My mind is blown!
Two days ago I was HATING the Lapsang. The overpowering smell of smoke filled my kitchen, leaked into my cupboards, and even after it was cooked into a meatloaf, lingered in the pan, the dishcloths, and the air. I washed and dried the container it was in, and it still reeks of smoke! It cannot be used again. The nasty smoke tentacles invaded everything… just moved right in and took up residence with no regard for the current occupant! Apparently, Lapsang is known as a divisive tea… you either love it, or loathe it.
Enter Tea Classico…
They explained that most commercial Lapsang Souchongs are flavoured with artificial smoke, and that true Lapsang Souchong is smoked over real pine wood and has a more subtle, delicate smokiness. And even better… they sent me a sample so that I could become better acquainted with “the real thing”. I have to admit, I was sceptical, and a little afraid. What if it was still terrible? How could I repay their kindness with a bad review? Well… I needn’t have worried.
When I opened the package, I was blown away! This was NOTHING like the evil fumes of death which had given me such a headache! THIS smelled NIIIIIIIICE!!!! Smoky, yes. But NICE smoke!! Clean smoke! Natural… pine-y… woody. This smells like the hearth-fire in Mother Nature’s kitchen. You just know that good things are going to come out of that fire! Oh yeah… and you can even smell the TEA!
I can’t wait to taste this one. It is so completely different from my previous Lapsang. It’s like comparing Kraft “Cheese” Slices with a fine Camembert, or Justin Bieber with uh…. anybody. The tea brews to a nice rich golden/orange colour, and under the natural smoky aroma, it smells a little fruity and sweet. It’s so rich!
The first sip surprises me with sweetness. The tea itself tastes so clean and pure… I can’t believe that OTHER one claims to be the same thing! I can taste the wood. The smoke is an aftertaste that brings back many happy “campfire on the beach” memories. A second infusion loses some of the smoke, but maintains the woody notes, and the mild sweetness. It’s very very nice. Delicate. Sophisticated. Complex. I will happily drink this again.
So now I know! I actually DO like Lapsang Souchong! The REAL one! And I wonder if all the other haters have simply been drinking the fake stuff, and not knowing that there is a much more elegant option? Thank you Tea Classico!! You have made a convert out of me!