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
Not available
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

250 tasting notes

A big shout out to Teavivre for the free sample of this tea!

It’s been several years since I last had a Lapsang Souchong, and it’s actually better than I remember. I used about 5 grams, and steeped it in 205 degree water for about a minute (I was being a bit conservative). The first impression you get of the tea is aroma: It’s pleasantly smokey, but overwhelmingly so. The tea is also a lot sweeter than I remember, and was really the perfect way to start my morning.

205 °F / 96 °C

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1060 tasting notes

Thank you Angel of Teavivre for this sample.

I admit I was wary to try this tea. It is one of those teas that people either love or hate, and I wasn’t sure where I’d fall in the mix. Turns out I am a fan. There is a wonderful smokiness that is present in smell and taste, but it does not dominate the tea. There are also sweet notes (honey maybe?) and hints of fruit. Wow, this it’s really good!

This is the fourth Teavivre sample I’ve tried, and I can see myself purchasing each one. I can’t say this makes me sad. :)

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123 tasting notes

Let me start by saying Lapsang Souchong was my first experience with loose tea and it quickly became my favorite. I felt like I was drinking the whiskey of tea, it seemed to me the most masculine tea you could possibly drink (my friends would disagree with me). Over the last few years though I’ve been trying every new tea I can get my hands on and I haven’t had a lapsang souchong in about three years, which is a total crime.

First off the leaves are great quality with nice golden tips and there is a wonderful smokey smell that isn’t overpowering. Upon first taste I remember why I drank this tea so much in high school. This particular Lapsang blends the perfect amount of smoke with the high quality black tea, which lends it a slight dark chocolate taste. I’ve had a lot of Lapsang Souchong and most are smoked so heavily you feel like a 6am fireplace at the end of the cup but this tea is different. The smoke plays upon your tongue for a little bit but it doesn’t coat your mouth in a nasty ashy taste. A really wonderful tea and the perfect way to end the day.

Also want to add that this came in my gigantic sampler bag from Teavivre, thanks again!


Love this review. The whiskey of teas :)

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326 tasting notes

Today I received my Teavivre order (yes this is a paid purchase) and I couldn’t wait to tear into their Lapsang Souchong pouch! This type was the first loose leaf tea that got me into the world of tea. So perhaps my expectations for each new encounter are a bit high.

Sniffing inside the bag, the dry leaves smell very smoky.

At this point I wasn’t sure how to prepare the tea, but I thought that if the smoke was too powerful I should short steep it.

So I scooped out 2 tsp of leaves and put it in my gaiwan, then adding the hot water at the suggested 90 c. temperature. Sniffing the tea liquor as it brewed, the scent of smoke is still pretty powerful.

However my fears were washed away when I took my first sip. It’s woodsy, slightly smoky, earthy, very slightly sweet and has a velvety mouth feel. The aftertaste is lighter version of the aroma with the addition of cocoa notes, it’s also not tarry in anyway.

Second steep felt really good in my mouth. The tea leaves are not fuzzy, but still there is a velvety texture that fills mouth. I’m also getting more sweet/cocoa notes in the second cup.

Third steep still tastes great and isn’t bland. Getting more of the smoky aroma now, and less sweet flavours. I could keep steeping but I’m done drinking smoke for now. (Just getting the feeling that if I stretch out the resteeps it might rub me the wrong way.)

I am always a bit worried when I try a new Lapsang Souchong tea. Either they’re good, amazing, or emotionally scarring. ;)
This LS from Teavivre is pretty good, but you’ll either love or hate this type of tea. Even the best LS I’ve tried won’t please everyone because of the smoky aroma. So for anyone wanting to try LS for the first time I recommend a sample size. And as a tip, if you don’t like LS western style… please try it short steeped! I am a big fan of short steeping all black teas, and I feel that this type of tea can benefit from it greatly.

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 3 steeps (rinse, 30s, 45s, 1m)
I will try this western style sometime in the future, maybe at work.

195 °F / 90 °C

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222 tasting notes

Thanks to the Teavivre gang, especially Angel, for these samples.

When I got up today, (Got up really late.) I wanted to start on the tea tasting of the samples I got yesterday. I was most curious about the Lapsang Souchong so that is what I picked.

Dry smell: strongly smokey, not unappealing, but not appealing either.
Wet smell: more or less the same…though the smell reminded me a little bit of hay.
1st taste: Like many Americans, my palate has been affected by the high content of sugar, but I did try a few sips without putting any in, didn’t want to make it to much of a sacrilege. Alas…I knew by the 3rd sip that if I was to be able to finish the cup I would have to add some sweetener, so I added Apriva, (Kroger version, kind of like Splenda.) I ended up having to add ALOT. Which I really winced over, and still wincing as I am writing this. Wincing because I wanted to enjoy this without having to add anything to it.
Even with the sweetener however….can’t say I really like it. sad face this is NOT reflected on Teavivre, but rather on me and my palate. Hopefully this will be the only tea that I dislike from the group.

I will pretty much be reviewing only 1 a day, as I do not want to complicate the taste test with other teas. And hopefully when I get up each day, so that would be the only taste fresh in my mouth.


Don’t feel too bad. Lapsang isn’t for everyone. The smokiness is just too much for me too.

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111 tasting notes

Got this as one of my samples from my first Teavivre order! :D

Well this is my first lapsang souchong. I felt it was a type of tea I ought to try, but so far I’m not terribly sure if I like it! I always thought of myself as someone who liked a smoky taste, but yeah… wow. Heh. One thing I can tell you though, is that it tastes like the old campfires from days dearly missed with the family on camping trips from my childhood.

In the sense of the nostalgia, I love it dearly, as it brings back so many memories. If I close my eyes, I can almost swear I’m in front of a nighttime campfire at Christina Lake. It doesn’t taste entirely like smoke, I definitely can taste the wood they used in the fire. I feel like this would be best drunk outside in the fresh air with the birds chirping. I think I might wander outside with this in fact.

All that said though, while I’m happy to go down a trip on memory lane, I think I’d rather think about my camping memories than drink them. I’m happy I tried this, as I really felt like this was something I should try as a black tea lover.

EDIT: yeah, not loving it. Made it halfway through the cup and just tossed it. xD; Definitely glad it was a sample, and still happy that I finally tried a lapsang souchong for the first time.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Haha. I’m named after Christina Lake! But the nurse spelled my name wrong. :) I feel the same way about lapsang souchong. For me, they’re a tea for sniffing or cooking with.


No kidding? Haha, that’s cool! Well it’s a beautiful lake and area to be named after, that’s for sure. It’s my happy place, full of good memories.

Well it was sort of enjoyable for a few sips, but after that I was done. Definitely loved the smell too though.

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871 tasting notes

Lapsang souchong is one of my favourite kinds of black tea.

First off, I wanted to start by saying Teavivre packaging is super awesome. The scent of this tea did not permeate through any of the packaging. I could only smell it once I opened the package. This was nice since I had a lot of other teas in the packaging, and they were not sullied by the scent of the smokey lapsang.

On first opening of the package, there is a smokey scent. It is not terribly strong, but it is very distinct. It brews dark brown-red colour. The liquor is thick feeling.

To me, this is a very light tasting lapsang. There is a light smokey pine taste. There is a sweet after taste. The smokiness lingers a little in the aftertaste, but mellows into a sweetness.

I prefer to have a stronger lapsang, but this is still a good one. I think this would be a good lapsang for anyone that wants to try it but is scared of the smokey flavour.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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141 tasting notes

Thank you TeaVivre for the sample!

Smokey teas scare me still, so I dove into this sample with hesitation. It’s also blazing hot outside, but this tea was still enjoyable. 2 western steeps later and I’m liking this tea, although it really is burning me up drinking all this hot liquid. I really didn’t want to let this cool for fear of it being gross ;) It’s probably an unfounded fear anyway. This is a great lightly smokey, sweet and bold black tea. I’m going to save the rest of my sample for cooler weather!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I was terrified of Lapsang and sniffed it in the store for about six months before getting bold enough to try it. I like it, but what shocked me was that my youngest daughter liked it immediately. I keep a few smoky teas on hand just for her!

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464 tasting notes

Although I like this one better than the lapsang souchong I got from Della Terra Teas, I’m starting to think that smoky teas are not my thing. In comparison the DTT Lapsang this one is more subtle about the smokiness and there is a silky sweetness that was missing in the other. There is no bitter burnt aftertaste either.

It probably doesn’t help my opinion of smoky teas that I associate the taste with the last time I had the stomach flu-I threw up a whole bunch of smoky bbq ribs. Well at least I tried another smoky tea and could taste that it was higher quality even if it’s not my favorite.

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64 tasting notes

I am a huge fan of this tea’s liquor. When using my gaiwan, as soon as an infusion is poured out, the liquor is a bright, vibrant red. Yet, intriguingly this tea oxidizes extremely quickly. If looked upon for fifteen to twenty seconds or so after the pour, the liquor darkens and fades into a more ruddy brown-red coloration. The transition is quite striking and has a color range that is much broader than most other hongcha I am familiar with.

Otherwise, I am also a fan of the aggressiveness this tea brings out in the flavor. It is both expected and consistent throughout steeps and reminds me of the ol’ Zhu Rong of Verdant Tea, but with smoke instead of spice. It provides a robustness that requires a certain mood from the drinker, when something brisk and perhaps a bit rude is desired. But it’s not a complete brute. The flavor transitions into a mouthfeel is nice and savory, with a salty feeling in the aftertaste.

My main complaint is that the leaves are far too potent and abrasive to enjoy their aroma properly. In this case, the smoke is exponentially more powerful than the leaves themselves, creating an imbalance. However, if I remember correctly, this tea was surprisingly lasting across multiple steeps, without a major loss of smokiness in the later steeps. I believe up to eight was common.

I had a few sessions of this Western style, but concluded that I preferred it much more in a gaiwan.


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