewed leaf. It smelled strongly of very pungent peat moss and campfires and I was wondering if I had gone too far. But, never fear, this tea tastes quite a bit like the Black Dragon, except a little smokier. Again very smooth-if you think smoky means bitter, I have not found that to be the case at all. I am enjoying this and would probably choose this over the Black Dragon-but you can’t really go wrong either way. Now I am craving a really smoky Lapsang.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

74 tasting notes

I found this tasty but definitely not the best lapsang I’ve had by a longshot. It was pretty run-of-the-mill, not bad, but not really a whole lot better (or may just as good) as the standard Twinings Lapsang Souchong tea bags. It sure was smokey, but not with a lot of other flavours. I prefer Upton’s Lapsang Black Dragon which had some more malty flavours and interesting backend to it. This one is a lot of sizzle, but not a lot of steak.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

72 tasting notes

OH MY GOSH THIS IS REALLY GOOD TEA! I was not expecting this to be so delicious! It’s so wonderful. Buy this tea. Buy this tea. Smoky goodness. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

32 tasting notes

Oh wow. Oh my. How do I even begin to describe the experience of trying lapsang souchong for the first time?

It’s the type of tea about which I was intensely curious, but intensely afraid of trying. I don’t really know why I was afraid – the worst that could happen is that I didn’t like it and moved on.

I needn’t have worried.

The first thing one notices about the tea upon getting it ready to steep, is the intense smell. Smokey, like a barbecue, but without the acrid edge one might expect from something burning. I can imagine why some note that it’s a good tea for cooking. I would probably use this when making some sort of ham soup.

I have to say that it smells lovely, but it was still intimidating to drink. I didn’t necessarily feel like ingesting a barbecue, taste-wise. However, the taste is quite distinct from the smell. Yes, it is smokey, but the over-all flavour is smooth. Maybe a little peppery towards the tail-end. The after-taste is pleasantly smokey, like a satisfying drag from a barbecue hookah.

I’m not skilled enough at tea-drinking yet to identify distinct elements, so the best way I can describe it is that it’s evocative of a good smoked food, say gouda or ham, while still managing to taste distinctly like tea. It’s a soothingly full taste that lingers even after one is done drinking.

I’m not 100% certain I brewed it correctly. I will admit that there was a definite bite in the back of my throat with the first cup, and then it was definitely on the under brewed side for the second and third cup. Not the tea’s fault. Just learning curve on my part.

As an amusing anecdote – apparently now my breath smells like wood.

At any rate, this is a tea that I will definitely be drinking a lot more often. I’m glad I bought this sample.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

5 tasting notes

This tea is smooth but smoky. This is the very first Lapsang Souchong I’ve ever had and boy was I surprised (in a good way). The smokiness is strong enough that I’d love to cook with it. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I did like it. I wondered whether it is good to be ingesting this… hah!

Be prepared for your teaware to smell like smoke. I made the mistake of brewing this on my Breville Tea Maker and it was difficult to get the smell out. I’d brew this on a separate glass teaware. A good wash immediately and and letting it air overnight did help tremendously. A couple pot of other black tea did finally diminished the smell enough to not be noticed.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.