Lapsang Souchong Smoky Black Tea (Yan Xun Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Smoke, Wood, Ash, Cedar, Menthol, Pine, Wet Wood, Toffee, Vanilla, Earth, Scotch, Leather, Plum, Sweet, Burnt, Tar, Malt, Molasses, Peanut, Tobacco, Cream, Spices, Campfire
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by TeaVivre
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 6 g 30 oz / 888 ml

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113 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Not really ready to review this, just giving more of an update. My tea and my kettle set up were the last things I removed from office. I had two grocery sacks of tea – mostly samples. This morning...” Read full tasting note
  • “Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn’t tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, “Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that...” Read full tasting note
  • “Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample! Ya’ll know I love me some Lapsang Souchong…Amen! (left over accent from living in Texas years ago!…long story…) When I saw everyone receiving the new...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of...” Read full tasting note

From Teavivre

Origin: Wuyi Mountain, Fujian, China

Ingredients: Da Bai Hao (Pekoe)

Taste: smoked taste, mellow, sweet aftertaste

Brew: 2-3 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 194ºF (90 ºC) for 1 to 2 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: Black teas contain antioxidants, which help in the prevention of some cancers and help reduce the affects of aging that is caused by free radicals. They can also reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks due to natural chemicals that reduce cholesterol.

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113 Tasting Notes

1719 tasting notes

Not really ready to review this, just giving more of an update. My tea and my kettle set up were the last things I removed from office. I had two grocery sacks of tea – mostly samples. This morning I finally have my brewing station unpacked. Forced retirement looks pretty good at the moment. My tea is still somewhere lost in the kitchen – I don’t have a spot yet. I do know where my Teavivre stuff is though because it is important. Being laid off is new and a little scary territory so I wanted a tea that scared me a short time ago and now I have learned to love. Lapsang Souchong fits the bill. This smells so incredibly smoky in the press yet is much less aggressive in the cup. I am not sure I got the temp just right as the sound of the kettle is different at home. Yeah, I get to relearn how to judge it.

Most important bonus – I have a Russell Hobbs brewing station that includes a kettle, glass tea pot with infuser, and a warming tray. I use a French press instead of the pot/warming tray. My wife has always thought my obsession was, well… obsessive ;) Today she asked, can I use this to heat water for tea? I don’t mean to make her sound like a doofus, she has always used the microwave and thought a kettle was a waste of time. Anyway, she heated the water and used the infuser and pot to brew, and now has the warming tray going. She is brewing a vanilla hazelnut decaf and commented on how good it smells today :)

Now if I can get her away from my kettle I need another cup of Lapsang.

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3286 tasting notes

Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn’t tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, “Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that smoky tea!”

This is the last of my free sample from Angel and Teavivre. Thanks, guys, you are making me break my tea buying ban, but I am hoping this doesn’t count because it is really for my child! (yeh, right!)

We started back to school yesterday and this morning as soon as we opened the geometry book I said, “I am going to HAVE to have some tea! Smoky?” And daughter said, “Oh, yes, please!”

Middle daughter said she couldn’t have made it through Algebra II and Advanced Math without her London Cuppa. I think youngest and I will be swilling through quite a few pots of Lapsang to get through geometry. She has only had it for two days, but already says it isn’t nearly as fun as Algebra. Sigh. I hope this doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a loooong year!

The most remarkable thing is that I asked her if she wanted me to order this or her beloved Baker Street that is almost all gone. She wants this one! Wow! Teavivre, that is amazing, in case you didn’t know! So, oh well, I guess I have to order some tea tonight! It’s for school….


Your daughter has great taste! :) Good luck to her in geometry! Math and I = FAIL.


@Azzrian… me too. I believe math is evil.


I loved geometry. Maybe it was because I learned it from Pathagorus… It was a long time ago.


Math is evil logic is magic!


I don’t even know how many cups of tea I drank while studying for my college statistics course. How I passed with an A- is a mystery to me because I had no idea what I was doing on the final. It must have been to tea. :) Your daughter is developing great study habits. hehe


K S: I read your comment to my girls and they almost sprayed their snack all over the table. Youngest said, “Like a boss!” This is apparently a very favorable thing for young people to say! :) You didn’t, by chance, meet Euclid, too?


Ashmara: Euclid – no he had the big head by that time and wouldn’t talk to us mere mortals ;) I use geometry everyday. I can see where it wouldn’t be a favorite for most people.


The sacrifices you have to make hey….lol


My college stats class was so long ago, the college used punch cards that we had to feed into a mainframe. Oh Yes. One small mistake on a card and you were like a detective trying to figure out what mark on the card was wrong. I did interviews for the class at the San Jose Flea Market (HUGE). It was one of the dumbest classes I ever took!


Oh Bonnie, I hate to admit I had a punch card class. We all knew it was the biggest waste of time. Then I took a class where we had to write a Fortran program to draw a circle on the screen. We thought we were so cutting edge. Let’s see, use a compass – draw a circle in a few seconds, or write a program taking several minutes to do the same thing. But that was just the beginning. Baby steps. Oh The good ol days.

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676 tasting notes

Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!

Ya’ll know I love me some Lapsang Souchong…Amen! (left over accent from living in Texas years ago!…long story…)
When I saw everyone receiving the new samples from Teavivre and chattering about this LS I was so excited! I knew this was going to be quality tea!

Sunday, I was in Happy Lucky’s Tea House chatting with Sam (one of the tea Sommeliers) about Lapsangs. I had him smell the Teavivre dry leaf. He could tell this was good quality. We discussed something that many people (including myself) often forget when considering Lapsang Souchongs. We concentrate so much on the smoke that we forget about the tea leaves. Tea changes from year to year (we know that) and LS is no exception. Smoke should not obliterate the flavor of the tea . That being said, strong smoke can be done by a master with the correct tea. This gave me more to consider.

Last night was one of my pain nights. My bones hurt and my dreams were wierd because of it. I woke up with a migraine and nausea. I had to get up. This happens too often to stop me.
Caffeine helps stop a migraine and my anti-seizure meds help block some of the triggers in my brain like light or weather change that set migraines off.
Strong tea was what I needed and fast! I wanted a great tasting tea too, tea that would brighten my morning and make me smile! I just knew this Lapsang could do that for me!

I brewed a whole 24oz pot Western Style…2 minutes! Ummmm!
The liquor was a rich honey color with a medium mellow, smoky scent.
The flavor of this Lapsang is smooth but not too strong. A medium smoky brew that surprised me right away by reveiling a coolness probably derived from gentle contact with pine smoke. I had not experienced that in a Lapsang Souchong before. There was also a dry mouth-feel and burn on the tip of my tongue. I added some sugar after sipping several small cups straight. The sweetened version was the best.

Then, I remembered some Natural Maple Syrup. I couldn’t help myself…no self control whatever! I poured a small cup and put a teaspoon of syrup in the tea. It was good! (I am imagining several people at Teavivre freaking out at the crazy lady in Colorado who has ruined the LS by putting Maple syrup in it!.. I hope they’re laughing and having a good time with it!…Love you Teavivre!). The maple dripping off my finger…lick, and the smoke of the tea, slurp…I AM CURED!

My own favorite LS from my local tea shop is smokier than this one and has more pine and burn. It is better for cooking because of the extra smoky strength. I made a batch to test side by side at the end of my Teavivre cups and discovered that my local was more layered.
The difference: Teavivre is a refined, lighter and approachable Lapsang Souchong.
My Happy Lucky’s China Lapsang Souchong is stronger with a burnt, smoky sweet pine taste.

You never want to lose the tea in the smoke and Teavivre has achieved that sweet delicious point that you want to come back to.

I continued to drink this tea and nibbled on Whiskey Cheese! I got it at Whole Foods but my local cheese store carries a Whiskey Cheese and you may find others also. IT IS AWESOME with Lapsang Souchong! Sweet and tangy…perfect to pair with the smoke! Any other sweet cheese would go well with a Lapsang too!

Now I want to go camping. Anyone have a tent? The Platters, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes ; ) I Feel Better!


ugh, I had a migraine headache yesterday too, with those zig zags of light and everything, Felt awful!


Glad you feel beter. :)) Bonnie, the Lapsang you sent me was smokey, but it was well balanced. The LS I tried so many yrs agowas from Stash. I rememeber it being more intense in a pine smoke sort of way. Keep in mind that I’ve learnedso much more about preparation too. It was more intense, and it seemed sweeter. It was one of two or three teas I’ve thrown away, and couldn’t finish it. Happy Lucky’s is better, by far. I would gladly pay you to send me some in the future. Lion and the Lamp too! =))


Uh! I’m sorry Amy! I have Atypical Migraines which are less in the head and more like flu /nausea and bone pain is fibromyalgia. The weather in S.F. Bay Area used to bother my fibro a lot! Hope you continue to feel better! One thing, no flourescent lights! Big trigger for migraines!


That’s one of my favorite songs. I just heard that the last original surviving singer died. :-((


Sure Scott they’re very inexpensive! The LS $2.95 oz Jason drove up and bought some too Sunday. The shop set up a flight of Oolong tasting and a pot of puerh. We drank about 7 tea’s! So fun! We need a Steepster Meet-up!


I saw them!


Ssssooo cool…….I mean the tea and the concert. :=))


So now you have to tell me the & teas you sampled! Didi you buy anything besides the LS??


I didn’t write them down but Jason did. We did share a Dragonwell from David Duckler that was a birthday gift sample not online. I bought a refill of a pu’erh
China Gong Ting WANG -Oz. Oh the pot of pu’erh on a tea tray with clay pot etc. Refills
$3.95! My shop is awesome!!! Sam stayed and explained and poured everything!


The refills are not 3.95….the whole pot is!


Did you take pics?? You sould join!


No but Jason did. Don’t know what he took pictures of besides walking around town! Slosh!


Why join?


So you can post tea pics n stuff with reviews. It’s not as busy as Steepster, but it does offer^^^^^^^ advantages.


I told Sam about Lion and the Lamp (Lamb) LS and I think it got lost in translation! (Sam’s Cambodian) . I told him to have his wife explain! She’s a Southern Belle!


I suspect we have similar taste when it comes to LS. Distinctly smoky, but with a good sweet-y fruit-y note underneath so that it feels like the flavour has substance. :)



jason = jason. Thank you Scott for feeding the insanity.


It didn’t take much food!


; ) Yeah I asked for that one


Uh huh! ;)


OK…….I’ll look you up there Jason. I like to post her, but there’s no option for personal pics ’n stuff like…….

The DJBooth

Nice on the whiskey cheese I also recommend porter cheese!

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735 tasting notes

This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of woodsmoke.

I’ve reviewed this tea before, so I won’t go to lengthy detail, but this was pretty perfect for today. Like I’ve said before, it smells more smoky than it tastes. Underneath the smoke, there is the delicious taste of Fujian black tea. Mmmm.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman


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15131 tasting notes

another fantastic tea to kick start the morning.,This + maple really is a great time for me. It’s more smokey than i need it to be, but the smoke is flavourful and certainly not over powering. All in all, love having this one from time to time for a little extra smokey oomph!


“another fantastic tea to kick start the morning.” “love having this one”
Only an 82?


I just picked up a box of Russian Caravan myself! I completely agree that it’s a “once and a while” tea, perfect for mornings when you need the extra flavor push!


Yep. Because a lot is dependant on me being in the mood for it. Higher ranked teas are those that are fantastic and I could drink any and every time :)


Now you’re making me crave a smokey tea with maple syrup. :)

Bear With Me

I am somehow really surprised that you, of all people, actually like lapsang. Like, mind blown over here.

but lapsang + maple = godly. so I approve!


I’m not at all surprised, since Sil loves blacks. Also, you are all right. Maple + lapsang = best combo evar.


This isn’t my favourite smokey tea but it’s a good one :) @ceylon – i still don’t like OMG IN YO FACE smokey teas..but ones that have a smoother sort of interesting smoke, really appeal to me…but i ALWAYS add maple. it’s the only tea always add things too


Sil, What are your most favorite morning kick start teas?


uh..i’d have to look at what i’ve been drinking in the morning, but to be honest if i REALLY need a kick in the pants, i usually grab a puerh and steep it western style :) otherwise my assams are usually what i go for, though i haven’t found my perfect bold cup of that yet…nothing fruity, so i stay away from me taiwanese blacks…

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985 tasting notes

Tea of the morning……

This sample was provided by TeaVivre for review. (Thank you!)

I decided morning was a great time to try this one. We are in the midst of a slight cold spell…or maybe I just feel like it is a cold spell because it was a sweltering weekend last week. Anyway, a sweet smokey tea was a good match for the weather today.

Leaf is actually kind of fluffy for a black tea. There are even some golden pieces in there! The smell is of smoke and earthiness. I brewed it is with a little hotter water then they recommended (I used boiling, they recommended 195) but I still had a fabulous tea. I get notes of malt, cocoa, and smoke with a sweetness. Since I usually sweeten my hot tea, I ended up with a smokey sweet liquor. Once the tea got in the temperature range for drinking, I noticed that my cup was empty in a flash. That means it is incredibly good. I think I will try a resteep, too. Yes, this goes on the shopping list! I think I will replacing my Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon with this. I do think it is a sweeter tea than the Lapsang from Mountian Rose herbs, too, plus their shipping is cost prohibitive.

Usual teapot method with a 2 minute steep. Lightly sweetened.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Chilly here this morning, too! It is so refreshing! I am sitting under the back carport by my wall of jasmine, sipping Teavivre tea.

Autumn Hearth

Ooo sounds delightful! Let us know how it resteeps when you get a chance, I love later steeps of LS Black Dragon.


Second steep is good….I’d say more mellow, though. Not sure I will make it to a third steep since I made a whole pot. Next time, I will brew by the mug.


On scale 1 to 10, how smoky is it?


Alright I’m ordering some of this…I’ve heard nothing but good things! :)


It’s good!


Hmmm. A scale of 1-10. I tend to like them lower on the smokey side and it is just perfect for me. I find it similar to the level of Hu Kwa from Mark T. Wendell and Upton Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon. It is smokier than something like Mark T. Wendell Victorian Afternoon. I guess I would put it at about a 5. Keemuns are generally a 1 or 2 on my scale, so a little smokier than the smokiest Keemun….


Alright! Looks like I’m into sampling this one as well.

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3294 tasting notes

I just finished breakfast: omelettes with Brussels sprouts, leftover crumpled sausage, & garlic. Tony had dilled havarti on top of his, & toast with jelly. I only had the omelette, which was plenty, believe me, but I’m finding myself feeling resentful regarding food today. I want what I cannot have, & it pisses me off. Not at anybody, just really at my food sensitivites & at the consequences of dumb choices on my part recently. There, I’ve vented.

Anyway, breakfast was very tasty, & I’m following it up with this equally tasty smokey tea. It is a sample size, sent to me from Sil, & as a Lapsang, it is the perfect blend of smokiness & sweetness. A little maple syrup would be a wonderful enhancement, but honestly, it’s lovely rich cup as is. Even though I’ve already spent more money on this weekend’s sales than I ever imagined spending, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to stop by Teavivre’s cybermonday sale & get a few things, including some of this!


This tea is a WONDERFUL lapsang! I can’t get over being impressed every time I sip it.


I feel ya on this one. Food sensitivities are a total drag!

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2816 tasting notes

The last of my samples just arrived today from Teavivre – thank you again!

I know it seems like I was the only person on Steepster who was bothered by this, but I’m glad my samples all came in one large envelope this time instead of the little prepackaged samples each in giant envelopes. Yes I am fussy, what can I say. Go Mother Earth! heh…

I was glad to see this tea came from the Wuyi mountains and it has the characteristic smoky aroma that i have just come to love… yay! I did end up steeping this at a slightly hotter temp than what is suggested on the bag, they suggest 194F. The cup is a clear reddish/brown and was steeped via regular infuser mug method.

This is really nice! The smokiness is present but is definitely not overwhelming to me. The tea has a lovely, lingering sweetness in the finish which I really appreciate. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by tons of smoke this would be a really nice one to try. I also feel like this has a slightly fruity element, a bit of peach albeit a pine smoked peach… yum. A bit of honey also and perhaps some cocoa? I would definitely purchase this one and may need to, soon!

If you’re not a fan of smoky teas, I doubt this will make you a convert, but I’m enjoying my afternoon cup very much. Compared to the Harney and Sons L.S. tea this is downright dainty.

I also got a respectable 2nd steep out of this, which is not as smoky but still good.

Thanks Teavivre for the cool samples. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Since you said it’s cool in S F today (like that’s rare!) L S arriving is Perfect!


Very much so!


Ooo, I got this one, too! And my samples came the same way as yours. Everything was in perfect condition, even the outer box. I am looking forward to this one. My youngest daughter likes smokey tea – she and I will probably have a special tea time for this together!


I am a wimp. I turned this one down. If it has smoke in the name I get scared.


Nice, I wish this had been in my samples, I love a good Lapsang!


KS – I used to be like you but now I have converted!


I dreaded my first Lapsang, but really wanted to try EVERYTHING. It surprised me, and I like many of them now. My fourteen year old loves smokey tea. Go figure!

Scott B

I got this in my free sample pouch today too-can’t wait to try it. Also broke down and bought Mark T. Wendell’s Hu Kwa.


@Scott B – I love the Hu Kwa & hope you like it!

Scott B

Thanks, Amy. The Hu Kwa smells wonderful and unique, I will try it very soon!

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1442 tasting notes

I put off opening my two sample packets of this because Lapsang Souchong is a mood tea for me, and I wanted to be in the best state of mind to appreciate it. I shouldn’t have worried.

I poured boiling water over the leaves before I realized the label says 195F, so I steeped for only 30 seconds instead of 1-2 minutes. It came out gently sweet and smokey, and whispering of pines.

I’m looking forward to drinking the rest up this week. It’s funny, out of all the teas in my black tea sample pack I didn’t think this would be the one I would want to reorder. This and the organic silver needle so far! :)

Rating: 90’s, 90’s for everyone!!!!

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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290 tasting notes

Well, that’s the end of it. I have loved this tea all the way through the packet. It is smoky and sweet, like drinking a packet of smoky-bacon flavour crisps. Lovely.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Hallelujah my two bags of it FINALLY arrived today!


Poor Roughage…glad you made him feel better ashmanra! ;)


Oh dear! I didn’t mean it that way! Lol!


I know him…he’s laughing his head off.


Whew! That’s better than sobbing into a tea cup!


Don’t worry, ashmanra, as Bonnie wrote, I find it amusing. I am also plotting another order to Teavivre. After all, running out of LS seems like a great excuse to put a new order in. :)


Indeed! I love that you used the word “plotting.” I think we do sometimes rub our hands together gleefully and give a little evil laugh when getting an order together. I actually got the Lapsang mostly for my youngest daughter who loves Lapsang teas. But there were some of the Downy Superfine Jasmine Dragon Pearls for me in there as well! :)

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