Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Persimmon Tree Tea, Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong Tin
The Persimmon Tree Tea Description:
Lapsang Souchong is a perfect blend for the travel-weary and day-weary alike. The tea's organic loose leaves have been smoked over pine needles, infusing the leave with a signature smoky aroma. Lapsang Souchong will make you feel like you're drinking warmth by a cozy fire.

Sample Provided by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

My Review:
Lapsang Souchong generates a wide range of reaction from tea drinkers. Very few have a neutral response when asked what they think. Lapsang Souchong is traditionally prepared by drying the courser fourth and fifth leaves of the tea plant in a bamboo basket over a burning pinewood fire. This infuses the leaf with a sweet smoky aroma and taste.

Many teas have a much less intense smoky element to them. I recall my first exposure was a Keemun. The smoke caused me to panic and back away momentarily. With a little time I came to appreciate the taste. I later recognized how light the smoke actually was in that tea. By the time I experienced my first Lapsang Souchong I was prepared and looking forward to the experience. So count me in the group with a positive reaction.

I love The Persimmon Tree Tea's tins. They seal tight and do a great job of keeping the leaf fresh. I have a tin with just a little Lotus in the bottom that I've had for a couple years and it is just now losing some strength. So yeah, I need to drink it up soon.

Lapsang Souchong Leaf
Once I broke the seal on the lid and just cracked the top open, I immediately caught a strong fragrance of smoke. It is not like the smell of ashes. It is sweet and similar to the fragrance of a camp fire.

The leaf is very dark and intense smelling. I used the recommended temp of 195 F and steeped for about 4 minutes. This is in the middle of the 3 to 5 minute range printed on the back of the tin.

The resulting liquor is initially much lighter in color than expected as is kind of a coppery amber. As the mug cools it darkens up to a more familiar deep orange brown.

I am also surprised by the taste. It is lighter than the aroma would lead you to expect. I detect no bitterness and it does not strike me as astringent. There is a small amount of bite. I usually go easy on the time when trying a new black as I am easily prone to stomach burn from the tannins. This one caused me no grief.

The taste is not a light weight. It is smoky. It is sweet. It is also layered. By that I mean there is depth to the smoke. As you sip the smoke grows and maneuvers through layers, occasionally just reaching an ash quality then quickly pulling back into a gentle sweetness.

I have had lesser Lapsang Souchong that tasted grossly of ash tray. I have had some that were a little more refined but they cost twice as much. This is an excellent quality smoky tea at this price point and I look forward to many happy morning cups when I am craving a Lapsang Souchong.

You can find The Persimmon Tree's Lapsang Souchong here.

About The Persimmon Tree:
(From their website) The Persimmon Tree® offers our customers some of the world's finest organic teas and botanicals. Not only are most of our fresh high quality teas from around the globe hand-blended and organically grown, some of our teas are also fair trade, ensuring fair working conditions, fair wages, and a better life for tea workers from countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

At The Persimmon Tree®, our mission is simple: to enrich people's lives through the pleasure of tea.

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