Virob said

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.

5 Replies

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.

Virob said

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.

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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.

Virob said

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.

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onjinone said

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.

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