Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Lapsang Souchong

ETS Lapsang Souchong

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Lapsang Souchong

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: The leaves are nearly black in color and have an intense smoky smell

Additions: None

Flavor: A strong and distinctive tasting brew with an intense smokiness and just a touch of pine

Overall: 3.5/5

An interesting taste experience; it’s like drinking a campfire. I am not a huge fan of this smoky flavored black tea, but it is definitely a taste experience worth exploring.


I purchased this tea from the English Tea Store as part of a Chinese Teas sampler pack. My one-ounce sample of this tea was sent in a thick-plastic, black pouch that had the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the Lapsang Souchong sampler bag, so I had to visit the website for more information. On the plus side, the pouch is re-sealable.

As a side note, when ordering the sampler packs, be aware that not all the advertised selections may be sent.

For instance, three of the teas shown on the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three packages of the Lapsang Souchong and a duplicate of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, it does state on the website that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew is just as powerful as the dried tea leaves. In fact, I could smell the brew from several feet away.

The first sip was a little overwhelming. The smokiness is intense and certainly the primary flavor. However, I did detect just a hint of pine before my allergies started to kick into high gear.

Did I mention that I am allergic to pine trees? Burning wood isn’t exactly my friend either. Although, I do love the smell of pine as well as campfires but, they just don’t like me.

Even though I found this tea intriguing in the taste department, it caused me to feel as if I was experiencing a bit of an allergic reaction. I sensed my chest and throat tighten. Then, a wave of dizziness swept over me and lingered for a while even after the last sip.

The image that comes to mind when drinking the Lapsang Souchong is that of a huge campfire burning in the middle of a pine forest. I can see the flames rise up and lick the stars in the midnight-blue sky. Huge billows of smoke encircle me and I feel trapped within the warmth of the fire.

Needless to say, after my first cup I really didn’t desire any more.

I ended up giving the remaining Lapsang Souchong to my mom. She finds this tea to be quite comforting because of the campfire like flavor. As for me, I don’t think Lapsang Souchong will be my personal tea of choice going forward, but it was fun to try this tea for the first time.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store recommends steeping the leaves in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Since there were no instructions on how much tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

However, I wish I had started off with a shorter steep or less tea, because the flavor of the Lapsang Souchong was super intense.

To keep the leaves separate from the brew, I once again used a T-Sac paper filter. As I move away from tea bags to loose leaf tea, I’ve found these bags to be quite helpful in my transition!

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.


Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

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3 comments on “Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Lapsang Souchong

  1. Nicole November 20, 2013 2:22 PM

    Hi there I found my experience of this tea exactly the same!! I like tea quite strong so like yourself possibly over brewed for my first cup. At first it was ok but found the smokey flavour too intense and afterwards it gave me stomach ache! The smokiness lingered and I could feel it in my chest like a kind of warmth but not In a good way at all. It gave me stomach acid. My advice is to steep this very briefly and work your way up to a more intense flavour should you like it

    Not a fan overall, far too pungent for me.

  2. Alex Zorach November 4, 2010 1:16 PM

    I know quite a few people who had a really similar reaction to Lapsang Souchong. As to me, my first reaction was just “meh”…it definitely struck me as overwhelmingly smoky, too much so for my tastes. However, I later developed more of a taste for this tea. It is still not my favorite type of tea, and I would only like to have it on fairly rare occasions, but I enjoy it more than I did the first time I tried it.

    Have you ever had Russian Caravan? It’s a blend of Lapsang Souchong with other non-smoky black teas; the smoke is much more subdued. I know a lot of people (including my parents) who love Russian Caravan but can’t stand Lapsang Souchong.

    • a girl with tea November 4, 2010 1:31 PM

      Hi Alex, Thank you for the suggestion! I’ve never tried Russian Caravan; it sounds like a tea I’d love to experience. I’ve added it to my “teas to try” list.

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