Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let’s Talk About Lapsang Souchong Tea

By Kaitlin Koppenal

China is well known for many of their fantastic tasting teas, but sometimes Lapsang Souchong is overlooked by China’s well known green tea and puerh tea. Not only does Lapsang Souchong have a bold and distinct flavor, it can be used for drinking and for cooking! Adding this smoky tea as a substitute for water in many recipes gives the recipe a little added kick. For example, Lapsang Souchong can be added into pastry recipes for a subtle flavor that will be leaving your guests with a puzzling, yet pleasant taste.

What is Lapsang Souchong Tea?

Lapsang Souchong is also known as Russian Caravan Tea. This tea is most famously known for its flavor and smoky aroma. Originating from the Fujian providence of China, this name, “Souchong”, translates to “sub variety”. This is ironically is a sub variety of the other black teas found from Fujian Mountains.

Lapsang Souchong / Russian Caravan Tea?

Also known as the Russian Caravan Tea, the story is quite unique as are the flavor of this tea. The long journey the tea made from China to the markets of Moscow is where the name derives from. On the backs of camels, the tea would travel in chests, most of the time taking over a year to arrive in the markets of Moscow. Russia at this time was often known for the smokiness of their teas, due to the tea absorbing the smokiness of the campfires among Russia.
How is this tea different?

Distinctly, Lapsang Souchong is created by drying the tea leaves in bamboo baskets over pine fires. This is how the tea gives off the smoky flavor. Because of the drying process, the tea’s distinct flavor makes people either love it or hate it. I personally love this tea because of its smokiness qualities. It gives this tea a little personality compared to its other black teas.