After de-enzyming, the fresh tea leaves of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang Souchong) will be smoked with pine wood. For this special manufacture, tea leaves after smoking will present the color of dark brown, and the soup will be bright deep red.
Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang Souchong) used pine wood or pine charcoal from Tongmu kuan in Wuyi mountain as materials, which has a long history about 400 years. This tea has a strong smoky and pine smell for someone who likes strong flavor.
Sample provided by TeaVivre for review.
I specifically requested this sample from TeaVivre. I remember when I received some of my first samples from them a little over a year ago and one of them was a Keemun. At the time I thought it was extremely smoky. It took my sipping a few cups of it to learn to appreciate it. This Lapsang Souchong is even more smoked than the Keemun.
Opening the sample reveals pine smoke. In my days of inexpensive bag tea, smoke generally meant ashes at best, and more commonly ashtrays. That is not at all the experience with this tea. The scent of the smoke is aromatic ans strong but not overwhelming. It is sweet and kind of reminds me of bacon.
The leaf is rather long for a black tea and is thin and twisted. It is dark but has some lighter brown buds in the mix. I used half the sample or about 3g in my press. The water was just below boiling. The steep time was just over 2 minutes. The resulting brew is dark golden in color, looking more burgundy tinted in the mug.
This smells incredibly smoky in the press yet is much less aggressive in the cup. The smoke does not mask the tea base. The base is fruity. There is no bitterness. There is another element to the base I don’t know how to describe. It is kind of earthy wood or nut. Very pleasant.
Not everyone will like every tea but it is funny how tastes change. I used to drink mainly flavored teas in tea bag form. I would not have liked this just a couple years ago. Now that my fear of smoky tea has been conquered – this is really quite good.
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