drank Lapsang Souchong by Wegmans
18 tasting notes

Full disclosure: this is the first Lapsang Souchong I’ve ever had. I’ve been curious about it for a while and finally decided to try it.

This tea is not for the faint of heart. At first sniff, it reveals a formidable aroma of smoked pine. I was overwhelmed and somewhat put off at first by the intensity. However, the smell itself wasn’t unpleasant, and after getting used to it, I was able to pick up the refreshing scent of pine beneath the smoke, which I found very pleasant.

The liquor is a surprisingly clear, light rust color. The intensity of the scent and dark dry leaves led me to expect a very black brew. The flavor is at first very earthy and woody, but the significant trait is the lingering smoked pine that sticks to the back of the throat, reminiscent of campfire smoke that gets into everything. This pervasive smokiness could either be a very bad or very good thing, and it leads me to conclude that this tea, for my personal preference, is best consumed alongside food with flavors that are enhanced by the smokiness. After trying it a few different times by itself, I finally had mine with a goat cheese, roasted vegetable pizza. It was delicious. I had some of the tea after it had cooled down for curiosity’s sake and I must say that this tea is terrible cold, as one might have guessed. All I could taste was soggy wood.

Final verdict: Intense, smoked pine aroma can be polarizing. Delightful paired with the right foods (and likely disgusting with the wrong ones). I would not personally like to drink this tea by itself right now, but I could see growing to like it enough for that. Avoid drinking cold at all costs.

Flavors: Earth, Pine, Smoke, Toast, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My scale is simplified for the sake of consistency. The legend follows below:

100 – These teas are simply special. They are not only perfectly balanced, but also particularly appeal to my tastes, emotions, and always have a place in my cupboard.

90 – These teas are perfectly balanced, and have no downsides. I feel this is the highest objective rating I can give, and anything rated higher is simply a special fancy. The teas here are certainly among the best I’ve ever tasted.

80 – These teas are really good, but they may have downsides that are very particular to me. They may be generally well-balanced, but perhaps contain a flavor I’m not personally keen on. Nevertheless, these teas are solid and deserve a chance.

70 – These teas are just alright. Not particularly offensive, but nothing to write home about either. I wouldn’t warn anybody off them, but I wouldn’t restock them myself.

60 – Teas in this category have a fatal flaw or require some serious help, lots of milk and/or sugar, to be enjoyable. But at least they can be salvaged.

50 – This is the lowest reasonable category, in my opinion, as anything lower must either not be tea or altogether undrinkable. I was able to finish one cup of these teas for the sake of fairness, but that was probably all I could drink.

10 – This category is reserved for “teas” so offensive, I could not finish a full cup of one. I’ve yet to have such a bad tea, but I suppose anything is possible.


Alexandria, VA

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