Lapsang Souchong

Inspired by Sky

Lapsang Souchong and I go way back, well, twenty years back, anyway. I first discovered it on a family trip to Carmel, when I discovered the coolest little tea shop. In my head I refer to it as the magic tea shop because I've been there twice but no one else ever knows what store I mean, or is able to find it. It's like a personal Brigadoon.

The tea itself is sort of the unofficial tea of the beatnik generation, which gives it a poetic and literary reputation that I quite like. Also, in my mental picture dictionary beatniks are always wearing black turtlenecks and berets, even if they don't always look like a very young Bob Denver, and as I'm partial to black turtlenecks and berets you can see the obvious attraction.

The tea itself is dark and smokey, sort of fire roasted. It makes me think of dark cafes with plate glass windows shielding diners from sleet and grey skies, and a crackling fire, with tables circled round it, and open mic nights, with poetry slams. It's great with milk, not so great with sugar, and unlike Earl Grey, better without coming near a lemon. It reminds me a little of Russian blend, which can smell almost like bacon, it's so smokey.

To read more about the tea itself, go here.

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