This Black Tea is harvested from the deep depths of Lapsang, China. Lapsang Souchong tea has a famously smoky aroma and flavor. To create this, tea leaves are dried in bamboo baskets over pine fires, achieving a perfect balance of smoke and tea flavor. This is a full bodied tea and very popular. You will instantly either love it or hate it.
The Lapsang Souchong tea is often referred to as Russian Caravan. The name refers to the long, overland journey that tea would travel on from China to the markets in Moscow. Chests of tea would travel on camelback, often taking a year to complete the journey. Russian-bound tea was famous for the smell of the many campfires it would absorb along the way. And thus, the smoky tea varieties became associated with Russia, and often have Slavic or Russian monarchy names, like Czar Nikolai or Ekaterina.
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The method of production is as follows: The leaves are first withered over fires of pine or cypress wood. After pan-frying and rolling, they are presses into wooden barrels and covered with cloth to ferment until they give off a pleasant fragrance. The leaves are fired again and rolled into taut strips. Then they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on wooden racks over smoking pine fires to dry and absorb the smoke flavor. When finished they are thick, glossy black strips, and produce a dark red beverage with a unique aroma and taste. It is generally consumed with sugar or milk. Depending upon one’s palate the taste can be light and intriguing or it can be heavy and overpowering. Lapsang Souchong is best described as an acquired taste.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Milk and a dash of sugar help capture the complex nature of this tea, but it is also perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’.
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!
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