Airy Lapsang Souchong
Nice and light version of the famous Lapsang Souchong aka Lapushan Xiaozhong aka Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. The lapsang commonly sold in the west tends to have rather strong smoky and even fishy overtones. This version of lapsang, however, is a lot more delicate on all levels. With almost no smokiness in its palette, Airy Lapsang has a rich mellow honey-like flavor characteristic of top-grade black teas.
Why we like it?
Lapsang hits markets in hundreds of versions, varying from super smoked to extra light. This particular version is on the airy side, and that is why we find it great. It was smoked only briefly with very fine pinewood, so the smoky notes stay deep in the background, allowing the awesome base tea show off all its splendor.
Souchong is traditionally plucked below the buds (4th or 5th leaves are used) so don’t expect to find any tips in this tea. Our Airy Souchong comes from the Anhui province in China. Fun fact: Winston Churchill used to drink quite a lot of Lapsang while he was smoking his favorite Cuban cigars.
Roman’s personal score: 89/100
Miha’s personal score: 88/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
Black or red?
What we know as black tea is called “red” in Chinese. In the western tradition the point of reference is the dark color of the fully oxidized leaves. Chinese, however, call this tea red because of the light brown-red color of the infusion. A thin film will appear on the tea’s surface if it is left untouched for a while. This happens because of a series of chemical reactions involving polyphenols, caffeine, amino acids, and proteins. Therefore, it is recommended that you drink your tea while it’s fresh and steaming.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time.
The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea.
Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for Lapsang Souchong
It is particularly important not to oversteep this tea, or it will taste bitter!
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2 lb)
- water: ~ 85 °C, 100-250 ml (185 F, 3-9 oz)
- time: 15-60 seconds
- brews: 6-7 times
- discard the first brew
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.