September 17, 2008
It always seemed too much, too much scent and wood smoke and where was the good old tannin? Until this summer, that is, when W from Brighton (she of the perfect boiled eggs), showed me the proper way to drink Lapsang Souchong.
W puts two – or even three – parts Lapsang to one part English Breakfast, fills the pot with just-boiled water and leaves to brew for at least a few minutes. You need the English Breakfast to give body to the wistful Lapsang, traditionally brewed in China from leaves dried over pinewood fires.
You add milk (not lemon, which works in Earl Grey but not here). What you end up with is on the one hand a dry deep tea with the requisite kick of tannin, and on the other a cup of mountain air and mists and summer barbecues, and these two tastes somehow, miraculously, married together.