What exactly is Lapsang Souchong and what makes it so unique? Lapsang Souchong is a traditional smoked tea made in the Fujian Province of China by drying a robust black tea over pine wood smoke thus imparting its famous smoky flavor. There's a fascinating story as to how this ancient tea originated...but I'll leave that for another time.
I adore iced tea and generally drink iced tea over hot, even in winter. I make my iced teas using a Salton Iced Tea Maker. Therefore I will review teas in both forms, hot and iced.
The Dry Leaf: Strong smoky scent reminiscent of a campfire in the forest.
The Wet Leaf (After Steeping): Less strong, but still very smoky and sultry.
Liquid: Gorgeous deep amber, almost chestnut red in color.
Scent: Lightly smoky, rich, warm.
Taste: Full bodied, smoky and rich. There's a slight nuttiness and a subtle soft sweetness. Yet the finish is crisp, slightly astringent, leaving you ready for your next sip! This tea brings to mind curling up inside under a blanket with a good book on a crisp fall evening or a winter's night with the snow falling outside.
Iced: Lighter in color, but still a gorgeous amber-no real trace of the red found when served hot.
Scent: The smokiness is intensified.
Taste: The juxtaposition of heat and cold is amazing. The beverage itself is cold, but the flavor is hot smoke! Imagine an icy stream yet you jump in and it's actually a hot geyser. There is a slight astringency with a hint of menthol. It's delightfully refreshing and completely surprising!
I honestly did not think that Lapsang Souchong would make a good iced tea. I happily proved myself wrong!
In short, Lapsang Souchong is a woodsy campfire for your palette.