Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Lapsang Souchong

When I was in college, my aunt sent me a box of Lapsang Souchong tea. Winters were long and cold, rainy and windy, and lapsang souchong has a very smokey taste. Often as I was studying, I would have a cup next to me to warm me from the inside, but also because I was so totally addicted to the smell, which is like that of a wood-burning fire.

I checked lapsang souchong on Wikipedia, and this is what they say:

Lapsang souchong is a black tea originally from the Mount Wuyi area in the Fujian province of China[1], sometimes referred to as Smoke Tea. The tea leaves have been withered over pine or cedar fires, pan-fired, rolled and oxidized before being fully dried in bamboo baskets over burning pine.[2] The result is a smoky, robust tea with an overriding scent and flavour of wood smoke, which dominates the flavour of the black tea itself.

The name in Fukienese means “smokey sub-variety”, and is a variation of the older WuyiBohea tea.[3] In popular legend the tea was created during the Qing dynasty when soldiers camping in a tea processing company delayed the drying of the tea leaves. After the soldiers had left, the workers sped up the drying process by hanging the tea leaves over burning pine wood. [4]

Lapsang souchong from the original source is expensive, as Wuyi is a small area and there is increasing interest in the tea. [5]

the Wikipedia article on lapsang souchong (which you can read for yourself by clicking on the blue type) also says lapsang souchong is “an acquired taste.”

They are right. It is strong, not at all refined. I haven’t seen Lapsang Souchong on the menus anywhere in Kuwait. It is beginning to appear on a menu or two back in Seattle, where tea shops are plentiful and tea is widely appreciated.


I fixed some for a friend who dropped by the other afternoon, and revelled in the smokey scent that lingers, even this morning, in my clothing from having brewed it up.

I wish I had a fireplace!

(It is 2°C this morning in Kuwait (36°F) at 0800, and tonight is expected to be even colder than last night.)

January 15, 2008 - Posted by | ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Hot drinks, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Weather | ,


  1. I was sipping tea as I read your post. Thank you for the reminder on how cold it is outside. Now all we need is some rain to come our way.

    Comment by Kuwaiti Woman | January 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. And, KW, and I said, a fireplace would be nice! Most of the world can’t imagine needing a fireplace in Kuwait!

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. I first had lapsang souchong tea in England at a tea tasting done by a tea company (much like a wine tasting). It is one of my favorites but I haven’t had any in several years. I guess I need to go to a specialty shop. Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful tea!

    Comment by momcat | January 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. Intlxpatr, are there any places in the kuwait that sell lapsang souchong tea?

    Comment by Bader | January 16, 2008 | Reply

  5. Momcat – Great excuse to hit the shop in the Pike Place Market that carries every kind of tea! Great time of year as well, with nearly zero tourists!

    Bader, hmmm, I don’t know. I brought mine with me from Seattle. I have seen a tea vendor on the top floor of a mall called maybe Watania, near the Sheraton hotel, there is parking and then a floor with a lot of saris and gold jewelry and then the top floor has a French restaurant and a big display area, like for jewelry, and a very modern household goods store, and there was also a tea vendor that had a lot of specialty teas. Perhaps . . .

    Or maybe next time you are in London? Or Tokyo?

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 16, 2008 | Reply

  6. I’ll try to look around for a local vendor, if I can find one, I’ll order it from amazon. Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Bader | January 16, 2008 | Reply

  7. if I can’t find one, I’ll order it from amazon. Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Bader | January 16, 2008 | Reply

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