I came across this tea at a supermarket housed in a shopping mall on the outskirts of town.
It’s not exactly every day that you find Lapsang Souchong outside of a specialist tea shop hereabouts, and so once again my curiosity got the better of me, and into the basket it went, even though it was roughly twice the price of similar teas available at local tea shops.
Once at home I was able to do a bit more research, and from what I can gather from the company website they are a restaurant chain that like so many others nowadays are branching out into the retail business, making their stuff more widely available so that you can recreate that memorable meal you had in one of their eateries in the comfort of your very own kitchen.
I also found out that as well as the Lapsang Souchong their tea range includes Pu-erh, Gunpowder green, “Fine” Oolong, and something called (**Cough**) “Cranberry & Ginger green“.
As far as its appearance goes, the Lapsang Souchong was pretty well much where you’d expect it to be. It naturally enough had a smoky aroma, but it was more of a sweet, aromatic one, rather than the fire-gutted apartment fragrance some of the cheaper, nastier versions of this tea are sometimes all too prone to exhibit.
I decided to brew up to their recommendations, and so steeped Western style, which meant 4 teaspoons for a 400 ml capacity vessel (the tried and tested Ikea Upphetta), water at 95 degrees, and a 3 minute infusion time.
The resulting beverage was, well, OK, with a kind of minty aftertaste. The smokiness was well under control, and the body and colour were decent enough. There was nothing earth shattering or spectacular going on here, just a decent enough, solid, cup of tea.
The main beef I had was with the price for the 35 gram packet. Yes, you would get more bang for your buck at a local tea shop, but I guess here you are paying for a special brand, an “organic” overhead, and the convenience of supermarket shopping.
On the plus side it’s nice to see something other than the usual, generic, ubiquitous bagged black and green teas that one usually comes across in supermarkets on offer in such a place. Who knows, this tea might just serve as a gateway beverage into the world of better quality loose leaf teas for an inquisitive shopper, and that in itself is no bad thing at all…