Today’s tea is Lapsang Souchong, and it is a China black tea from Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
Smooth and clean with a powerful smoky scent.
The original development of the tea was actually a mistake. In the mid 1600s a village in China was about to be invaded. The villagers who knew beforehand what was happening hid all things valuable, including their tea. But the tea was not done drying yet, so they quickly dried it, using burning pinewood. They then buried it in the nearby mountains. When they came back for it, it was ruined, or so they thought. They tried it and hated it, and decided to trade this “new” tea with the Dutch merchants. The Dutch loved it and returned for more to bring back to Europe. So a new tea was born that is popular to this day. Thanks to The Story of Tea for the entertaining tale. I love a little history with my tea. (Heiss, 131-132).
As soon as I open the tin I smell the smokiness. The tea leaves are twisted and almost a charred black. The leaves smell like burnt firewood, and like incense. When brewed, the tea is a red-brown color in the cup. The flavor is dark and intense with smoke, yet it is smooth and not at all bitter. While I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, I prefer the teas that have a hint of smokiness, like Peet’s Scottish Breakfast or Russian Caravan, which I will be reviewing later. An interesting side note is that this tea is recommended to go with spicy food.
You can get it here: http://www.peets.com/shop/tea_detail.asp?id=65&cid=2002