STORY BEHIND THE TEA
Lapsang Souchong (Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) is a black tea, or as they call it in China a red tea (Hongcha), from Fujian province. The wild variety (Wild Lapsang) is tea picked from gardens that are untended, and therefore growing wild. This 2019 picked Wild Lapsang has floral and fruity tones that have developed to a delicate sweet potato-like taste over the year.
Lapsang Souchong is grown and produced in the Wuyishan area which is also famous for its Yancha, Rock Oolongs, such as Da Hong Pao, Shuixian and Tie Lou Han. Although they both grow in Wuyishan, the locations are far apart.
Lapsang Souchong grows in Tong Mu Guan, a remote village (1500 meters above sea level) a 2 hour drive from the area where Yancha grows. It’s lush and green, but also cloudy and foggy all the time. The unique environment is very good for growing, and the humid climate is very good for black tea oxidation. Tong Mu Guan is famous for two different black teas: Lapsang Souchong, and Jin Jun Mei.
Traditionally, Lapsang Souchong is smoked over pine wood, but since a few decades farmers also produce unsmoked Lapsang Souchong, which results in a very floral and fruity tea that gained a lot of popularity amongst tea drinkers.
Wild Lapsang is an unsmoked Lapsang, that is picked from untended gardens in the forest. These gardens have been deserted for a while and are not taken care of anymore. This leads to wild growing tea bushes with an interesting complexity in taste. It’s often a lot more aromatic than regular Lapsangs, which have a lot of flower and fruit, but also a slightly lighter body. Because of the aroma and taste it’s an easy to digest and easy to understand tea, with a taste that keeps developing over time.