February 11, 2016
Tea Review - Joseph Wesley Tea Lapsang Souchong
I purchased my first gaiwan during a trip to Malaysia. It wasn't a traditional gaiwan. I guess you could call it an "easy gaiwan". The second chip on the rim not only made it less easy to use, but also unsafe. I began creating pining for a new gaiwan. Instagram fed my eyes with so many beautiful options that I could not decide which one to purchase. Luckily for me, Joseph Uhl announced that Joseph Wesley Tea would release a taiwan before the end of 2015. So, I waited. And when they were available, I purchased one. Switching gears a little bit, I had many favorable comments on social media about the JWT Lapsang Souchong, but I when I went to order it, the tea was sold out. Joe told me that the second batch was even better, so I waited again. Joe also told his customers that he would include a canister of tea in each gaiwan order. Guess which tea was in my order? Black Tea No. 07 - Lapsang Souchong!
This lapsang souchong is not the lapsang that you might be familiar with it. It does not taste like it was dried over pinewood smoke. It was dried over smoke because the JWT tasting notes mention "its smoky undertones" but what you smell and taste is chocolate. I happily drank this tea over the course of two weeks. I was disappointed when my canister was empty. Here are my notes on this tea.
The dry leaf is long, slightly twisted, and dark. I typically steeped the tea in 195F water and usually prepared five cups before the flavors would precipitously decline. Malted, semisweet chocolate was the dominant note during the first two infusions which were about 45 seconds in length each. The third and fourth infusions, at 1 minute each, yielded a floral liquor. The JWT description of the tea mentions plum notes, so I wonder if what I tasted is how a plum flower smells. I used a lower temperature for later infusions and also lengthened the steep time. Woodsy notes emerged from this preparation.
At the time of this writing, the JWT website lists the Lapsang Souchong as sold out. I will wait again. But don't fee badly for me, I have a full canister of Black Tea No. 06 - Bai Lin Congfu.