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the metropolitan tea company lapsang souchong

January 28, 2010

Lapsang Souchong is a smoked black tea from China. This is my first experience with this variety of tea. I have been a little apprehensive about trying it. It has an overwhelming smoky fragrance, and I really couldn’t imagine what it might taste like. This is another tea from The Metropolitan Tea Company.

The aroma from the dry leaf is very intense. Wow. It’s smoky. It smells like ashes. Or a midnight bonfire. And it’s very pine-y. The smell reminds me a lot of camping, a mixture of smokiness, camping gear and pine trees. It also has this aromatic element of garage or workshop, where dad’s do whatever it is they do. It’s a masculine kind of smell. Lapsang Souchong is often touted a “man’s” tea or a masculine tea. I am definitely getting why it is sometimes referred to as such.

The cup color is  bright amber. The brewed tea has an aroma that is a little more toned down than the dry leaf. There is still a lot of smoke and pine, but a few other fragrances are pushing their way through now. There is a slightly sweet undertone, with faint floral whiffs. There is also the very apparent perfume of leather. And a  little bit of musky aroma. This cup has great body and a finish that lasts for days. It’s also quite smooth, and I really expected it not to be. Not bitter at all. The smokiness is powerful, but not in an offensive way. More like BBQ. And, I know it might sound strange, but there is a little natural sweetness, which, mixed with the campfire bouquet, is reminiscent of toasted marshmallows.

I know. Strange.

I am pleasantly surprised by the complexity I have experienced in this tea. I really expected it to be a one note tea, all smoke and nothing else. I was wrong. I love that!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    January 28, 2010 5:32 am

    Nice review, I’ve had some of this at my house for a while now, and have yet to try it. The strength of the smoky smell left me a little afraid to try it. Makes me think of drinking liquid smoke…

    After your review, I think I’ll give it a shot.


    • January 29, 2010 4:20 am

      Hey Rob!

      Thanks for reading! I was surprised to find I liked it. It’s definitely smoky, but there’s more complexity than I thought there would be! I don’t think it’s going to be my everyday tea though!


  2. January 28, 2010 9:03 am

    The 1st time I tried a Lapsang Souchong it was a little scary but I found myself actually thinking it wasn’t that bad!

    • January 29, 2010 4:23 am

      Hi Jenn!

      I was scared too! Now that I’ve gotten over that initial apprehensiveness, I am interested to try some more, and get a little more experience with LS. Not sure if I will ever LOVE it, but I appreciate what they bring to the cup!


  3. January 29, 2010 3:36 pm

    I have some samples from metro tea too, and I got LS. The little bags are very inadequate for freshness, so keep LS away from other teas in a resealable plastic bag. Other teas can take on strong odours… and LS is VERY strong, haha.

  4. January 31, 2010 6:43 am

    Thanks for the tip Erica!

    Awwww… I wish we could go tea shopping together. It’s your fault I’m so obsessed with tea anyway! Call me soon k?


  5. February 2, 2010 1:23 am

    There’s some great comments here. Lapsang Souchong (LS) was very popular in the 1980’s in the United Kingdom so the Brits have been drinking this tea for some time.

    But did you know that the original authentic LS actually had a delicate light smoke flavour that actually allowed the sweetness of the leaf to be tasted also, but over time to cope with demand, tea leaves from Anhui were used in the processing, but they didn’t have the same flavour as the Zheng mountain grown teas.

    If you don’t like the overwhelming smoked tea reviewed above, then why not explore other suppliers who might stock a less overwhelming tea? Or you could try steeping the leaves for a much shorter time.

    I agree wholeheartedly with ericawagner. It is a tea that needs to be stored away from other teas otherwise your other teas will take on the smokiness of the LS.

    It’s a tea I haven’t tasted in such a long time, so thanks for reminding me about this great China black!

    • February 2, 2010 2:15 am

      Thanks for posting May!

      I actually did like the tea, I just thought the aroma was a little over-powering. I was surprised to find a lot more complexity in the brewed tea. And I liked it!


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