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Unusual origins of Lapsang Souchong black tea


 

Lapsang Souchong is a black tea originated from Tongmu village. It has been developed during the end of the Ming dynasty, beginning of Qing, in Wu Yi Shan (Fujian province) mostly for export (first by Dutch merchants, beginning of XVII century) to Western countries where it received big popularity because of its smoky aroma. However, it didn’t gain the same success among locals who still prefer green tea over black types.

Name Lapsang Souchong possibly derived from the local dialect of people living near mountain Lapu (Wuyi Mountains area), it simply means “small-leafed varietal”.


The invention of Lapsang Souchong as well suggest the beginning of making black tea and selling it as a new tea family. Lapsang Souchong surrounded by several legends. They all agree on one fact, it has been created by accident. 

The most favorable legend, which is still passed through generations by locals, speaks about the army passing through Tongmu village. Locals never saw soldiers before, they rushed to have a glimpse and forgot about freshly picked tea leaves. Upon returning the next day they found out leaves fully oxidizes. Villagers rushed to process them through firing, roasting, rolling, but the color of the leaves turned into black and not green as they expected. To save what is left from the harvest they gave this newly created type of tea (wrongly thought as damaged) to merchants in Xingcun. After a year merchants came back with the news that all tea has been successfully sold and even for double price.

Lapsang Souchong is an intentionally strong tea, it has a smoky pine aroma with a hint of prunes in taste and almost no bitterness. With time producers increased smokiness in tea to the same extent we keep drinking it today. 

Everybody can have their own opinion about Lapsang Souchong but this tea leaves nobody indifferent. 



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