Today I'd like to share the story behind my favorite tea, Lapsang Souchong. This tea has a distinctive smoky aroma and taste that people generally either love or hate. I love this tea which is smoky because the tea leaves are actually dried over smoking pinewood!
One day the villagers of Tongu in the Wuyi region of China were drying their tea leaves near the forest. During the night soldiers marched through the area and, not seeing the leaves, trampled them. When the villagers awoke they saw their tea leaves ruined. The villagers decided to try to save the leaves by drying them over an open wood fire. They then took the tea to sell, without much hope, so they sold it cheaply. Imagine their surprise when they returned to the market the following year. Instead of their regular teas, people were clamoring for their special smoked tea! Not only that, they were willing to pay more than they ever had for tea from the Tongu Village! Thus the tradition of Lapsang Souchong began.
I'd like to thank my friend, Niraj Lama, who not only introduced me to Lapsang Souchong, but told me its story as well.
The photograph is the Wuyi Mountains copied from http://silverneedleteaco.com/wuyi-mountain-china/.