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Lapsang Souchong Tea

July 26, 2016

My parents were from Ireland and introduced me to black tea as a wee child. Well not really black tea – they sweetened and lightened it with a generous portion of cream (half & half) and sugar.  As a “rebellious” teenager I switched to coffee.

As a coffee drinker I evolved toward dark strong coffee with a bitter edge (espresso and French Roast for example).  The older I have gotten the more I have appreciated bold flavors like Isly Scotch, IPA and sour beers, blue cheese, etc.

A few years ago I got reintroduced to tea through my wife’s interest in herbal teas and chai. I started experimenting with black teas and stumbled across Pu-erh or Pu’er.

Pu’er is a fermented and aged dark tea produced in Yunnan province, China, and named after Pu’er City. It has a unique flavor – or as my wife says it smells and tastes like a barn. I fell in love with it. It is strongly caffeinated and to me that barn taste is earthy – I like to think of it as the espresso of teas.

I recently heard a podcast, featuring the great essayist Malcolm Gladwell where he mentioned his love of lapsang souchong tea. He (or the podcast’s host Tim Ferriss) described it as comparable to the flavor Isly Scotch. That is all I needed.

Today I stopped by La Société du Thé in Uptown Minneapolis to pick up a batch. After a few errands I got home and brewed up a cup. The taste was definitely black tea, but as Gladwell suggested, it had that smokey peaty taste of Isly Scotch. In addition, It had that head clearing effect of menthol – it is not menthol in taste or smell – just that kind of effervescence. As it cooled the basic taste morphed into subtle variations like a good beer warming. This will be a definitive competition for my daily caffeine fix. Mr Gladwell and Mr. Ferris thanks for the tip.

Per Wikipedia Lapsang  Souchong is distinct from all other types of tea because lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, taking on a distinctive smoky flavour.

  1. Ill give it a try. CB is a tea guy.

    • You are catching up. Only a year behind. I will need to pick up my game to stay ahead. A year later – I still love the lapsang souchong.

      • I just peeked at Oct 2016 and the Springsteen stuff so I’ll save it for later. Movie night tonight. It’s been a good ride on your site. I’ve got so much good new music to listen too More good stuff to come with a cup of tea.

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