October 03 2023 – Diana L
The Smoky Elixir: Exploring Unique Lapsang Souchong Tea
In the world of loose leaf exotic tea, there's one variety that stands out for its unique flavor profile - Lapsang Souchong. This tea, also known as smoke tea, originates from the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China.
Looking to expand your palate? Souchong Lapsang is a tea that's worth exploring for the tea connoisseur and novice alike.
What is Lapsang Souchong?
Translated, the name means "smoky sub-variety", which is a fitting description for this exotic tea. It is a type of black tea that's famous for its robust and smoky flavor. The tea leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, which gives the tea its signature smoky aroma and taste.
The Unique Flavor Profile of Lapsang Souchong
The flavor profile of this tea is truly unique. The first thing you'll notice is the strong smoky aroma, which is reminiscent of a campfire or a barbecue. This is followed by a rich, full-bodied flavor that's both sweet and savory. Some people describe the taste as having notes of pine, oak, and even a hint of whiskey.
Despite its strong flavor, Lapsang Souchong is surprisingly smooth and mellow. With less astringency or bitterness than some other black teas, it is a great choice for those new to drinking tea.
The Production Process
The production of Lapsang Souchong tea is as unique as its flavor. The Wuyi Mountains provide the perfect climate and soil conditions for growing tea plants.
Traditionally, lapsang souchong tea is made in a smokehouse with multiple floors of slotted bamboo. The pine wood fire pit releases smoke up through the floors while the leaves are withered, oxidized, and dried. This infuses the unique pine smoke flavor into the leaf, enhancing the tea's natural characteristics.
Other than the infusion of smoky pine fires, lapsang souchong is processed like many black teas.
After the leaves have withered and dried, they are then pan-fired over a controlled heat source. This step helps to preserve the natural flavors and aromas of the tea while developing its unique characteristics.
The leaves are then gently rolled to release their essential oils. The leaves are rolled by hand or using specialized machines, ensuring that each leaf is treated with care. This step helps to further enhance the flavor and aroma of the tea.
Next, the leaves are spread out on bamboo baskets again and left to oxidize. This step is crucial in developing the rich, full-bodied flavor of Lapsang Souchong. The leaves are carefully monitored and turned regularly to ensure even oxidation.
In the final step, the leaves are dried one last time to halt the oxidation process. This step helps lock in the flavors and aromas, ensuring that each cup of Lapsang Souchong tea is consistent and delicious.
The entire production process of Lapsang Souchong tea requires skill, patience, and attention to detail. Each essential step helps create the unique flavor profile of this elixir.
Health Benefits of Lapsang Souchong Tea
Lapsang Souchong can have a positive impact on the mind, body, and spirit in many ways. Studies have shown it may provide health benefits such as:
- Boosting immunity - The amino acid L-theanine helps strengthen the body's defense against bacteria, and viruses.
- Improving heart health - The antioxidants help your body combat free radicals or oxidation that may cause heart disease.
- Enhancing brain function - Research shows drinking 2-3 cups of black tea daily may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Improving dental health - The polyphenols help combat the growth of decay-causing bacteria and acid production.
- Aiding in weight loss - By boosting metabolism, the body is able to burn fat more easily.
- Reducing stress - Its soothing characteristics may strengthen your mental health. L-theanine has been shown to stimulate the brain while helping maintain calmness.
- Improving skin health - The rejuvenation of skin cells is boosted by the polyphenols and tannins in tea. The catechins and flavonoids help prevent infections of the skin. Early studies are showing it may even help protect against sun damage!
- Improving digestion - Tannins are very beneficial for digestion. They help stop the growth of bacteria that can cause digestive issues, and relieve symptoms of indigestion and bloating.
How to Brew Lapsang Souchong
Brewing Lapsang Souchong is similar to brewing other black teas:
- Boil water to a temperature of about 200-212 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add one teaspoon of Lapsang Souchong tea leaves per cup of water.
- Steep the tea for 3-5 minutes - adjust to your preference
- Strain the tea leaves and serve.
For a little extra flavor, consider adding a bit of honey or a squeeze of lemon. These additions can complement the smoky and robust flavors of the tea, creating a truly delightful experience for your taste buds.
Looking to lower your caffeine intake? Lapsang Souchong tea can also be found as part of a blend so you can enjoy the smoky tea flavor without the caffeine. Our Fireside Lapsang Souchong is an herbal tea blend of honeybush tea, hazelnut, and cocoa nibs. We blend in aniseed, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel, apples and rose hips to add a little sweetness. A low level of caffeine makes this tea perfect for when you are relaxing fireside.
Culinary Uses of Lapsang Souchong Tea
Lapsang Souchong tea also has a wide range of culinary uses that can elevate your cooking to new heights.
Imagine marinating a juicy steak in a mixture of Lapsang Souchong tea, soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of honey. The smoky undertones of the tea will infuse into the meat. Create a mouthwatering flavor profile that is sure to impress your dinner guests!
Or take your veggie dishes to the next level. Add a depth of flavor by using this tea as a marinade for grilled vegetables.
Lapsang Souchong Tea Pairings
But the culinary uses of Lapsang Souchong tea don't stop there. This tea is also a fantastic ingredient for enhancing the flavors of chocolate and cheese. The smoky notes of the tea can beautifully complement the richness of dark chocolate.
Add brewed Lapsang Souchong tea into melted dark chocolate for a unique twist on your favorite chocolate desserts. Create a decadent treat that is both sophisticated and indulgent.
The smoky flavors of the tea can pair wonderfully with a variety of cheeses, from sharp cheddar to creamy brie.
Create a cheese board with your favorite cheeses and serve it with brewed Lapsang Souchong tea. The combination of flavors will be a true delight for your taste buds.
With this tea as your secret ingredient, your culinary creations will gain a touch of smoky sophistication. Experiment with different pairings and recipes. Let the robust flavors of Lapsang Souchong take your taste buds on a journey they won't soon forget.
Lapsang Souchong is a unique and exotic tea that offers a flavor experience unlike any other. Its smoky aroma, bold taste, and velvety mouthfeel make it make it a favorite among tea enthusiasts. Whether enjoyed on its own or used in cooking, this tea is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Embark on a journey to explore the fascinating flavor profile of Lapsang Souchong tea. You may discover something new!