There are two kinds of wood you need for a good fire in a wood-stove, soft wood,like cedar to get the fire going, and hard wood, like oak for the fire to last a long time.
When I lived in the Sierra Mountain town of Paradise, one of the 6 girls that lived in my house was Susan. Her father was a tree feller. (That’s what you call them) Tree felling is a dangerous job, and when he wasn’t felling trees, he was drinking, so Susan stayed with me and her dad paid for her room and board with firewood. We had wood all Winter cut and stacked with bundled kindling. During power outages, we had heat! Cedar and Oak!
Compared with the 5000 foot altitude I live at now, 2000 feet doesn’t seem like much of a mountain, but where I live now is flat and dry. Paradise was mountain forest with tall pine and oak.
In the Fall and Winter, the smell of smoke from many wood fires was delicious wafting through the trees.
I absolutely LOVE the smell of a damp forest and wood smoke!
I LOVE the smell of the smoke early in the morning on a sunny, cold day holding a cup of hot tea in my hands, wrapped in a blanket while sitting on the back porch warm and happy.
Smoke means BBQ and 4th of July (the dumb little houses that smoke and do nothing else, remember them? And punks…those things that come with sparklers?).
So many people have memories of camping or hiking with friends when they drink a smoky tea. My grandkids call Lapsang Souchong ‘Memory Tea’.
This tea is NOT a Souchong! Souchong means: A tea made from the larger older leaves of the shoot. A lower grade of tea leaf.
This smoked tea is a high grade Oolong. Something Very Special!
I had a sampling of this tea before, so I took some of my tea to share with friends who I knew were NOT fond of roasted Oolongs but DID like traditional Lapsang Souchong. What would they think?
Joe prepared the tea according to the Verdant instructions, short 5 second steeps in a Gaiwan.
The flavor was lightly smoky, smooth and sweet. We had some trouble tasting further nuances in the tea with such short steeps so we decided to throw caution to the wind and do a 3 minute steep.
This was more like it we agreed! Longer Steep wins!
Sweet and silky smooth, but with whisper light smokiness.
The honey caramel Oolong base created a fat oozy syrup that coated the inside of my mouth…moving slowly from the back to the front.
I was toying with the idea of fruitiness but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Maybe Fuji Persimmon. I don’t know, not sure.
I drank some more of this tea this morning, and took a picture. It was a time to reflect alone on wood fires and my life in Paradise. Time there with family and the 6 girls who came to me in High School and are now 40 year old women (including my daughter).
My parents, and grandmother are buried in that town.
You don’t have to be hit over the head with strong smokiness to have sweet memories, and this tea has given me all the gentle beauty I could desire.
I suppose that I’m like an old teapot that needs good tea to keep it well seasoned.
I’ve said this before, I hope this tea (or one like) it becomes available permanently.