What is Lapsang Souchong Tea, What are its Benefits?

This black tea native to China; It is a unique tea in many ways with its flavor, smell, origin and even name. Its unique incense aroma and taste is legendary.

The taste of lapsang souchong tea, one of China’s exquisite black teas, is quite strong. It is also a healthy and delicious tea. There are some reasons that give this interesting tea its unique character. Large, dark and twisted leaves form the basis of this wonderful tea; but the most important thing that distinguishes this tea from all other teas is its incense aroma and smell. No other tea tastes and smells like this tea. A series of processes and special steps are applied to obtain this unique taste and smell. The story of this black tea will intrigue you!

What is Lapsang Souchong Tea?

Lapsang souchong tea, which tastes as interesting as its name, is also known as “smoked tea” or “smoked tea”.

It is pronounced as “lapsang accong” in Turkish. It is described as the “king of smoked teas”. Although not an oolong tea like Bohea teas, it is a member of the Bohea family.

“Lapsang” is the name given to the area around Tong Mu village in Fujian province. This tea was first grown in this area.

“Souchong” refers to the selected tea leaves. For other black teas, the buds of the tea plant and the first two leaves called “pekoe” are used; The fourth and fifth leaves called “souchong” are used in this tea. These leaves are larger and older. Also, it has a different chemical composition.

Camellia sinensis is the main plant of black tea grown in the Wu Yi region. Lapsang souchong is also obtained as part of this plant. The leaves are traditionally dried in the smoke of a wood fire. This process gives the tea an incense flavor. It is called “smoked tea” because of its highly incense and intense smell and taste of wood fire. In other words, the name of the tea “incense” refers to the smoke of the wood burned to dry the leaves.

Like all other teas, this Chinese black tea also contains caffeine. The tea plant concentrates the caffeine at the tips of the young leaves and buds. Lapsang souchong tea is made from older and larger leaves. That is, the buds or leaves at the ends of the tea bush are not used. For this reason, it contains less caffeine than other teas. In other words, it contains the ideal amount of caffeine for a delicious breakfast.

What are the Benefits of Lapsang Souchong Tea?

Lapsang souchong tea is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and amino acids. These features bring many benefits for human health.

So, what are the benefits of this tea, which has a unique taste?

Makes it easier to lose weight: Black teas like lapsang souchong are an ideal option for diet programs. It improves digestion and speeds up metabolism. Thus, it helps to lose weight in a healthy way.

Supports digestion: This Chinese tea helps the body digest food more quickly. By reducing the amount of fat absorbed by the body, it ensures that unwanted waste materials are removed faster.

It is not high in caffeine like other black teas. It contains enough caffeine to make you feel energetic, especially in the morning. Caffeine in tea enters the bloodstream at a slower rate than caffeine in a cup of coffee; but it shows longer lasting effect. It keeps you awake longer than other caffeinated beverages and strengthens mental focus.

It is moisturizing: Lapsang souchong tea is a hydrating beverage, especially for physical activities. Caffeine content helps to feel energized in situations such as physical activities, exercise and training.

Improves heart health: The antioxidants in tea improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This tea also reduces blood pressure, lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

It is a natural sedative: The characteristic sedative, or calming, feature of Lapsang souchong tea is due to the amino acid “theanine” in its content. Theanine is released from the leaves into the water as the tea is brewed. This amino acid; calms the nerves, stimulates the mind and improves focus.

It strengthens the body’s defense mechanisms against harmful agents that cause painful inflammation or infections. It also strengthens the immune system, allowing the body to fight against the DNA-damaging effects of free radicals. It is also stated that it can prevent the growth of tumor cells.

We can also give the following information about the side effects of Lapsang souchong tea;

The side effects of tea are related to its caffeine content. Caffeine can be harmful to some people. If you have difficulty falling asleep; if you feel irritable and anxious; If you have a headache and heart palpitations, this tea may not be suitable for you. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to consult a doctor before consuming this tea due to its caffeine content.

It is recommended not to consume more than 6 cups a day. Otherwise, it may become harmful rather than beneficial. In case of excessive consumption, side effects such as headache, dizziness, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite can be seen. If you experience any of these symptoms, reduce the amount of tea you drink.

The following method can be used to prepare Lapsang souchong tea;

Put 1 cup or 250 ml of water in the teapot.
Heat the water to boiling point.
Add 1 teaspoon of dried tea leaves per 1 cup of water.
3 to 5 Let it brew for a few minutes.
Strain the tea into the cup.
Feel its unique, smoked and pine soot-like aroma.

The following points should be considered for Lapsang souchong;

The best teapot for lapsang souchong tea may be a round porcelain teapot in which the tea leaves can open and rotate freely.

The water temperature for this tea should be between 95 and 100 degrees.

Filtered or spring waters can be preferred to brew Lapsang souchong tea. Minerals in hard water tend to interfere with the flavor of the tea.

This tea, unlike most black teas, can be brewed at various temperatures according to personal taste.

A white cup can be preferred to see the color of the brewed tea exactly.

Tea leaves can be brewed 3 to 5 times. Increase the brew time by 30 seconds for each brew.

The blend ratio can be changed to suppress the strong taste of the tea. For example; 10 percent lapsang souchong tea can be blended with 90 percent other teas.

Most of the lapsang souchong teas available on the market are blended teas. These blends usually contain 10 percent lapsang souchong tea. The higher the ratio, the stronger the taste of the tea.

Sugar or milk can be added to tea due to its strong flavor.

It is a tea that can be consumed at any time of the day. It is a delicious beverage that can be preferred especially for breakfasts.

It can be consumed with spicy and cheese foods.

This is how Lapsang Sounchong tea is prepared!

How is Lapsang Souchong Tea Made?

Lapsang souchong tea comes from tea farms in the Fujian region. Some processes are applied in several stages to reveal the incense aroma that tea growers obtained in the 17th century.

We can list these operations as follows;

Big tea leaves are harvested in the second week of May every year.For this reason, the fourth and fifth leaves of the tea plant are cut off.
Then withering and rolling processes are started. The leaves begin to deteriorate over the pine wood fire. When the leaves become soft and lose their shine, they are rolled into tight strips.
After rolling, the tea leaves are placed in wooden barrels. This initiates the oxidation process necessary for the leaves of the tea plant to transform into black tea leaves.
The leaves are then sorted and pan-fried to stop the oxidation process and strengthen the aromas of the leaves. This stage releases the juices trapped in the leaves, allowing the strong flavor to rise to the surface
The drying process is the stage that gives lapsang souchong tea its unique flavor. Tea leaves are left to dry in bamboo baskets after burning wood containing pine resin. As the leaves dry, the amber smoke produced by the flames penetrates the leaves.
The black tea obtained after all these processes takes its most exceptional place on the breakfast tables with a dark red color.

What are Lapsang Souchong Tea Types?

Lapsang souchong is a traditional Chinese tea; however, due to its increasing popularity, souchong varieties have started to be produced in other tea producing regions. It is a very delicious and special tea. Tea leaves are reddish black in color. High quality real lapsang souchong tea is harvested for a short time. For this reason, it is rare and expensive.
Tarry (Lapsang) souchong: This variety of tea is grown in Taiwan. The most notable difference is its heavy smoky taste. The name “Tarry souchong” derives from the process applied during the final drying stage during its production. In this tea variety, unlike the Chinese style, pine tar is used in the drying process with pine wood. This process gives the tea a strong flavor and aroma.

History of Lapsang Souchong Tea

There are different stories about how lapsang souchong was first obtained.

Let’s take a look at the most-told story:

During the Dao Guang period of the Qing (Qing) Dynasty, an army unit passed through the village of Xingcu in the mountainous Wu Yi region. The army unit decided to camp in a tea factory filled with unprocessed oolong tea leaves. The tea workers could not work because the soldiers set up camp. Realizing that the tea leaves did not have enough time to dry, the workers decided to speed up the process.

The smoke of the wood burned to dry the tea leaves was absorbed by the tea leaves. This changed the smell and taste of the tea drastically. During these “compulsory” transactions, “smoked tea” appeared unexpectedly.

In the other version of this story about tea; There are narratives that “actually, the army occupied the region, the farmers resorted to this quick drying method, and thus they carried the tea by drying it in a short time and did not steal it”.

According to another rumor; Unable to respond to the high demand for teas in the Wu Yi region, tea producers tried drying the tea in pine wood to dry it quickly, and incense lapsang souchong tea emerged.

Another story is more interesting; ex bandits set fire to a tea farm in Tong Mu. The tea hidden in the pine reeds was exposed to the smoke of the fire. The stream was thought to be ruined; however, Dutch traders wanted to try the taste of tea leaves. They were amazed by its taste. Then the method of drying in wood fire was discovered.

It is not known whether these stories are true; but the result is always the same: The methods used by tea farmers to dry tea quickly produced one of the first black teas. Lapsang souchong is a tea produced and exported worldwide today.

Useful Information About Lapsang Souchong Tea

This Chinese tea, also known as “smoked tea”, is one of the first types of black tea discovered in the early 17th century. According to some sources, lapsang souchong tea is the first black tea in history to be produced even before keemun tea. Some people like this flavor, while others do not. The plant of this tea is also grown in countries such as Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka outside of China. The aroma of lapsang souchong is a result of various chemical compounds. The two most abundant components of aroma are “longifolene” and “a-terpineol”. These two compounds are the most important of the compounds that give tea its unusual flavor. This feature is not found in other types of tea. The compounds responsible for the taste of tea are reduced during the drying process with wood smoke.It is seen as “tea made for Westerners” in China.

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