Legendary black (red) tea from the mountainous Wu Yi region of the Chinese Fujian province, on the border of the prefectures of Nanping and Jiangxi. This tea, from the Bohea family of teas (a term originating from the landscape of the very small Wu Yi mountain region), offers a typically strongly assertive smoky aroma and taste, which it obtains through drying over pine wood, which is the traditional method for processing this tea. Legend has it that the tea originated during the reign of the Qing dynasty, when the annual tea drying in the Wu Yi mountain region was delayed due to the through passage of troops, with the result that in an effort to speed up the process the tea was dried over a pine wood fire.
The processing of the tea is specific, and characteristic for Lapsang Souchong. Immediately after gathering the tea is placed above a pine wood or cypress fire. This is followed by the phase of rolling, when the tea is placed in wooden vats for as long as necessary for it to begin to produce its own pleasant aroma. The final phase is then drying of the tea leaves with the help of suspended bamboo baskets in pine wood smoke. If the drying process is correct, then the resulting smoky aroma and taste provides a balanced complement to the classic taste of black tea, rather than replacing it. It is recommended to drink the tea as an accompaniment to foods strong in taste such as mature cheeses or spicy food.