An overview of Lapsang Souchong
Green tea may be the most popular type of tea on the planet today, millions of people around the world absolutely love the flavor, the spiciness, and the robust health benefits that black tea brings to the table.
And whatever you’re talking about black tea, particularly Chinese black tea, one type comes up in conversation more frequently than maybe any other – and that’s Lapsang Souchong tea.
Grown and harvested in a very small part of China around a village of the same name, Lapsang Souchong tea is one of the most exclusive and exotic tea options coming out of China today.
It’s been beloved and appreciated for centuries, used as an all-natural and herbal remedy thousands of years, and today is enjoyed in large part because of its completely unique flavor and aroma profile that’s unlike anything else in the world of black tea.
To learn a little more about everything that Lapsang Souchong has to offer – and to determine whether or not this is something that you might like to try – we’ve put together this quick guide.
What is Lapsang Souchong, Exactly?
As we highlighted above, Lapsang Souchong is a distinct black tea grown exclusively in China and in particular around a very small village that goes by the exact same name.
Unique from pretty much every other black tea out there in that Lapsang Souchong is produced almost exclusively by using the larger (and the more mature) fourth and fifth leaves on the tea plant – as opposed to the first two leaves in the individual tea leave buds that most other black and green tea options use.
These more mature leaves blend a more distinct flavor but also have a unique chemical composition that brings about a lot of the big-time health benefits that Lapsang Souchong is renowned for.
On top of that, though, is that Lapsang Souchong is also dried in a unique and distinct way from most any other tea out there as well. Rather than being left to dry in the sun (or dried in a commercial enterprise with heavy equipment and machinery) Lapsang Souchong is instead “smoked” over a fresh pinewood fire.
This produces even more complexity in the flavor and aroma department, really setting Lapsang Souchong apart from the rest of the pack and making it far more mysterious and alluring.
A Quick History of Lapsang Souchong
The tea leaves used to produce Lapsang Souchong are native to the Wuyi Mountain region in Japan, a region famous all over the world for producing some of the very best oolong tea available anywhere on the planet.
This region produced oolong tea almost exclusively for the Qing dynasty which really helped to establish them as a major tea market in China, a prestigious designation they had up until a major war broke out in China that left these previously productive regions wiped out almost completely.
Farmers went into the mountains looking for leaves that they could use to replace the crops that had been destroyed and stumbled across the plants that would later become Lapsang Souchong tea. Instead of leaving the leaves out to dry all on their own the way that they would traditionally they instead decided to dry them over pinewood fires – smoking the leaves – and giving them the totally unique flavor that they have today.
A Little Bit About the Lapsang Souchong Production Process
In order to give you a better idea of how involved the process of producing Lapsang Souchong tea is we’ve taken the time to really break down this process step-by-step a little more in-depth.
To start things off, Lapsang Souchong tea is harvested during the second week of May in this region of China. The larger leaves (the leaves that we highlighted above, the fourth and fifth leaves) are prized above all others, and they are picked by hand and then bundled together.
After this, the farmers that have gone out and harvested Lapsang Souchong leaves are going to bring the bundles over to a burning fire pit that has been fueled by pine. The bundles are rolled tightly to form strips that soften almost immediately, giving the leaves an opportunity to not only oxidize but also to singe and smoke over an extended amount of time.
After the leaves have had sufficient time to smoke they are pulled off of the fire and then left to dry under the sun the same way that most other Chinese tea is dried. Before they are packaged for sale, though, the leaves are then fried in a pan to stop the oxidation process completely – rendering even more flavor and really crystallizing the biochemicals that remain.
What Makes Lapsang Souchong So Special?
A couple of things helped to make Lapsang Souchong tea so different than any other option out there, but it really all starts with the plants themselves.
You just aren’t going to find these plants anywhere else on the planet (naturally growing, anyway). Lapsang Souchong is exclusive to this region and the unique soil, climate, and whether of this area contributes significantly to the way that the Lapsang Souchong leaves to taste.
Combine that with the selection of only the most mature leaves possible as well as the toasting, smoking, and roasting of the leaves rather than simply allowing them to dry under the sun the same way that most other tea is produced create something far more nuanced, far more complex, and far more interesting.
This black tea really is quite unlike anything else you’ll ever have an opportunity to enjoy, that’s for sure.
Highlighting the Benefits of Lapsang Souchong Tea
Aside from having a delicious smoky flavor, there are some serious health benefits that you’ll get out of every single cup of Lapsang Souchong tea.
- Floods Your Body with Antioxidants
To begin with, Lapsang Souchong has a significant amount of antioxidants that it makes available in every cup – including polyphenols and catechin that can help you to fight illness, disease, and infections. You’re going to be able to fight free radicals, protect against cellular damage, and even pushback against the aging process with the help of these antioxidants, too.
- Reduces Inflammation
Those same antioxidants and polyphenols are also going to help to lower the amount of information that you may be dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Inflammation is a huge part of why we feel so worn out, so tired, and so unhealthy a lot of the time. By eliminating a lot of that inflammation you are able to enjoy life a lot more, dealing with less pain, less aches, and less health issues along the way.
- Improves Your Heart and Cardiovascular Health
Some of the special flavonoids in Lapsang Souchong tea are able to reduce your risks of heart disease by changing the amount of oxidation of LDL cholesterol you are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.
Researchers in China have also found Lapsang Souchong effective at eliminating a lot of the damage caused by the aging process to your arterial walls and throughout your bloodstream – helping to improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure, and protect your heart.
- Smooths Out Your Digestion
One of the more unique health-boosting properties of Lapsang Souchong tea is its ability to smooth out digestive problems pretty quickly. The biochemicals in Lapsang Souchong work to inhibit the growth of specific bacteria in your digestive tract that can create ulcers as well as bacteria that can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
- Triggers Faster Weight Loss Results
Like a lot of other black tea options on the market you’re going to see some quick boosts to your metabolism, especially useful if you are going through a weight loss journey and want to make sure that your melting fat as quickly as possible.
This tea in specific can help lower overall levels of visceral fat as well as triglycerides in your body, helping you to transform the way you look and feel faster than you would have thought possible before.
- Boosts Your Immune System
A healthy immune system armors you against illness and disease, and Lapsang Souchong very much supports immune system strength with vitamin C, E, and B2 as well as minerals like zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
You’ll also get plenty of tannins and polyphenols that improve your immune system response as well, giving you a big bump to your ability to fight illness and disease with every cup.
- Helps Moderation Blood Pressure Levels
There are some astringent properties caused by the tannic acids in Lapsang Souchong tea that work to slow down blood pressure levels that are getting out of control.
You’ll also find these tannic acids capable of shrinking swollen tissue throughout your body, a tissue that would have exerted a lot of stress and pressure on your cardiovascular system and elevated your blood pressure, too.
- Evens Out Your Skin and Complexion
Your skin and your complexion is going to be improved with daily consumption of Lapsang Souchong tea. You’ll find that it fights blemish-causing bacteria, restores and rejuvenates healthy skin cells deep within your tissue, and even works to smooth out obvious signs of aging so that you look and feel quite a bit younger.
All things considered, Lapsang Souchong is one of the more special tea options you’ll find on the planet today and certainly one of the most exotic black tea options you’ll want to try as soon as you have an opportunity to do so.