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smoky black tea

2017 Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Verdant Tea. . .

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
Description

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lapsang Souchong from Twinings. . .

Chapters & Cups – The City of Brass’s Perfect Tea

Welcome my dear readers to a new segment exclusive to Sororitea Sisters! Here I will discuss my latest reads and what tea goes perfectly with the said read. I welcome your comments about new reads I should look into, what tea you would also think goes well with the read, or anything else you would like to add!

.Within the past few months, I have become the proud owner of S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel, The City of Brass. To give you a little bit about this book before I get started, this book focuses on a young Egyptian woman who lives in poverty and to make ends meet she uses her impressively deft hands and the mysterious ability that allows her to heal the sick. Now since this is set in the 18th century her abilities mark her as unholy but regardless she is still called on by the population of Cairo to heal their ailments. While doing this she foolishly summons a several centuries old Daeva warrior that quickly pulls her into the world of Daevabad that is unseen to the human eye full of ancient magic and dangerously confusing court politics.

To say the least, I devoured this book and now I have to wait until 2019 for the next installment. And while this book is commonly referred to as a young adult because the protagonist goes on a journey of self-realization I think it will be more apt to call this an adult novel because of some of the themes in this book. There are violent and sexual themes but it is not to the level that the Game of Thrones series is. I would say that this would be good for someone who is 18 and up.

Now the tea that I believe that is the perfect companion is Lapsang Souchong. More specifically Twinings Lapsang Souchong but I am sure that any other tea brands will do. I think this tea is a perfect companion for this read for it is as rich and smoky as the mood is that Chakraborty crafts. From the smoky djinn and daeva to the richness of the history and the populace of Daevabad. Also not to mention there is a part where a certain magical tea is described and it reminded me instantly of Lapsang Souchong.

As you can probably guess reader, I give this book 10/10 cups of tea. This book is perfect for any fantasy lover that enjoys traveling to a new world inside of our familiar world. The protagonist is strong and clever and the cast of characters that are presented in the book are fully fleshed out and are memorable.

See you for the next read!

Kara


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Twinings
Description

Lapsang Souchong, also referred to as smoked tea, is one of the worlds’ oldest and most distinctive black teas. The tea is grown in the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China and is made by only a select number of estates. Once a very secretive process, Lapsang Souchong is prepared using the same manual techniques today that have been passed down from generation to generation.

After the tea is plucked, the leaves are withered over cypress or pine wood fires. They are later placed into barrels so that the smoky aroma intensifies. As a final step, the leaves are placed into flat wicker baskets and positioned on bamboo trays over smoky pine fires, where they dry and absorb even more aroma. The finished tea leaves are thick and black and when steeped in hot water, produce a rich tea with a unique, smoky taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Whisky Barrel Wood Smoked Black Tea from Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden (Yunomi). . ..

The tea of the moment at Sororitea Sisters is Whisky Barrel Wood Smoked Black Tea from Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden – available from Yunomi! I know the wordage seems like a mouth-full but wait until you EXPERIENCE this tea!

A little background on this unique Whisky Barrel Wood Smoked Black Tea from Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden…it’s a loose leaf black tea from the Shimada, Shizuoka, Japan region. The black leaves are smoked using wood from Japanese Whisky Barrels.

This tea is a Silver Medal Winner of the 2014 International Tea Tasting Competition. I can totally see and TASTE why this was a winner! This tea fascinates me! A lot of effort and hard work went into this one! Special nod to Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden as it is a family business, farm, and tea factory!

This is highly scented because of the whisky barrels used. It’s reminiscent of a Lapsang Souchong but it doesn’t leave the same aftertaste as many (or most) LS’s do! It leaves a sweeter, more pleasant lingering flavor and subtle hints of citrus, even!

I don’t know if it’s because I have been binge watching American Pickers or because I live in an area that has a sizable Amish population but I can’t help but think of a wooden barn on a damp, wet, rainy day. Regardless this tea awakens ALL of the senses! It forces you to pause and think. It’s a great way to take a short break from your busy day! This is a VERY MEMORABLE tea!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Yunomi
Description

Silver Medal Winner of the 2014 International Tea Tasting Competition, Matsumoto-san smokes his black tea using the wood from Japanese whisky barrels. No flavorings or additives used.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sherlock Holmes Inspired Tea from First Edition Tea Co.

Sherlock Holmes is certainly a classic literary character. There are various renditions of him on the market and everyone has their own favorite. My personal favorite is the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock. Though, regardless of which Sherlock you know and like, we can all agree that he is a bit of a jerk. Brilliant and has his soft spots, but “rough around the edges” is a bit of an understatement when it comes to this classic character.

With that in mind, I would say Mr. Holmes and a Smokey English Breakfast seem like a fitting pairing. Rough around the edges with a hint of sweet, and it doesn’t hurt that the base is traditionally English. Plus, among other things, the lapsang can invoke memories of the character’s well-known smoking habit.

Just like Mr. Holmes and his personality, smokiness in tea is a harsh and polarizing flavor component. It can be off-putting for some but when done right, as it is here, it creates an interesting scent and flavor, like a campfire. It is a bit like tobacco in taste but not bitter in the slightest. There is also a sweetness here though, like a hint of honey that compliments the smoke quite nicely. It’s subtle but it’s there and it keeps this tea from being one-note, and though I don’t personally sweeten my teas, I could see this taking sweetener quite nicely.

As far as smokey teas go, this is a nice take on a classic and in my mind, it is quite well suited to the literary masterpiece that inspired it.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  First Edition Tea Co.
Description

A mysterious blend of traditional English Breakfast tea packed with plenty of pipe smoke, a hint of bergamot, nettle, and a surprising touch of honey sweetness. Perfect for sipping while lost in your mind palace. It’s elementary.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!