According to some sources, Lapsang souchong is the first black tea in history, even earlier than Keemun. After the lapsang souchong tea was used for producing black tea called Min Hong (meaning "Black tea produced in Fujian"), people started to move the tea bush to different places, such as Keemun, India and Ceylon.
The story goes that the tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi Mountain. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines.
"Souchong" refers to the fourth and fifth leaves of the tea plant. These leaves are coarser than the leaves closer to the bud, and have fewer aromatic compounds. The leaves are roasted in a bamboo basket called a honglong, which is heated over burning firewood which contributes to the dried longan aroma and smoky flavour. Pinewood is used as the firewood for lapsang souchong and contains the characteristic resin aroma and taste.
Unlike other high street brands, there are no chemicals or additives in this tea, it is purely a natural flavouring obtained in the drying process.