An Overview of Lapsang Souchon
Lapsangs comes from The Wuyi Mountains (WuyiShan) in the northeastern part of Fujian Province. The finished tea is given some extra drying over smoking pine fire, imparting a sweet, clean smoky flavor to the tea. Lapsang Souchon has a unique jerky-like aroma and a toasty flavor. It can be an acquired taste and tends to polarize tea drinkers who either love it or hate it.
Side note: Lapsangs make an amazing hot toddy.
The Legend of Lapsang Souchon
According to SeriousEats.com, the smokey tea process originated in the Qing Dynasty, when a troop of soldiers passed through a village on their journey, lodging for the night in a tea factory. The inconvenience of their unexpected guests slowed down the tea they were processing—meaning that unless they sped the process somehow, it would not get to market in time to sell. They lit fires of pine to rush the tea along, and in turn infused the leaves with the distinctive smokiness that makes this tea so unusual.
Steeping Lapsang Souchon
Steeping Lapsang Souchon is easy. Simply heat spring or filtered water to a rolling boil. Then pour water over tea and steep for 2-3 minutes if using a tea bag or full-leaf. (Can be very bitter if over steeped)
Loose tea can provide 2+ steeps.
Health Benefits of Lapsang Souchon
Lapsangs may help to increase blood flow while reducing the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream. This combined with natural antioxidant activity keeps cholesterol from oxidizing and sticking to blood vessel walls, leading to a healthier cardiovascular system. Black tea also contains high amounts of theanine, an amino acid which may have a calming effect on the body. Since stress can also cause cardiovascular problems over time, it may be beneficial to drink Souchong tea to relax and unwind.