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The Ultimate Guide to Lapsang Souchong Tea

Posted by George Butlin on

The Ultimate Guide to Lapsang Souchong Tea

Plastic Free Lapsang Souchong Tea UK


With its unique, smoky flavour and unusual history, Lapsang Souchong is a tea for the bold at heart. Evoking memories of campfires and whiskey, this one of a kind tea is a must try for every adventurous tea drinker.

So here is a guide to everything you need to know about Lapsang Souchong tea:


What is Lapsang Souchong Tea?

Lapsang Souchong is a striking tea with a smoked smell that dates back to the 17th century. The history of how this tea was founded is as unique as its taste, and over the years this traditional black tea has earned a name for itself around the world.

 Loose Leaf Tarry Lapsang Suchong from the UK Loose Leaf Tea Company

What does Lapsang Souchong taste like?

Lapsang Souchong is a black tea with distinctive smoky aroma and taste of wood-smoke and tobacco. Depending on the variety it can also have a rich taste of whiskey, pine resin, and smoked paprika. 


How to pronounce Lapsang Souchong

Although the Chinese pronunciation is different, the English pronunciation of Lapsang Souchong is “lop song soo shong”.


Where is Lapsang Souchong made?

Lapsang Souchong is a traditional Chinese tea, originated in the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian region of China.

While the Wuyi region was traditionally known for producing Oolong teas, Lapsang was first came into existence during a military conflict in the region. The farmers, fleeing the Qing army, looked for a way to speed up the process of preparing the tea leaves. They decided to dry the leaves by smoking them on pinewood fires, rather than leaving them to dry naturally. The tea leaves were then sold to Dutch traders, who, despite the distinctive taste, sold the tea on and it quickly became popular.

Nowadays, there are varieties grown in Taiwan that are known as Tarry Lapsang Souchong.

 Lapsang Souchong Tea Plantation Aerial Photo - The Uk Loose Leaf Tea Company

How is Lapsang Souchong made?

Unlike other teas, which use the first leaves of a bud, Lapsang is crafted using the larger fourth and fifth leaves on each bud, benefiting from the slightly different chemical composition of these more mature leaves.

The tea leaves are then dried in bamboo baskets above a pinewood fire, allowing the leaves to absorb the smoke during the drying process. It is the smoke treatment of the tea leaves that gives Lapsang Souchong its unique earthy fragrance.

Finally the tea is oxidised and then the tea leaves are twisted and rolled.


How to drink Lapsang Souchong Tea

How long to brew Lapsang Souchong depends on your personal preference. Between 4 to 5 minutes is the optimum time to steep Lapsang Souchong, but you can choose to brew it for anything between 1 to 5 minutes to reach your desired flavour.

To prepare a fuller flavoured tea, opt for Lapsang loose leaf tea. It is also best to steep the tea leaves in boiling water - preferably filtered or spring water - to allow the taste to diffuse.

There are many different ways to serve Lapsang Souchong tea, depending on your preferences. Whilst the black tea tastes great on its own, you can also drink it with milk, or sweeten the flavour with honey or sugar. Some people add vanilla or maple syrup to compliment the smoked flavour.

 How to brew loose leaf lapsang souchong tea

Is Lapsang Souchong Banned in Europe?

Unfortunately, many varieties of Lapsang Souchong have been banned in Europe due to concerns that Lapsang can be carcinogenic. Therefore, certain varieties of Lapsang Souchong smoked tea are now are crafted to meet with European regulations by lightly roasting the tea leaves instead of smoking them, to ensure they are safe for consumption. So the great news is, Lapsang Souchong can continue to be enjoyed by all.


Is Lapsang Souchong good for you?

The European regulations for smoked tea ensure that any Lapsang Souchong smoked tea bought in Europe can now be safely enjoyed without health risks caused by smoke.

 And beyond this, numerous studies have found health benefits linked to drinking tea regularly. As with other teas, Lapsang is rich in antioxidants, and is said to have a range of health benefits including aiding digestion and weight loss and boosting the immune system.


How much caffeine is there in Lapsang Souchong?

Another of the benefits of Lapsang is its caffeine content. Lapsang Souchong contains a moderate amount of caffeine, which helps to improve brain function and increase alertness. For those looking to cut down on their daily coffee intake, Lapsang Souchong provides a great alternative, whilst still providing the drinker with the benefits of caffeine in a lower dose.


Where can I buy Lapsang Souchong tea?

If you are looking to sample some Lapsang Souchong Loose Leaf Tea, you can order it online from the UK Loose Leaf Tea Company. If this is your first time drinking this tea, we offer a sample pack of just 25 grams. And once you have discovered a love for Lapsang Souchong, you can order in packs of 1000 grams to drink at your leisure. We also use Lapsang for our delicious smokey blends, such as our Smoky Earl Grey Organic Tea and Smoky Russian Caravan Organic Tea.

Loose Leaf Tarry Lapsang Tea

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