After sweet black teas, I believe my next favorite category is smoky black teas. I’ve tried a few Lapsang Souchong teas in the past and liked them all. I was looking forward to trying The Spice and Tea Exchange’s (TSTE) entry in this arena. Their black chocolate tea showed me that they know how to load a tea with flavor.

As I opened the zip-lock pouch of thin black tea leaves, my nostrils were instantly slapped soundly by a potent campfire aroma. It was a deep rich odor that almost smelled like burning hickory wood.

I brewed the leaves at 212 degrees for four minutes (my choice as TSTE does not include steeping instructions). The finished liquor was a deep amber color. A strong smoky smell that reminded me of my Boy Scout campout days erupted from the tea pot and filled my kitchen.

The initial sip shot strong smoky signals to my taste buds at the speed of light. Although quite potent, the taste was also smooth and complete. The smoky flavor of this tea was so well defined and complex that I kept trying to identify the components that comprised it. (I’m still leaning toward hickory wood.) There was no bitterness whatsoever. The flavor of each sip was as full and detailed as the one before. The aftertaste delightfully echoed the great flavor. The black tea taste took a backseat as it usually does with good smoky teas.

This is a fantastic Lapsang Souchong tea with all of the elements that you would want in this blend and more. I will be reaching for this selection in the morning again soon. TSTE’s teas are pricey but I don’t feel cheated.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I ventured into the world of serious tea drinking in the Summer of 2011. I started out slowly and gently with bagged tea but climbed to the incredible flavorful heights of loose leaf teas in October of that year. Once you go leaf, you never go bag (except when you get free samples)!


South Carolina, USA

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