The Differences Between Smoked and Unsmoked Wuyi Black Tea

  1. Dry leaves: leaves are tightly rolled, thick with dark brown color. There are little to none golden buds. Dry smoked tea smells like charcoal and pine, while the unsmoked one has a light roasted fragrance without any unpleasant smells.
  2. Tea liquid: Both have bright amber color with a red hue. It should be clear and bright. If you put under the light, it shines.
  3. Aroma: Smoked Lapsang Souchong offers unique smoked pine aroma. The unsmoked one is slightly sweet with a hint of honey. Different from Jin Jun Mei, unsmoked LS should not offer caramel or strong floral notes. Both are smooth and soft.
  4. Steeping: both teas can be steeped with boiling water. Even if you left some hot water that the bottom of your cup for a little bit longer period of time, the taste should still be smooth. They work with all kinds of steeping containers such as claypot, Gaiwan and Piao Yi Bei.
  5. Flavor profiles: Smoked LS has a distinct longan taste, while the unsmoked one contains honey notes. You can feel the flavor dances in your mouth reaching a perfect harmony.
  6. Sweet aftertaste: Both teas have strong sweet aftertastes. It happens after you swallow the tea. The sweetness comes back to your mouth and lasts a long time.
  7. Brewed leaves: You can feel the life in those leaves. If it is hand-plucked, you will see a complete leaf instead of a rigid cut. When you feel them in your hand, they are soft and a little  stretchy.
  8. A little tip from Zhang: You can enjoy LS cold and the taste will be a little sweeter.

HER-CHA works with tea artisan Shengyi Zhang and he recommended us his unsmoked Wuyi Black for 3 main reasons:

  1. Like any smoked food, it can potentially introduce harmful chemicals.
  2. Smoking introduces a dominant flavor that covers any subtle notes of the tea. Shengyi prides himself with the rich , smooth and sweet flavor profiles of his black tea and therefore choose not to smoke it.
  3. Traditional smoked Lapsang Souchong uses specific pine wood from the same region, as the size of such plantation reduces in the region, less artisans are able to follow the traditional way. Other forms of “smoking” will not yield the same flavor that once gain Lapsang Souchong its fame.

HER-CHA features Wuyi Black made by artisan Shengyi Zhang in our HER-CHA Black Tea Collection.

If you would like to try the most classic premium Chinese tea, please check out HER-CHA Classic Duo Collection

You can explore your favorite tea from HER-CHA Discovery Collection