drank Lapsang Souchong by Tavalon Tea
2014 tasting notes

This is one of the lapsangs I’ve had in my cupboard for a while but haven’t tried until project lapsang sipdown kicked into high gear.

It’s a slow process because I only drink black tea on the weekends and holidays for the most part, and I basically have a one cup threshold when it comes to lapsang. Otherwise it’s too overwhelming for me. But while the colder weather lasts, I can find myself looking forward to that one cup.

The dry leaf on this one smells quite woody, like charred embers. But not ashy, which is a good thing. I don’t get a lot of resin, but I do get a strong pine wood smell.

Steeped, there’s more of an ashy smell which is worrisome. The tea is a medium orange brown color and clear.

The flavor isn’t bad. It doesn’t have the sweetness in the finish that I enjoyed in the Kusmi and the Leafspa. It maintains a smoky woody flavor throughout the sip and into the aftertaste. It has a smooth and soft mouthfeel that I like.

The flavor isn’t overly ashy, as I had feared. Nor is it meaty, which is sort of a relief.

I don’t like it as much as I liked the other two lapsangs I’ve spent a lot of time with recently, but it will have some time to grow on me. According to the handly little checkbox system on the bottom of the container, this 1.5 oz container will produce about 20 cups. Since I make 2 at a time in the Breville, I’ll have something like 9 more encounters with this tea to change my mind.

Flavors: Ash, Char, Pine, Smoke, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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