Lapsang Souchong

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
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205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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15 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Got to leave work early today – yay! It’s cold and raining (thankfully not snowing) so I thought this afternoon would be a great time to put on my snow leopard fleece pants, put a heating pad on...” Read full tasting note
  • “Lap three. The self-talk, or more like self-prattle, that is going on right now is along the lines of “you can do it, do another one! Do Lupicia! Do American Tea Room!” While this may be...” Read full tasting note
  • “Lance drank this one tonight, the liquid was thin but really dark brown and the aroma was very Smokey and smelled up the entire living room. Lance said it was one of the best out of the Lapsang...” Read full tasting note
  • “I swear. Samovar and I are not meant to be. I feel like somehow our relationship is cursed. I finally feel less frustrated about the whole took-forever botched-up order (I still need to drop off...” Read full tasting note

From Samovar

Origin: Fujian, China

Flavor Profile: Astringent, bold, and downright smoky. Lapsang Souchong is famous for its aroma that suggests smoke-cured meat, or delicious bacon, but the flavor is lightly tarry, subtly sweet, and potently smokey.

Tea Story: Pine-smoked intensi-tea. Lapsang Souchong has been withered over pine or cedar fires, pan-fired, rolled, and roasted, before finally drying in bamboo baskets over burning pine.

Lapasang Souchong is not for the faint-hearted. Unlike anything else, and totally unmistakable. Lapsang is an unusual, exotic delight with milk and sugar. Or try some with some almond milk and honey when gathered around a mountain campfire, or dining-room candle.

Samovarian Poetry: Zealously tarry, ancient & smoky. Delicious with milk & sugar.

Food Pairings: Lapsang Souchong is great paired with spicy or salty foods. The smoky flavor especially compliments smoked fish and poultry.

A classic desert pairing is Lapsang Souchong and chocolate: pot de creme, truffles, or eclair. Burnt caramel and Lapsang are also a well- mirrored flavor treat. Think creme brule.

Many a San Francisco chef has come to us to buy our Lapang Souchong wholesale for use in their kitchen. The pine smoke depth of this tea has made its way into marinades and baked onto poultry and fish.

At the tea lounge we pair it with our Smoked Salmon dishes, Ginger Quinoa Waffle, Wasabi-Ceasar salad, and Chinese style stir-fry.

About Samovar View company

Samovar's is dedicated to preserving the simplicity and integrity of the tea traditions and inspiring people to practice peace through drinking tea.

15 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

Got to leave work early today – yay! It’s cold and raining (thankfully not snowing) so I thought this afternoon would be a great time to put on my snow leopard fleece pants, put a heating pad on my stomach and have some tea. I pulled out my GM sampler and another basket (that I’ve dubbed the takgoti sampler) intending to leaf through the lovely teas and eventually settle on one. But this one was right on top, hand raise, screaming “PICK ME! PICK ME!”

So I did.

The dry leaves smell like barbecue sauce – the good stuff that I loved when I could still eat the darn stuff. While steeping, a meatier flavor comes up. Like smoked brisket. Once it has brewed up, though, I get more of a we-just-sprayed-down-the-campfire-before-bed smell. That’s a little… worrying. But I shall continue!

Okay, who cares about the smell. Because the taste is lovely. Not quiet as sweet at GM’s but smoother and mellower. More of a smoked tea than a smoky tea taste. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a pale, light flavored tea! It’s just that the smoke flavor is embedded into the tea. Like when you put a ham in the smoker for about 6 hours or more. The smoke taste isn’t overwhelming, but it’s in every square inch of taste.

Last night with the Marco Polo, the whole slurping and inhaling with the tea behind my teeth thing was really interesting so I thought I’d try it again. And holy monkeys. As soon as I stop inhaling to close my mouth and swallow, it’s like a big ole mouthful of smoke. But it’s not bad – I kind of like it! I think because it really really tastes like the smell of my dad smoking a brisket.

This one is bolder than GM’s, I think. Also, it’s not as sweet. This is much smoother than ROT’s though (which I don’t find to be overly difficult). It’s kind of a toss up for me between this one and GM’s. This one has a very true-to-life taste which I really appreciate (so for those of you that want to drink something that tastes like smoked brisket…) and an overall heartier taste. GM’s is sweeter with a good taste and a nice development but not quite as beautifully rounded in taste. I think this one might be the better tea, but I think that the added sweetness to GM’s make that one the favored tea for me personally.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Uhoh, sounds like I would hate this one even more than GM’s sampler.


Yep, I’d say so! Stay away!!!!
(Or get some and sent it all to me. Muahahaha!)


I have some of this too. This… should be interesting.


Samovar says that it is ‘exotic’ with milk so maybe a little almond milk or something in it would be happy for you. Or it might fulfill your bacon tea desires in a positive manner.


I haven’t tried it with milk yet, but I like how balanced this one is. I’m going to have to try this and the GM one side by side, I think.


I look forward to reading those reviews!


^ Lapsang Cult. Brisket + Almond Milk o.O


I’ve never had the gumption to actually buy any Lapsang Souchong. I always just smell it and, if I’m with someone, say “Hey! C’mere and smell this!”

But, if it’s in the Golden Moon sampler then I’ll be drinking it pretty soon. And Lapsang with milk? That sounds interesting. I bet it’s good, though. For some reason that combination seems like a great idea in my head.

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2036 tasting notes

Lap three. The self-talk, or more like self-prattle, that is going on right now is along the lines of “you can do it, do another one! Do Lupicia! Do American Tea Room!” While this may be appropriate while running actual laps, it seems clearly obsessive and possibly gastro-intestinal suicide when talking about a comparison tasting of a tea with this flavor profile.

The Samovar offering looks much like the Life in Teacup in color and leaf size. The dry leaves smell of smoke (quelle surprise!), more smoke than ash, but also have a salty meaty tang. Beef jerky more than bacon. It gives the impression of heartiness.

It steeps deep, dark and clear. Brandy, or maybe single malt scotch in color. It’s been so long since I had either that I can’t remember which is darker. :-P It’s the darker one.

The aroma is where it starts to get really interesting for comparison purposes. Underneath the smoke is the signature Samovar malty sweetness, with the beef jerky note roller skating figure eights through the rest of the aroma.

What an interesting flavor this is. It’s literally beefy. It’s smoky bouillon. It’s smooth smoky boullion with a sweet, almost wine-like, sugary undertone. I’m thinking of beef bourguignon now for some reason, though it really doesn’t taste that grapey. It has a very nice aftertaste. Sweet, smoky, and cooling to the mouth. It is, I’d say, full-bodied.

So now I have a dilemma. I don’t know where to rate this, comparatively. I like it quite a bit. But I also like the GM and I may have used too much water there. I’m not sure which I like better and maybe I’d like the GM better if I’d steeped it better. I have a feeling the Life in Teacup version is closer to the accepted lapsang souchong standard, just from what I’ve read about it in books. But these others are nice, too, and who says there isn’t room for interpretation. And I’ve only tasted three. I’m starting to work myself up into anxiety over this. Takes deep breath and exhales smoke. Maybe I should have a cup of tea and relax.

Final result, I’m calling it a tie with the LIT.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

“lap three” – lol


I love the part about you taking a deep breath and exhaling smoke! :))


Love these LS reviews today! I tried my first LS (which happens to be Samovar’s) this morning. So now I can get a good comparison of the differences…


Good thing you girls like LS. Now when your husbands/boyfriend take you camping, they can rest assured you’ll probably like it.


Thanks! Lori, will be interested to hear your take on this one.


you’re a baby dragon? ;)
i love the 3-lap review!


Lol, AmazonV. Cough cough… fire!


I’m so proud of you! Another brilliant (and very funny) side-by-side epic comparison :) I shall be digging through my GM sampler tomorrow morning for their LS. Thanks for the reviews!


lol to the post and comments =]


Loving the baby dragon cough cough … fire! thing! Now, I won’t be able to drink LS without that association making me smile!


Glad I could brighten a Friday, and provide some info as well. I had fun doing this and writing about it! Next stop… maybe cookies. Lol.

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557 tasting notes

Lance drank this one tonight, the liquid was thin but really dark brown and the aroma was very Smokey and smelled up the entire living room. Lance said it was one of the best out of the Lapsang Souchongs that he’s had, said it was very smooth with no astringency and was very Smokey but not as strong or bold as he prefers and that the aftertaste was like coals of an old dead campfire. He got 2 good steeps from it, I tried to get a third steep from it but it was very light brown and just tasted like Smokey water.

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371 tasting notes

I swear. Samovar and I are not meant to be. I feel like somehow our relationship is cursed.

I finally feel less frustrated about the whole took-forever botched-up order (I still need to drop off the return box). So I felt that I could try and give this tea a fair shake. I had two really pleasant cups and took the remainder of my second steep along with me in my commuter mug. I got into my car. It died. I chose to irrationally blame the tea. It is a tea of doom.

Okay, so it’s not really a tea of doom, but my eyebrow did raise and I kept looking at my cup outta the corner of my eye. When I got home from work I decided to keep steeping this tea to both 1. dispell my fear of a cursed tea, and 2. get my moneys worth outta this tea.

It’s quite a good Lapsang Souchong. It’s on the less smoky side of LSes and it does have a nice sweetness. And perhaps I still feel a bit jaded about the whole first order fiasco, but I just can’t imagine spending my money on a full tin of this. I have one more sample (as a result of the fiasco) so I’ll try it again at a future date and perhaps give it a more thorough review (and an even fairer shake). But if I have car trouble on that same day, well…doom. Doom! DOOM!!!!!

I’d rate this as a kitten purring on my “cat noises scale” for LSes. NE

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

This story reminds me of last night’s “Saving Grace” episode. Lol.


So I finally stopped off at a well-hidden UPS drop-off box on my way to work this morning (grrr) to send off the return and the blabbin’ fraggin box wouldn’t fit! I tried every possible angle. Now I need to drive out of my way to the UPS store. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Will this ever end?!?! :P

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328 tasting notes

This is a VERY SMOKY SMOKY tea and a perfect wake-me-up cup. As this tea is very intense, I added a shot of milk and some sugar to temper the smoky flavor. This is no problem for me as this is my custom for my first cup in the morning.. Without the milk, I would imagine this LS would be almost undrinkable…..On the other hand, if this were a milder LS, it wouldn’t be bold enough for the milk addition….

After reading the other reviews, Golden Moon’s LS is a milder option and one that I am interested in sampling and braving a taste milk-free…

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237 tasting notes

Looking forward to this one, since I’ve had such an interesting time tasting Samovar’s other blends featuring lapsang. The smell of the dry leaf immediately brings to mind jerky; it’s clearly on the beefy/salty end of the scale.

Once steeped up, it’s a little milder in aroma than the other Samovar lapsang blends, perhaps because it doesn’t contain any other elements to compete with the smokiness. The first sip is surprisingly mild – it’s smokey all right, but not sitting next to a campfire smokey. It’s not as savory as I would have expected, but still very tasty. I drank the first half straight up, then added cream and sugar to see where it went from there. With the additives it’s considerably quieter in personality – this is one I think I’d prefer on its own.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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158 tasting notes

Not going to rate this now. I’m going to sit down with a cup of it next to a cup of GM’s lapsang souchong a little bit later and see which comes out on top, because it has been long enough that I’m debating with myself here. Plus…I’m eating this alongside my lunch of Singapore street noodles, which is obviously a strong enough dish to make this more for my own reference than anything else.

The primary difference between this lapsang souchong and the GM version I have is that this one seems to be far more intense in the ‘ash’ or smoke portion of the flavor than the other. Once the cup was brewed, I was surprised at how light it was in color (keep in mind that I choose to brew Samovar’s blacks at two teaspoons for 16 oz. versus the tablespoon that they recommend, just because this is the amount to which I’ve become accustomed with most teas, and usually the saturation of flavor is more than enough for me). The scent was…strong. Strong enough that the smoke aspect was acrid and slightly sharp, and gave me a creeping sensation of scratchy throat. I won’t say that it was unbearable, but I didn’t find it particularly pleasant. The taste seemed to be more mild than GM’s, and less sweet. I enjoy the mildness, but I miss the sweetness.

The good news?

Adding a little bit of fat free half and half completely eliminated the very ashy, sharp-smoke quality from both the flavor and the smell, and resulted in a more mild, balanced, and extremely pleasant cup of campfire tea. It’s the perfect accompaniment to my noodles, and I’m looking forward to having it when my palate is more sensitive so that I can really explore the nuances, because I feel like the flavor of this one has some unlockable depth.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82 tasting notes

My samovar samples are dwindling down and I’ve really been avoiding this one, especially after drinking the lapsang sample from golden moon tea.

It smells super smoky. Tastes smoky as well, but it’s not that bad. It has a sort of sweetness to it, unless that’s from my sugar. There is definitely a smoky aftertaste as well. It’s definitely not a tea I like very much, but for it being smoky i think it’s pretty good :)

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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10 tasting notes

The amount of “tarry” flavor in this is incredibly over-powering. This is the first tea I’ve had where I debated not finishing it. Milk and sugar can’t help it.


Would you say that it’s really a bad tea or just not for your palette?

Chris Jennings

I was really overwhelmed by the smell and tarryness of the tea myself at first. But I stuck with it and it definitely grew on me, give it another shot. Not for everyone, has a unique taste that works for me once in while.

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16 tasting notes

No matter what sex, gender, orientation, etc., this tea will put hair on your chest! This tea could start a fire it is soo smokey and tarry. With all that said, this is an EXCELLENT tea and I highly recommend it if any of this sounds interesting to you. Be warned if you are out drinking a bunch of teas, save this one for last it is very powerful.

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