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Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea
Healthy, smoky and fruity
Healthy, smoky and fruity
Tong Mu Guan (桐木关), Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, China
April 25, 2018
Tightly twisted strip, glossy black in color
Remarkable and strong aroma of a pine wood fire but not overwhelming
With notes of pine smoky flavor, it tastes soft, mellow with sweet aftertaste,
leaving a very pleasant fragrant smell lingering in mouth and throat.
Wuyi Qi Cong Cultivar
Tongmu Tea Garden
Less than 40% of a cup of coffee
Store in airtight, opaque packaging; in cool, dry place
A distinctive black tea with well-balanced aroma of pine smoky flavor that is most suitable for tea lovers who prefer strong-tasting tea.
This Lapsang Souchong is handmade by an experienced tea master, Mr. Wen, who has relied only on using traditional methods until recently. Making this kind of tea requires at least twenty separate steps followed by complex traditional crafts, including cooling, withering, rolling, fermentation, and drying, among others. All of these processes must be done in “Qing Lou”, a traditional three or four-floor building.
Generally, the first floor of Qing Lou contains a large fireplace used for baking over pine wood, allowing the tea leaves to absorb the smoky flavor of the burning pine. As a result, the tea takes on its characteristic smoky scent and flavor, strong in the first few infusions and slowly fading through subsequent steeps, but never disappearing completely.
Another processing step is to “cut the tea short”, which is aimed at saturating the tea with this smoky flavor to give it a better fragrance and richer taste.
Chinese Gongfu Method
|Teacup: 12oz / 355ml||Gaiwan: 3.8oz / 110ml|
|194℉ / 90℃||194℉ / 90℃|
|2 Teaspoons / 3g Tea||5g Tea|
|Brewing time: 3 - 5 mins||7 steeps: rinse,5s,10s,15s,20s,25s,35s,45s|
Tongmu Tea Garden is located in Tong Mu Guan, Wuyi Mountain, the birthplace of Lapsang Souchong, only accessible with the help of locals to lead the way. The Wuyi Mountains are home to hundreds of native tea cultivars, including Tongmu Lao Cong, high-mountain Qi Cong, wild Qi Cong, and various small-leaf species.
The picking season of Lapsang Souchong falls between April and June, with a picking standard of two or three leaves to every one bud. It takes roughly five kilograms of fresh leaves to produce a single kilogram of Maocha, and then for every one kilogram of maocha, about 70 grams of dry tea can be crafted. Mr. Wen processed this black tea with traditional Chinese methods, giving it its superior quality and allowing it to retain its nutritional qualities.
Seen from the top of the Wuyi Mountain
Mr. Wen, the owner of tongmu tea garden, who had worked as a workshop director in tongmu tea factory, where he engaged in the processing methods of Lapsang Souchong. With 44 years' experience of tea processing, Mr. Wen is not only a very professional tea master, but also attach great importance to tea's quality. Even tea lovers often say: “as long as the tea is made by Mr. Wen, then there is no need to worry about its quality.”
TeaVivre has interviewed the tea farmer Mr. Wen with several questions.
Angel: When did you start to make tea? What's the most meaningful and valuable things that tea brings to you?
Mr. Wen: I was born in 1959 and lived in remote mountainous areas where there is no school. Therefore, I started to make tea in 1972. Ever since, tea has changed my life and because of tea, I also met lots of friends.
Angel: What personality do you think that a tea mater should have?
Mr. Wen: The most important thing for me is to put my enthusiasm and focus on making high quality teas. Through my experience, it also requires me to endure sufferings and hardships as well as in a peaceful mind.
Angel: What's your most favorite and least favorite thing about your job?
Mr. Wen: Each batch of tea can be made successfully that matters most. I can’t stand for wasting my own made tea.
Angel: what makes you feel most accomplished?
Mr. Wen: I persisted in using traditional method even when Lapsang Souchong is not so popular at that time. However, I felt quite proud because it was gradually widely accepted by tea lovers and it also made me become one of the few traditional Lapsang Souchong tea masters.
Angel: What tea would you like to drink as usually?
Mr. Wen:Teas that are made by myself.
Angel: How many years have you been engaged in making tea? And what are they difficulties you’ve met?
Mr. Wen: I’ve been worked as an independent tea mater for 44 years. At first, we were worried about piling up in stock. But now, the shortage of raw material is the biggest concern, because we always adhere to choose the best natural materials to ensure the quality.
The first group of tea masters who created Jin Jun Mei (photo took in May, 2015)
(Mr. Wen is the second one starts from right)
Teavivre choose this Lapsang Souchong from Wuyi mountain in Fujian province. In Chinese culture, Lapsang Souchong has the true significance of Souchong (Xiao Zhong) black tea that produced in high mountains. Wuyi mountain lies in the northwest of Fujian province. It is not only a tourist attraction, but also the historic origin of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Government has set up rules clarifying that the origin place of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is between 117°38′6′′E to 117°44′30′′E, 27°41′35′′N to 27° 49′N, and an area of 50 square kilometers. We can say that only black teas from Wuyi mountain can be called as Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong.
Wuyi Qi Cong (武夷奇种; pinyin: wǔ yí qí zhǒng ) was also known as Caicha by local people. Caicha (菜茶; pinyin: cài chá) refers to the original tea cultivars in Mt. Wuyi, the well-known rock teas, such as Da Hong Pao, Shui Xian, Rou Gui, Bai Ji Guan, are all selected from Caicha. There are almost 70 Ming Cong of tea bushes have been identified, the rest of these that haven’t been identified are collectively called “Qi Cong”. That is to say, Caicha includes Wuyi Ming Cong and Qi Cong. The well-known and precious Jin Jun Mei also takes Wuyi Qi Cong as the raw material.
Qi Cong, been known as wild teas, growing in a wide-ranging high mountains and natural environments without any artificial chemicals or fertilizers, which makes it become a very popular healthy drinks.
Lapsang Souchong has a long history of planting. In 1970s it has been spread to European and north American. However, due to the frequent wars, the numbers of production decreased gradually, and almost disappeared in 1949. It was not recovered and redeveloped until 1950s, with a highest annual output around 20 thousands picul (1 picul = 50 kilograms). Lapsang Souchong (Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) showed a brand new look to customers all around the world.