Lapsang Souchong and saliva
First post and an odd question. Total tea novice here, who is experimenting a little. I bought some Lapsang Souchong and I really like it. The odd thing is, when I drink it, it over-activates my saliva glands, and it isn’t just while drinking, but for hours afterwards. Very strange. It is a high quality tea from a reputable company and doesn’t contain liquid smoke. Has anyone experienced this effect? Will it go away after awhile? Teas are supposed to be astringent, but what I am experiencing is the exact opposite. I really like the tea, but not enjoying this effect.
I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that related to tea, or any other food item or drug.
How can you be certain the tea isn’t artificially flavored? I’d like to think that I could flag a difference in flavor between real smoke and something added but in practice I’m not sure how well I could separate both. I’ve tried a bad version of Lapsang Souchong that was obviously a bit off but I’m not certain that a liquid smoke cooking product would be so easy to flag.
I have never experienced this before either. I can’t be certain that the tea isn’t artificially flavoured, but it comes from an organic, ecco-friendly specially tea store that specifically state that no chemicals or artificial additives are used in any of their teas. They have built their reputation on that principle, so the possibility is remote.
It’s conceivable that some naturally occurring compound is causing that effect, that it’s nothing to worry about, but it’s so atypical that I would be concerned. I be been following tea social media and references quite a bit for 4 years and that symptom isnt familiar. If you don’t drink much lapsang souchong it could be that a compound in smoke affects you that way, or that there is something unusual about that particular smoke.
Not to be negative or dismissive but I don’t put that much confidence in claims vendors make. If they actually grew and processed the tea they would have lots of ditect background knowledge of inputs but otherwise you are believing stories they are being told. Testing only goes so far; even when vendors do test they usually check the most common 20 or so contaminants and not the relatively boundless range of what might be in tea. To check everything would require the type of gas chromography testing and cross referencing that isn’t usually carried out to a last component analysis even in research papers where that’s essentially the point.
In the end it’s up to you to decide to drink it or not. Even if it’s arsenic doing that you’d probably live, but some things it’s best to not ingest much at all of. An online tea friend was tested for high arsenic levels in her blood, not necessarily from tea, but given how much tea she consumes maybe that. The easiest protection against any toxins becoming a problem is to eat a varied diet, with the same applying to drinks.
I do a fair amount of smoked meat in the backyard and I almost forgot, several years ago, I also made candied smoked salmon in a food drier using liquid smoke that turned out well. Never noticed a reaction to either of those.
I did call the place I bought the tea and talked with a staff member, not the tea master, who assured me that they only buy direct for farms in China, are aware of fakes etc.., I have now reason to doubt them, but ultimately, unless you are there, watching the entire process, how do you really know what you are getting.
As an experiment, yesterday I went to a small local tea store and got a sample of Lapsing Souchong. Nothing special about this place, tea probably for comes from a wholesaler, but I wanted to see if I get the affect for another source. To my untrained eye, the quality was noticeably lower, more stem material, not as uniform and required almost twice as much for a similar brew of tea. The effect was much less and didn’t extend much beyond the drinking period.
During my internet searching I can across this site:
" 25 notes on how to taste real tea leaves
6. Stream of saliva: the tea generates saliva encompassing the whole interior of the mouth. Bubbles surface from both cheeks and under the tongue. The highest quality tea will leave a long lasting saliva stream in the mouth."
That pretty much describes the sensation I have. That is also the only reference I was able to find, suggesting it is fairly obscure. I will admit to being biased, because I want to continue drinking this tea, but maybe this is a good thing??
I will continue to proceed with caution.
Thanks so much for your interest and thoughtful response.
I have heard of people having that type of reaction before, but it’s not incredibly common. It’s different for everyone, but that reaction is usually related to a naturally occurring compound.
I have had Lapsang Souchong on occasion but it has never given me that side effect. It did leave a stong after taste in my mouth for about an hour afterward and maybe that aftertaste is causing it.
Maybe the tasty tea just has you drooling? :) I’m drinking unsmoked souchong right now but noticed nothing like that. The only substances that make my mouth water are tobacco and arecoline (betel nut)
I used to drink a lot of Lapsng Souchong until it started giving me headaches. Might just have been a bad batch but it put me off. Didn’t make me drool though! ;)
I hadn’t mentioned it here but the last smoked lapsang souchong version I bought I threw away; it was obviously artificial. I really should have avoided that by at least smelling it in the shop. I was in a hurry and a bit thrown off by the travel context.
Things have settled down, and the reaction isn’t anywhere as intense as it first was. I’m thinking it isn’t a problem. Here is the response I got from the tea shop owner
Hi – firstly, allow me to re-assure you – our Lapsang Souchong is independtly 3rd party certified organic and the tea leaves are actually pine smoked. This is unusual because most tea sold as Lapsang Soughong is not authentic and contains artificial smoke. If you’re noticing a response, it may be a result of a few different things. Tea is known to activate the salivary glands. There are many ancient texts about tea that speak specifically to how certain teas do activate the saliva and studies about how green tea can counteract auto-immune issues that lead to dry mouth and problems with saliva. The salivary response and which tea you are mostly likely to notice a difference with can vary from person to person. As well, studies indicate that smell alone (or even just thinking about food) can also activate the salivary glands. It may be that the smoky smell is very enticing to you if you’re someone who loves bbq and so your body is activating a salivary response to get ready to digest. Another explanation may be that you are reacting to the actual smoke. Some people tolerate smoked foods (even when it’s actually smoked, not an artificial flavour) less well than others. Smoked foods contain more histamines, and if you’re someone who tends to suffer from hay fever or other allergic type symptoms, it could be that your body is responding to the histamines in the smoke. Hope you find this info helpful. If you encounter any discomfort or the saliva feels like it’s too much, you may wish to draw this to the attention of your doctor or dentist, as any changes can signal other (sometimes disease) processes in the body. Regards, Daniela (owner, Tea Master + founder)
As I mentioned above, I do my own meat smoking, and haven’t had this effect, but maybe it is the pine.