When it’s raining cats and dogs out, the sky is dark, and the lightening is bright, there is nothing quite like a latte made with a warming dessert tea. Normally, that warmth comes from a spice like cinnamon or clove but this time I decided to go a different way and picked out Bonfire Coffee by Bird and Blend Tea Co., a smokey black tea with caramel and apple.
I brewed up the tea rather strongly, steeping 4 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes. I topped the steeped tea with 8 ounces of frothed 1% milk.
The first thing I noticed when drinking the tea was the smoke from the Lapsang Souchong black tea. No surprise there given that Lapsang is always one strong tea.With that said, the milk sat atop the smokiness making for a smooth and creamy smokey flavor, as opposed to a more harsh smoke, until the end of the sip when the smoke just broke free and lingered in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is also where I most noticed the presence of a caramelized sugar/burnt caramel quality that was intermingled with the milk and Lapsang throughout the sip but came through more clearly in the aftertaste. Apple was missing in the latte but my guess it was drowned out by the more prominent flavors of the milk and the Lapsang.
It’s a nice tea but definitely not for the faint of heart. If you are not one for smoke, stay away from the Bonfire.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bird and Blend Tea Co.
Travelling tea merchants used to carry tea from east to west,all the way across Russia… well, their horses did anyway! It’s said the campfire smoke would infuse into the loose tea leaves at night creating smoked teas. Add some caramel, apple and toasted cinnamon and you get a spectacular Bonfire Night treat!
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
The Backstreet Boys have a song on an early album that went, “If you wanna get it good, girl, get yourself a bad boy.” This is pretty rich coming from the Backstreet Boys, obviously, but one cannot deny the appeal of a bad boy. Cigarettes, leather, motorcycles, hard liquor, and a devil-may-care attitude.
In my teas (and in my real life), I tend toward the “good boy”: straight or sweetly-flavored teas. But every once in a while, the bad boy winks at me — and I see, for a moment, what all the other girls are gushing about.
This lapsang souchong is a trouble-maker. It’s smoky and rich and dark and mineral. Its flavor is “natural and subtle addition that came from drying the leaves in a wok heated by pine wood. The smoke from the pine wood naturally mixed with the tea, creating a deeper and more foresty flavor that accentuated the tea’s minerality.”
If you’d like to see that drying room in action (you know you do), you should go to the listing for the tea.
Although this tea isn’t my “type,” I totally see its appeal for other people, and think that, if you want to try a rich new lapsang souchong, this might be the one for you. It’s a wild, satisfying ride.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
The earliest Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, (or Lapsang Souchong as it is commonly referred to in the West) was never deep-smoked. The smokiness was a natural and subtle addition that came from drying the leaves in a wok heated by pine wood. The smoke from the pine wood naturally mixed with the tea, creating a deeper and more foresty flavor that accentuated the tea’s minerality. The Li Family preserves this old-school aesthetic with careful application of smoke from local resinous pine. The sweet, roasted quality of the smoke processing blends with the rich flavor of the tea to yield a dark fruity flavor, and bring front and center the mineral texture of the soil of Wuyi.