Formosa Lapsang Tea
Available from £2.76 to £44.85 In Stock!
The art of 'tea smoking' has been perfected by the Chinese, but it is foolish to overlook this gem from Taiwan. A gently smoked oolong tea, it is easy to discern the exotic woods used in the smoking process. It is ideal after an Oriental meal or as a digestif after a heavy lunch.
Taiwan is in our opinion one of the foremost producers of tea in the world with the oolongs that it produces making up 20% of world production. Although some tea bushes have been planted circa 1717 commercial production started in the mid to late 1790s and there are transaction receipts that prove this. John Dodd can probably be attributed as the commercial father of Formosa Oolong and is also responsible for the development of Formosa Pouchong.
Taiwan was also one of the early devotees of mechanical tea processing which enable them to produce such large quantities. In 2008 Taiwan produced 17,384 tonnes of Oolong tea. The story of Lapsang Souchong is well-known with its discovery attributed to ‘speed-drying’ of tea using pine fires due to troop movements in the Wuyi Mountains area. However Taiwan produces some excellent strong Lapsang Souchong.
Tea is hugely popular in Taiwan and the Gongfu tea drinking style is used widely throughout Taiwan. The water temperatures, tools and equipment and procedures used in the Gongfu style lend themselves very well to high quality aromatic teas and Formosa Lapsang is certainly that. Aroma appreciation is part of the overall experience of drinking tea in the Gongfu style. Gongfu in this case refers to time taken to appreciate the tea.
Aroma appreciation is done using scent cups. During the ritual the cups which are actually being drunk from, are held upside down over the scent cup, which is described as 'the dragon and phoenix in auspicious union'. Then the scent cup is inverted in the drinking cup – 'the carp turns over' and the final stage of appreciating the aroma is to 'respectfully receive' the fragrant tea and at this point the scent cup is lifted and the tea is released into the drinking cup. This means the guest can then enjoy the aroma from the scent cup before drinking from the drink cup. It is considered good manners to drink the tea in three sips, the first sip being a small one, the second sip being the main one and the third one being the remainder.
We humbly suggest that even the most nasally impaired drinker of this Formosa Lapsang will appreciate its smoky almost tarry aroma, whether using a scent cup or not. In fact it is very possible you will smell this tea brewing in the next room!
Brewing Hints: Infuse in boiling water for two - three minutes
Leaf: Large black leaves
Origin: Formosa (Taiwan), Nantou
Characteristics: Delightfully smoky but gentle on the palate.
Serving Suggestions: Drink without milk. Ideal after an Oriental meal or as a digestif after a heavy lunch.