Monday, February 16, 2015

Simple Loose Leaf, Lapsang Souchong

Simple Loose Leaf Description:
Our Lapsang Souchong is a black tea smoked to perfection.  This tea is savory, smoky, slightly cool with a hint of menthol.  Look for a crisp sweet pine flavor as you are brewing this excellent black tea.

Sample provided by Simple Loose Leaf

My Review:
I received this along with four other samples in a monthly tea subscription box sent for review. I believe there is approximately 7g of tea in each pouch. That should be enough for 3 western 6 ounce cups of tea or one gong fu session in each bag. More on this later.

The sample bags are simple yet attractively labelled. They look like old recycled paper sack type material and are aluminum lined.

The leaf has a fairly strong pine smoke aroma. It just smells so much of the campfires I grew up around. I always give a positive nod to memory association.

Pouring a scoop out for review reveals fine cut lightly twisted leaf. It is darker than it appears in my picture, with lighter highlights.

I used half the sample, or about 3.5g in my press along with 10 ounces of water heated to boiling. This is pretty typical of how I normally drink my tea. The steep was 4 minutes. The recommended is between 3 and 5 minutes.

Based on the dry aroma, I expected this to fill the house with a strong smoky fragrance. It did not. Actually, the steeped scent is much milder than the dry.

Some Lapsang Souchong take on a bbq meat or bacon aroma. This one leans that way with a savory taste and yet remains steadfastly in the charred (but not ashy) pine realm.

The brew is a much lighter caramel color than I would have guessed. This one just keeps surprising me.

The sip is at first pine smoke. No surprise there. This mellows into a lighter mineral note. Then I get the cooling menthol sensation that Simple Loose Leaf mentions.

The aftertaste is sweet and smoky. I think the sweetness is what gives this the slight smoked meat leaning.

I am getting only a slight briskness. I am not sure it is really there. I believe the initial hit of smoke conjures the illusion of briskness.

There is no bitterness. The cooling sensation leaves only a slight cheek tingle.

When I first tried smoky teas this would have seemed very heavy to me. Now, I find it to be on the lighter, thinner, side of smoky. The menthol is what sets this apart from the pack.

At the beginning of this review I mentioned the monthly tea box subscription that Simple Loose Leaf manages. Per their website, here is how it works:
Each month you will receive a box of wonderful and unique loose leaf teas. Every month we make sure you have everything you need to get the perfect cup of tea brewing right out of the box! Shortly after receiving your first tea subsciption box we will email your Member ID to you. You can use your ID to get a 50% discount on all extra tea ordered at! 

Each month you receive 4-6 samples to try. You can buy more at 50% off. The cost is between $15 and $13/month depending on which subscription you choose. This Lapsang Souchong is currently listed as $5/oz regular non-subscription price.

You can find Simple Loose Leaf, Lapsang Souchong here.

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