Friday, July 24, 2015

Little Red Cup Tea, Lapsang Souchong

Little Red Cup Description:
Our Lapsang Souchong (Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, 正山小种) is amazing. We know, that’s a bold statement, and some will disagree. But Lapsang Souchong is a love it or hate it proposition, and we’ve given our hearts to this tea. This is one of our strongest teas, think bridge abutments or skyscraper foundations. This is our most pungent tea — we send it to you in a ziplock bag in addition to our regular packaging.

The black tea is redolent three distinct flavors at once — the black tea base, a hint of longyan (Dragon Eye, a Chinese tree fruit similar to lychee) and the pinewood smoke which is the tea’s most defining element.

Sample provided by Little Red Cup Tea Company

My Review:
I have a box of teas yet to sample from several companies, but when I opened the package from Little Red Cup Tea Co., I was pretty sure I would move this one to the front of the line. I have been craving a cup of lapsang souchong for weeks. It has been really hot here for just as many weeks. Until now. The heat broke and this morning is was a wonderful chilly 60 F on my porch. So right to the front of the line it goes.

At the top is a picture of the tin you get if you order 2.75 oz. I received a sample size in this resealable pouch. It came wrapped inside a ziplock bag to reduce the risk of cross contamination. Lapsang Souchong (LS from here on) is quite potent, so I appreciate the precaution. I could not catch any scent when opening the box - or the ziplock bag.

Once the sample pouch was opened my room was filled with a wonderful sweet pine smoke scent. I always put my used leaf in a compost bowl. That assures me a smoke scented room for days. Love it.

I understand LS is a love it or hate it tea. I used to be scared of it myself. As my tastes grew, I learned to appreciate and love it. Oh, I just read the company description - bridge abutments! Pretty much true.

Removing a scoop of leaf for pictures and steeping, shows this to be a good looking black tea. There a plenty of gold tips and lightly twisted broken leaf.

The scent is sweet but not like bacon as some LS tend to be. It definitely says campfire, especially if you get too close.

Into the pot it goes along with boiling water for a 4 minute steep.

After pouring and removing the lid of the press to release the heat and the aroma, the senses are flooded with smoke. For a moment I think it might be too much. Never fear the cup is a little different.

The brew color is close to what I see in the picture on my computer but in reality it has a deeper color with dark cherry tints.

Obviously, the primary tasting note is going to be that smoke. If you enjoy LS then you will find this sweet and not as heavily smoked as one would expect. If you hate LS then you probably aren't reading this anyway. The smoke at the front of the sip feels like it is rising above liquid. The sip has a slight peppery spice taste and feel. At the same time it feels smooth and mineral. This may be what Little Red Cup calls a hint of longyan. I am not familiar with its taste. At the end of the sip the smoke moves in to fill the taste buds. The aftertaste lingers quite long of smoke and pepper.

This could not have arrived on my doorstep at a better time. My craving has been well satisfied - for today. It is supposed to head back into the 90's starting tomorrow. I guess that means I'll be looking forward to the next cool morning so I can break this one out once again.

You can find Little Red Cup Tea, Lapsang Souchong here.


  1. Well, I need to get this, I have been also craving some of the campfire goodness and hunting a good one!

  2. Do you want to buy lapsang souchong loose tea in Canada? Then visit Teamatica.