It is genuinely cold in Tucson today (hush, all you midwesterners – we aren’t in the habit of seeing daytime temperatures below 50º in the Old Pueblo!). Thankfully, it’s Teatime Tuesday, and today we have a tea that’s perfect for evoking the coziest of campfires. Introducing Lapsang Souchong, the Strong Smoke tea from Seven Cups!
For eight weeks, we’re highlighting teas from Seven Cups Tea, a local Tucson tea shop. Offering everything from traditional tea ceremonies to over 70 loose leaf Chinese tea varieties, Seven Cups is an Arizona resource for exploring both Chinese tea and the traditions that surround it. Today’s tea, the Lapsang Souchong, is a tea that might startle your nose at first sniff, unless you’re expecting its rich smoky aroma.
Don’t be scared off – while this tea comes on strong, the reward is a sweet, rich flavor with plenty of smoke. Reportedly a favorite of British nobility, the tea is smoked over Horsetail Pine grown in the Wu Yi Mountains in China. According to Seven Cups founder Austin Hodge, the smoke on this tea is potent enough to set off fire alarms. In 2006, Hodge was visiting the producer of this tea, and left the producer’s factory with a suitcase full of samples. All of the fresh smoke on the samples proved strong enough to set off his hotel’s fire alarm several times in the middle of the night.
Thankfully, the Lapsang Souchong sold at Seven Cups is packed in an airtight pouch, minimizing the risk to fire alarms. Grown organically, the tea starts at $8.99 for a 50 gram pouch, and one tablespoon per 16 ounces of water is enough for five infusions. It can be purchased in-store or online.
Keep an eye out for next week’s post, where we’ll once again curl up with a piping hot cuppa – and tell you all about it.