A chinese love story…

November 20, 2008 - 11:48 pm 6 Comments

Lapsang Souchong is a chinese black tea, originally from the Wuyi region in the Fujian province in south east China. It´s so different from other black teas, that you can only love it or hate it.

A smokey cup of lapsang souchong teaOne can easily imagine the mountainous region with fresh cold air, green vegetation on the red cloud-shrouded mountains. It´s here that this very special tea is made. After the processing and oxidation (which all black teas undergo) - and this is where we have the big difference - the tea is dried over wood fires.
There are different styles of Lapsang Souchong (more or less smokey flavor). From the most delicate and balanced tea with a slightly smokey flavor to “Tarry Lapsang Souchong” (from Formosa, Taiwan) - a tea with both a pungent perfume and a strong flavor, something like a cigar in liquid form!

Lapsang Souchong has a quite low caffeine content, but it´s warm camp fire perfume and wonderful flavor with tones of wood, earth and caramel makes it really invigorating and gives you new strength.

Used carefully, this tea might even find its place as a spice in cooking, to give a hint of smokiness in a sauce or crushed over the meat to give it that resemblance of barbecue flavor.


Lapsang Souchong e un tè nero di origine cinese, proveniente della regione di Wuyi nella provincia di Fujian (sud-est Cina). E cosi diverso degli altri tè neri che il Lapsang Souchong si puo solo amare o odiare.

Uno puo facilmente immaginarsi la regione montagnosa con l´aria fresca, anzi fredda, vegetazione verde sulle montagne rosse, coperte con nuvole. Qui viene prodotto questo tè molto particolare. Un tè che dopo la lavorazione e ossidazione (come tutti i tè neri) - e qui abbiamo la differenza - viene asciugato su fuochi di legno.
Ci sono diversi affumicature del Lapsang Souchong (piu o meno affumicato). Da leggermente affumicato - bilanciato e delicato fino a “Tarry Lapsang Souchong” (di Formosa, Taiwan) - un tè con un profumo e gusto molto pungente e forte, quasi un sigaro in forma liquida!

Lapsang Souchong ha un livello di teina abbastanza bassa, ma il suo profumo caldo di fuoco di accampamento e gusto favoloso con toni di legno, terra e caramello e davvero tonificante e da nuove forze.

Usato con prudenza, il tè puo anche trovare il suo posto come spezia nella cucina, per dare un punto affumicato a una salsa o polverizzato sulla carne per fingere un gusto di “barbecue”.

    6 Responses to “A chinese love story…”

  1. missmalaussene Says:

    Mica male! non avevo mai pensato ad usarlo come spezia :9

  2. Lainie Petersen Says:

    Lovely article and photo. I think that lapsong souchong is a great tea during the wintertime: Just the thing with some crisp buttered toast!

  3. Sektiana Says:

    Nice article.

    Does anyone have any other good links about traditional use/history of Lapsang Souchong? I can’t seem to find much.

  4. Misha Says:

    I did a marinated gravlax salmon in Sub Rosa Spirits Saffron vodka and instead of dill between the layers whilst it was marinating, I used Lapsang Souchong tea. It turned out great. Marinating salmon in vodka is an age old technique. Using the Saffron vodka [made with cumin, saffron, coriander, ginger, black peppercorn, cayenne pepper and galangal] put a nice twist on the appetizer. Write me if you want the recipe: [email protected]

  5. Misha Says:

    Okay. I found the recipe.

    Gravlax Salmon with Sub Rosa Saffron vodka and Lapsang Souchong smoked black tea leaves

    Here’s what you need:

    • 1/3 cup coarse salt
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoon freshly cracked white pepper
    For the Salmon
    • One 2 lb. side fillet of salmon, skin on, any pin bones removed, cut into 2 equal pieces
    • Lapsang souchong (smoked) black tea
    • Sub Rosa Saffron vodka [several tablespoons worth to a half a cup]

    Here’s what you do:

    1. Make the cure by combining the salt, sugar and pepper in a bowl.

    For the Salmon:

    1. Wash salmon fillets thoroughly under cool running water and pat dry. Set aside.
    2. Lay out a 2 foot length of plastic wrap and place the 2 pieces of salmon side by side, skin side down.
    3. Spread any herbs, or aromatics (i.e. the peppers and a light dusting of Lapsang souchong tea if you like) etc. evenly over the salmon fillets. Sprinkle the fillets with a little of the Saffron vodka, then spread with the salt/sugar/spices mixture. Press down gently to adhere.
    4. Bring the 2 pieces of salmon together like a salt mixture sandwich. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap. Place packet on another piece of plastic and wrap again.
    5. Place the packet in a glass baking dish. Place a small board on top and then weigh it down with either heavy soup cans or a foil-wrapped brick.
    6. Refrigerate for at least 2 days [until slightly translucent, which may take 3 days], flipping the salmon package over every 12 hours and re-weighting. The salmon will shed a lot of liquid.
    7. Open the package every 12 to 24 hours and baste, inside and out, with the accumulated juices.
    8. Once the curing period’s over, unwrap the fish over the sink, and gently rinse off the surface salt cure. Pat dry. Re-wrap with clean plastic wrap until ready to use. The gravlax will keep for several days, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

    To Serve:

    On the second or third day, when the flesh has lost its translucence, slice thinly as at an angle as you would smoked salmon - on the bias and without the skin. Serve on small slices of bread or with crackers. A little cream cheese is nice too.

    Note: If you put the gravlax in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you plan to slice, it will be easier to achieve thin slices.

    Note: In my experience no amount of plastic wrap can contain the juices completely. The best would probably be to put the whole thing, after wrapping into a large zip-lock bag.

    Note: Personally I prefer a 60/40 sugar to salt mix. Equal amounts of sugar and salt are a little too salty for just about everyone. And yes, most recipes call for about a 3/4 to one cup of chopped dill sandwiched between the two fillets of salmon. Try a light dusting of Lapsang souchong black tea instead. Heresy I know.

    Here’s the cocktail I paired it with.

    Saffron Rocket
    1 1/2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
    1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
    1/2 oz. Cointreau or other high quality orange liqueur

    Chill in shaker filled with ice. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with long lime twist.

  6. John Says:

    Yeah, Lapsang goes very well with a lot of fish and seafood! It gives a nice smokey hint (or fake “smoked” flavor if you wish…) and of course with salmon it´s excellent! I used to make scallops with a sprinkle of Lapsang on top, the smokyness gives a bolder flavor profile and the tannins in the tea helps bring out the sweetness of the scallops. Marinating salmon has been tried with almost all types of spirits, cognac is a classic as well.
    That Saffron vodka sounds just lovely! Will be hard to get my hands on it here in Europe though…

Leave a Reply