Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea (Yan Xun Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Smoke, Wood, Ash, Cedar, Menthol, Pine, Wet Wood, Toffee, Vanilla, Earth, Scotch, Leather, Plums, Sweet, Burnt, Tar, Malt, Molasses, Peanut, Tobacco, Cream, Spices, Campfire
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by TeaVivre
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 6 g 30 oz / 888 ml

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115 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Not really ready to review this, just giving more of an update. My tea and my kettle set up were the last things I removed from office. I had two grocery sacks of tea – mostly samples. This morning...” Read full tasting note
  • “Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn’t tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, “Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that...” Read full tasting note
  • “Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample! Ya’ll know I love me some Lapsang Souchong…Amen! (left over accent from living in Texas years ago!…long story…) When I saw everyone receiving the new...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of...” Read full tasting note

From Teavivre

Origin: Wuyi Mountain, Fujian, China

Ingredients: Da Bai Hao (Pekoe)

Taste: smoked taste, mellow, sweet aftertaste

Brew: 2-3 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 194ºF (90 ºC) for 1 to 2 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: Black teas contain antioxidants, which help in the prevention of some cancers and help reduce the affects of aging that is caused by free radicals. They can also reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks due to natural chemicals that reduce cholesterol.

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115 Tasting Notes

321 tasting notes

Hello Steepster!

I need your help. I know that Lapsang Souchong is the name of this tea. I also know that a lot of people refer to it as Lapsang. I’m writing a poem about lapsang… is it okay if I refer only to it as Lapsang, or should the Souchong fit its way into the beginning somewhere? I want to be correct.


Tea! Drinking this for a poem. I was SO glad I still had a bit of the sample so generously provided by Teavivre left – I needed the inspiration!

It’s a sweet lapsang. The smoke is mostly in the smell, whereas the tea itself tastes like sweet pine tar, especially as it cools. Steeped in tasting cup – rinse, 15, 25, added a pinch more leaves and then 45, 1 min and 1 min 30. The last three steeps were combined into a travel mug because I didn’t have the time to sit. It produced a wonderfully multilayered brew.


I frequently refer to it as just Lapsang!


Excellent! I was hoping so. Thank you!


NP! The wiki article even refers to it as just Lapsang, and souchong is just a word designating the larger older leaves of the branch, as opposed to the tips, usually I think it refers to the fifth through seventh leaves.

Terri HarpLady

Michelle, I hope you’ll share your poem with us when you’re ready!
I love that the tea is your muse!

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335 tasting notes

I don’t know what I did, but this one’s on the vegetal side this morning. O.o Perhaps I understeeped it?

… Put the strainer in for another minute. There’s the smoke.

I can’t say enough times how well-made and tastefully done (HA, pun) this tea is. Just perfect.

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1220 tasting notes

Well, since there’s no way I’m drinking this, I tried cooking with it. I infused butter with some of the leaves and brushed it onto a spaghetti squash to roast. Then I added a bit more in there, and tried it that way. Couldn’t take it.

I ended up making avocado sauce too (lemon juice, garlic, avocado, salt, pepper) and that went along even better, though the raw garlic is pretty strong.

I just don’t like the smokiness. I am going to try it with meat instead, maybe spaghetti squash isn’t savory enough for me to enjoy lapsang (not that it tastes like anything anyway!). I will find a way to make the smokiness enjoyable!


I have the same feelings about all the Lapsangs I’ve tried. My alternative is either to pass it on to those who actually like the extreme smokiness or mix with vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup as a BBQ sauce. I’ve also been told that almost all is produced for export. Apparently the Chinese aren’t big fans either.


BBQ sauce sounds like a good use, I’ve seen a lot of people say they use it as a rub. I typically don’t ever make anything that requires one so that may be the way to go instead.


hah, well, maybe try mixing it with a few other teas? idk. you’ve probably already tried that.
i actually am in love with the adagio Sherlock blend right now, which has Lapsang Souchong in it. but is also mixed with Assam Melody and Oriental Spice teas. I can’t seem to get enough i like it so much!
but ya, a rub does sound yummy.


I could not handle the smokiness the first time I tried it too. I couldn’t even handle having the tea in my house, it was so strong. I’ve since learned a better way to infuse it – it does help lighten the smokiness somewhat, maybe if you infuse it this way, it will work for you when you cook? When you brew it, use a method that makes it easy to discard the first infusion … in other words, you’re going to do a “rinse” of the leaves for 15 seconds. I use my gaiwan, but, for cooking purposes this might prove to be a lot of effort since the gaiwan is small. You could also use one of those “smart brewer” type of devices, brew for 15 seconds, discard the liquid, and then brew for 2 1/2 minutes. A lot of the smokiness – especially that dusty smokiness – gets rinsed away with this method.


I’m going to try using this tea in my turkey gravy tonight since I still have my sampler pouch on me too. I will report back to see how that works.


I make a rub by grinding a little with sea salt, black peppercorn, urfa hot pepper (you can use something else). Don’t overdo the tea. I’ve added granulated brown sugar or granulated maple sugar to the rub mix and used both on chicken and fish.


I’ve thought about making the last of the sample I have of the LS and putting vanilla or raspberry syrup in it. Which might make it totally gross, but….it might not.

Terri HarpLady

Momo, I have a recipe Tea Brined 5 spice Chicken. It uses Lapsang, & it was pretty tasty, as I recall. Let me know if you want the recipe.
I’ve been thinking of cooking a pork roast in the crock pot, and using a cup of Brewed lapsang instead of water…


Or, i can send you some Oh Canada and you can mix them together and drink bacon


Hahaha bacon!! like like like!


Haha, that sounds good but I know I won’t like it. I just cannot drink this stuff!


Yeah it’s not for me either. The smell brings back some cozy memories from my childhood but it also is super offputting for me.


I like the smell of smoke from campfires, but the smokeness of this tea…..found it hard to deal with.

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1328 tasting notes

I am always up for trying a new lapsang souchong. I’m one of those people who greatly enjoys the smoked flavour and almost can’t get enough of it. Well, I say almost because I do have a certain ideal balance between the smoke note and the other notes. Many lapsangs are actually very sweet and fruity underneath the smoke, and it’s that note that I want to come out clearly as well. I want that and the smoke more or less in equal measures. That’s my Perfect LS. So of course I would choose lapsang souchong for one of my free samples with my recent order.

The first time I ever noticed that fruity sweet aspect it drove me nearly nuts for months trying to get the brewing conditions right to replicate it. I’ve got that down now. I’ve learned how to make a black tea in exactly the way that suits me best, but the first time I really thought something must have been tampering with my leaf.

Anyway, this particular lapsang smells like it has a very strong note of that fruity sweetness. There isn’t even all that much smoke in the aroma. It seems very mild. I have read that this fruity note is supposed to be reminiscent of longan fruit, but I have no idea what those are, so I couldn’t tell if I agree with that or not. To me, it’s leaning more towards stone fruits and lychee.

The flavour is indeed quite mild on the smoke. At first I almost thought it wasn’t there, but then it showed up and lingered on the aftertaste. The fruity sweetness is there as well, but at this moment the tea is still too hot for me to be able to taste anything properly

After cooling a little bit, the smoke comes forth a little more, but it’s still a very mild LS this. The fruity note is strong in this one and quite sweet. The smoke is mostly there in the aftertaste for me, but it lingers for a long time.

If you are looking to try lapsang souchong for the first time and don’t know if you will care for the smoke or not, I would definitely recommend this one as an introduction because it’s so mild. It won’t overwhelm you with smoke, so even if you find you don’t much care for the smoke, I should think you would still find this at least drinkable.

In completely other news, I’ve noticed that I tend to capitalise tea names. Like writing Keemun instead of keemun and Lapsang Souchong and so on. I’ve made an effort not to do it in this post, but am I actually supposed to do that? What do you guys do?


They aren’t proper names, so I don’t capitalize them :D I do tend to capitalize the name of a tea if I’m referencing it specifically (e.g. “Banana Oolong” by DavidsTea), but oolong as a type of tea doesn’t get such treatment.


Yeah, I would still do it with blend names too, but that’s the thing that started me wondering. I would say Keemun and Assam because they’re place names, so that was fine, but then I noticed as I wrote this post that I kept writing Lapsang, and suddenly thought, “wait, why am I doing that?” It’s not the name of a specific tea after all. I wouldn’t write Strawberry Flavoured Tea either. I wonder if it’s the teas with Chinese names that are confusing me, really. Some of them, I don’t know if part of the name is a place name or not. Seems I should try to un-learn this habit, at least when I know it’s not a place name.

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541 tasting notes

Lance tried this one with me because Lapsang is one of his favs he loves the smoky Lapsangs. Lance has had many more Lapsangs than I have and he says this is one of the better ones that he has had.
This one smells nice and smokey when dry and just as good when wet.
The smoky flavor is slightly subtle so its not very over powering but it’s remains for a few steeps, there is little to no astringency to this one which to me personally is awesome because a lot of Lance’s Lapsangs ae stringent to me. This is perfect for a person who wants to try a smoky tea but thinks that Lapsang would be too smokey, It’d Subtly and sweet and a very nice tea :)
2 or 3 good steeps with this one, and thats not bad :)

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357 tasting notes

My Dad bought this for me for Christmas as part of Teavivre’s Black tea sampler, and we tried it for the first time yesterday afternoon. It was the first time I’ve tried any Lapsang Souchong…ever. Wow is it ever smoky! I shared it with my Dad who had also never tried it before, and he said it reminded him of smoked salmon. He enjoyed it more with a touch of milk and sugar, whereas I liked it without anything added.

As I mentioned in my last tealog, I’ve been drinking nothing but honeybush for the last week or so. I’m not sure how much caffeine is in this tea, but it definitely kept me awake last night. Perhaps I’m not used to caffeine anymore. At the best of times I’m quite caffeine sensitive, so maybe it won’t affect others the way that it affected me. In the future I’ll have to be sure to only drink this one before 2pm. thankfully, today is a fairly low-key day. I’m just filling out a few forms for work, doing laundry, and a little later I’ll be going over to my Dad’s house for my step-sister’s bon voyage dinner. Her visits always seem too short :(

I do enjoy this tea, and I can see it becoming a “once in a blue moon” kind of treat that I would get in sample sizes and get really excited whenever I make it. If you’ve never tried Lapsang Souchong and you enjoy the taste of smoked foods I suggest checking it out. It strikes me as a tea that I would enjoy cooking with. hmmmm…perhaps I will peruse other tealogs…I always find great ideas from fellow Steepsterites


It’s funny after a year of occasionally having a smoky tea – this one only seemed moderately smoky. My first was a Teavivre Keemun that scared the socks off me at first and it was only lightly smoky.


KS- Wow, this is only moderately smoky!? Now I’m curious what highly smoky would taste like?
Hmmm… I think I’m going to have to try some other smoky teas now.

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1184 tasting notes

Thankyou to Angel and Teavivre for this sample
I was a little scared to try this tea, it smells very smoky. And the brew is golden amber.

The taste is suprisingly good. But really, not much from Teavivre suprises me anymore….everything is so good! I was expecting more of a burnt taste, but it is much sweeter than I thought it would be, and more delicate. I am not sure I would drink this everyday, but I think I could get used to this. I think it would be great to use in cooking.

No resteeps today, I got too busy and then it was too late in the day to drink more black tea.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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553 tasting notes

I was about ready to give up on this one until I ran across momo’s post about trying to cook with it. That inspired me to put a little kick into the turkey gravy that I was making for tonight’s dinner.

I put about half a shotglass worth of leaf in a shotglass and filled it up with water to brew. Then when it came time to add water to my pan to make my gravy, I strained the cup through a strainer and used the tea. I also used a little bit of cayanne pepper and some black pepper on the sausage because dad didn’t spice the sausage enough for my taste.

It came out pretty good! There is a different note underneath the light smokiness. I think that is the actual black tea base. It was different enough to be pleasant and went very well with the turkey sausage.

I want to make a version of this again for the whole family only instead of using a meat for the base, I want to try it with onions and mushrooms. That way I can mold the turkey sausage to look like little t-bone steaks for the family. That will surprise them.

Cooking with this tea might have saved it for now. I will have to figure out how to use it in a satisfying way.

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300 tasting notes

Forgot to log this from this weekend. Thank you to Michelle for this sample, it was on my shopping list so yay! Been awhile since I’ve had Lapsang Souchong but tis the season, happy first day of October! I only had a few sips of the first three infusions, as I poured this as an offering during a healing rite Saturday night. Between the peat moss incense and this the house was filled with lovely smokey smells.

After the ritual I indulged in a few mugs of this and it was perfect, still smokey but in a lighter, cooler, sweeter way, which is how I like it. Actually I’m not surprised this is a Wuyi. Will be coming back to this soon and will log the first infusions as I burnt my tongue on this in the kitchen trying to sneak a taste.

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368 tasting notes

Round 3 of Tea Vivre samples begin!

First, I want to acknowledge that many people were concerned about the double packaging of samples in the past and they have listened. This set arrived in individual packages which were grouped together into a single outer sealed pouch. Much less packaging but still a dedication to freshness. So thank you for that!

This is a much bolder LS than I usually drink (Upton’s Black Dragon). And since I have defended the black dragon’s refined notes in contrast to most LS, one might assume that I would therefore be less interested in this leaf.

But as it turns out, this leaf has a lot going for it. There is no sharpness here, in spite of the bold flavors. There is also no “meatiness” which is my primary opposition to most LS with bold smoke.

While I don’t think this would replace black dragon as my “daily drinker” I do think it may be replace black dragon in my “jim john’s blend” trio of teas.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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