Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Townshend’s Tea Company
From the same region as the smoked version, this handmade tea has a very subtle smokiness resulting from the roasting process. It carries a rich, fulfilling flavor that is less overpowering than its smoked counterpart.
Learn more about this tea here.
While recently perusing the Townshend’s Tea Co. website, I came across this tea and was instantly intrigued. I hadn’t actually planned on ordering tea from them, but, when I saw this tea … something in me jumped up and said “I HAVE TO TRY THAT!” And … I’ve got to say that is pretty weird for me to actually WANT to try a Lapsang Souchong, as it is one of my least favorite teas!
But what makes it my least favorite tea is the heavily smoked flavor (and aroma!) of the Lapsang Souchong … and since this one is “unsmoked” … well, this Lapsang Souchong was calling out to me!
And I LOVE this! There are some smoky tones to this … it isn’t completely without smoke. But, it isn’t that heavy, pine-y smoke flavor that is associated with a typical Lapsang Souchong. Instead, the smoky tones here are light and meld beautifully with the other flavors that I am just now discovering of this tea grown in the same region as the smoky Lapsang Souchong.
Luscious fruit tones and even some floral notes are in there, now not hiding behind a smoky veil, and the smoky notes marry with the fruit and floral tones to create a very harmonious taste unlike anything I have ever experienced with a tea. There is very little astringency to this, and no bitterness. It is robust and has a delicious roasted taste to it, which gives it a very hearty vigor.
One thing that this tea is missing (other than the heavy smoke!) is the deep caramel-y undertones that I usually taste with a Lapsang Souchong. I am guessing that is because of the lack of smoke, which probably “caramelized” these deliciously sweet fruity notes into a caramel-y taste. And while I love the flavor of caramel, and it was the discovery of those caramel-y undertones that started me on a path of rediscovering Lapsang Souchong and appreciating this tea a little more than I used to … I definitely prefer Lapsang Souchong without the heavy smoke and caramel.
I really, REALLY like this. A very nice alternative to the usually heavily smoked Lapsang Souchong.