Lapsang Souchong tea is the earliest black tea in the world, known as the originator of black tea, and it has a history of more than 400 years. Lapsang Souchong tea was created by the local tea farmers in remote Wuyi Mountain during the era of middle and late Ming Dynasty. It is produced in the Tongmuguan area of Xingcun Township, Chong County, Fujian Province, China. It is commonly named Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, also known as Xingcun Xiaozhong, Tongmuguan Xiaozhong and LapuShan Xiaozhong(Lapsang Souchong). It was symbol of Chinese tea earlier last century in Europe, was originally called Wuyi Bohea.
"ZhengShan" is referred to Tongmu area and surrounding area but the same altitude as Tongmu that with the same kind of traditional processes and the same quality that has the unique Longan soup flavor. "Zhengshan" means correct and Authentic, while “Xiaozhong” refers to the fact that a type of leaflet tea tree species, and limitation of production by its geographical location and the regional microclimate; therefore, the “Zhengshan Xiaozhong” is also known as the Tongmuguan Xiaozhong.
Lapsang Souchong tea is distinct from all other types of tea because Lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fire, taking on a distinctive smoky flavor. Although tea leaves are looked black and tight shape, the tea liquor is dark red with a unique flavor of dried longan soup. Lapsang Souchong Black Tea is well suited to dishes with curry and meat. Kung Fu tea was later developed on the basis of Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong from the original source is increasingly expensive, as Wuyi is a small area and there is increasing demand for this variety of tea.
Tea Area Distribution and the Natural Environment
Nowadays, Lapsang Souchong is still mainly originated in the center of Tongmu Village. Another tea production area includes Chong'an, Jianyang and Guangze counties at the junction of highland tea plantation. Plantation surrounded by high mountains and deep valleys with its cold weather more than 100 foggy days and 2300mm annually rainfall. Tea trees germinate tender and less crude fiber tea buds lushly due to its natural conditions of humidity, short sunshine, long frost period, adequately soil moisture, loose fertile and high organic content.
It is distinguished into Smoked and Non-smoked Lapsang Souchong, by whether smoked by pine leaves or pinewood in the production process. They are not much different between their appearances, though the smoked Lapsang Souchong looks little darker because of its smoke process.
Differing from the color of the tea liquor, the non-smoked Lapsang Souchong looks bright, clear and gorgeously red, while the smoked Lapsang Souchong looks richer and deeper.
From the perspective of taste, they are both tasted obviously sweet, but the smoked Lapsang Souchong tastes more longan soup flavor, sweeter and mellower(The vary of sweetness is depending on the manufacturing processes). Moreover, the smoked Lapsang Souchong has a unique pine smoke aroma and flavor.
Flavor and aroma
Due to differences of manufacturing processes, each Lapsang Souchong has slightly different taste that some taste like dried longan soup, pine smoky and whiskey, while others may taste like malty, caramel or honey.