China Lapsang Souchong No. 581

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Black Tea
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  • “Yesterday when I was in Raleigh, I stopped at Cameron Village to visit Tin Roof Teas and Penzey’s. Normally you have to buy tea in bags of 100 grams, 250 grams, and I think there is one larger...” Read full tasting note

From Tin Roof Teas

Legend has it that this intense, smoky black tea from Fujian Province was the result of an accidental drying of the leaves in haste over pine fires.  The rejected tea eventually ended up being traded to the Dutch, who sang its praises and requested more.  Thus, this unforgettably pungent, smooth tea came into worldwide admiration.

Preparation:  3 grams tea leaves (1 heaping teaspoon) per 8 oz. of filtered, boiling water.  Allow to brew 2 minutes.

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2 Tasting Notes

2271 tasting notes

Yesterday when I was in Raleigh, I stopped at Cameron Village to visit Tin Roof Teas and Penzey’s. Normally you have to buy tea in bags of 100 grams, 250 grams, and I think there is one larger size but I don’t remember how big it is. If you go in to the store or call, you can get 50 gram bags of tea as long as you buy four of them. They call it a sampler pack and they have some already put together, or you can choose your teas yourself.

I picked up a sample of this Lapsang as one of my choices so youngest could see how she liked it. Her first reaction when she smelled it was, “Smells like smoky fun!” She liked it a lot, but she said she thinks she may like Upton’s Black Dragon a little better. She feels – and I agree – that this one has more smoky aftertaste than Black Dragon. If you like smoky aftertaste, this is your better choice.

The aroma of the dry leaves had almost a minty note, something bright and exotic. I realized it was reminding me of the incense that Bonnie sent us, and of the Happy Lucky Lapsang. That makes perfect sense if these teas are smoked over resinous pine knots, as the incense is resinous, too. Now the flavor profiles make so much more sense to me, and it explains the vast difference in taste when you get tea that is smoked with wood, not knots.

While I was there, the owner told me to be careful of where I buy my Lapsangs as some companies are now adding what is essentially Liquid Smoke and not “smoking” the tea at all.

Youngest says she wants to have a taste test side by side between this one and Black Dragon soon. I am all for it! Both are good teas.


Eek, Liquid Smoke! Eek! did the owner offer any clues for determining whether the smoke flavor was an additive? I think I’d recognize the fake taste because my sister loves to put the stuff on pan-broiled meat (which, yuck!) but unless it’s very strong in the tea I’m not sure.


I should have asked, Barb! Next time I am there I will try to remember. Maybe clues can be found in the distributor’s description of the tea, as they usually specify what kind of wood the tea is smoked over. If it doesn’t tell, I expect it would be a safe bet that it is flavored rather than actually smoked.


Scary thought! Your daughters comment was cute!! :)


Ruth, excellent suggestion about looking for the kind of wood. Even though I suspect it will rule out my old standby Taylor’s of Harrowgate. :(


Azzrian: she really is a hoot!

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