I had been saving this Lapsang Souchong for a peaceful moment to myself, and it dubbed my first tea session of 2021. I am glad I kept it for a more special moment because this tea was *spoiler alert* intoxicating. This tea is from Shifting Senses (and Xiang Tu Cha Shuo). I have been incredibly impressed by their tea quality in the previous tea that I tried from them, Duck Shit Oolong. So, I held the same high expectation for this tea, and here are my thoughts.
I all but tore the plastic covering and top off of this tea to get a glimpse of the aroma, and I was not disappointed in the least. Right away, I picked up on smoky, mesquite notes that just embraced my nose. It might have been my empty stomach, but honestly. this entire tea session really just made me crave brisket or some other hearty meat. After awakening the leaves, I picked up on the smoky notes as well as some woody notes from the lid. Needless to say, my love for smoky teas really just hyped up this entire experience for me, my nerve endings felt on edge in anticipation and I could feel my excitement build-up as I continued to prep my teaware and start the process.
The color of the tea was a lovely orange-golden color, with slight reddish tones coming later as my brews continued. The first note I had written down was that this tea was just warm. It tasted warm (that may sound ridiculous but completely true). In fact, it was extremely warming and almost expansive throughout my body, but it held this delicate nature to it. The smokiness that I had expected at the forefront was actually more of an afterthought and subtly crept into my senses at the end of each sip. Such a delicate balance of mouth and body feel, as well as taste. Each sip brought slightly different notes to the surface, a notable one being a subtle sweetness. I also swore that I started tasting cinnamon or saffron-like notes in the tea, which all congregated on the back of my tongue.
I really savored each sip of this tea. It was incredibly smooth and had mellow characteristics to it. Well, with the exception being the dynamic aroma which stayed fairly constant throughout my session. It did not really jump in your face as some other Lapsang Souchong tea I have consumed, which really spoke about its high quality, in my opinion. There was a full feeling that this tea brought me, with the aromatic features and subtle notes of it. It made an incredible experience which I fully enjoyed.
Price: For 5 grams of loose leaf tea, the price is $19. Again, this tea is a bit on the pricier side. I still think that the quality made this tea in a different category and I cannot help but again feel quite lucky to have tried this tea.
Packaging: The tea came in a tin canister, with a thick label (I do not know why I was so infatuated with the thicker paper that made up the label, but it just felt really nice in the hands and added to the experience). This is the best way to store your tea, and it came wrapped in a plastic to ensure freshness.
Sourcing: This tea has great sourcing information, one of the reasons being the relationship they have with Xiang Tu Cha Shuo. This tea was sourced from Tong Mu Guan, Wuyishan in China and is from the 2019 harvest.
Lapsang Souchong is one of those teas that are quite hit or miss with people. My family is quite divided on it, with some liking more smoky/roasted notes and others wanting to avoid it. Which category do you fall into? Let me know in the comments below! Happy Brewing!