Organic Lapsang Souchong Black Tea

Crisp and smooth with strong distinct smoky flavor reminiscent of a campfire

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Lapsang Souchong Black Tea
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Organic Lapsang Souchong Black Tea


This Fair Trade Certified organic tea from the Fujian province of China is smoked during manufacture, giving it a distinctive flavor and aroma, sometimes referred to as tarry. It has a light body, with a smooth crisp character and a very prominent, heady aroma of a pine wood fire.

Legend claims that the smoking process that produces this remarkable organic black tea was discovered by accident. During the Qing dynasty, an army unit passing through the village of Xingcun camped in a tea factory filled with fresh leaves awaiting processing. When the soldiers left and the workers could get back into the factory, they realized that to arrive at market in time, it was too late to dry the leaves in the usual fashion. So they lit open fires of pine wood to hasten the drying. Not only did the tea reach the market in time, but the smoked pine flavor created a sensation! Today, this organic tea from China is dried over smoking pine fires in order to absorb the smoke flavor. Lapsang Souchong is generally consumed with sugar, milk and/or lemon.

Ingredients: organic and Fair Trade Certified Chinese black tea

What are Scented Teas?

Organic Tea from Jiangxi Province, China

Scented teas begin with the same top-quality organic tea as our non-scented teas, but are exposed to a particular scent during manufacturing. As a result, the tea absorbs and retains the aroma throughout its lifetime. Some of the most well known scented teas are combined with flowers such as jasmine, magnolia, and osmanthus. Others, such as Lapsang Souchong, are more savory and scented with smoke. Scented teas are often confused with flavored teas (which is why we include them in our flavored tea categories), but are technically unflavored. Sometimes, inferior forms of scented tea are mimicked by using a flavoring - rest assured, you’ll never find these among our catalog.

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend black teas to be steeped for 3 to 5 minutes in water heated to a full, rolling boil. For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible, and avoid overboiling. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Chelsea

    "I often brew a strong batch of this and freeze it into ice cubes for interesting cocktails! I also like cooking with this to add a smoky flavor to dishes. I love how versatile this tea is!"

  • Sarah

    "This is a family favorite! Even my 10 year old likes it! My husband and I always seem to brew it on a Saturday afternoon after spending the morning with the kids."

  • Aubrey

    "This tea reminds me of liquid smoke floating in my mouth - a unique experience."

Health Benefits


Like all true tea, black tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels. Black tea specifically has been found to regulate blood sugar in diabetics better than other types of tea, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information about the health benefits of black tea and other types of tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Russian Samovar Tea


Given the significant influence Asian culture has had on Russia through the years, it is no wonder that Russians are big tea drinkers. The samovar, which is somewhat of a cross between a hot water heater and teapot, is one of many examples of this influence - it is presumed to have evolved from the Tibetan hot pot. The function of this unique apparatus, and the Russian method of taking tea, is rather different than we are accustomed to in the west. Instead of heating tea water on the stove, wood or charcoal is traditionally burned within the samovar itself to accomplish this task (modern samovars often use an electric heating element, however). A small teapot sits on top of the samovar, in which a dark, concentrated brew is made, called zavarka. Hot water from the samovar is used to dilute this tea when served. Dark Indian or Chinese black teas are commonly used, often coupled with herbal or fruit teas and enjoyed with lemon and/or jam. Russian Caravan, a blend of black teas with a slightly smoky flavor, is a favorite. To this day, samovars remain a focal point of the Russian home.

For even more information about this and other traditions, visit our Tea Traditions Page!

Customer Reviews

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  • 5
    A Robust Campfire Flavor

    Posted by Adela on 17th Jul 2024

    One of my favorite smells is the smoky scent of clothes in the morning after a night around a campfire. Lapsang Souchong evokes that for me. I gravitate towards robust teas. I drink Lapsang nearly everyday with a bit of oatmilk and occasionally a touch of maple syrup. By the reactions of those around me, I understand it is very much an acquired taste. Try starting with a sample or try Russian Caravan first if you are uncertain. Lapsang is not subtle.

  • 3
    First time trying

    Posted by Haley on 14th Jul 2024

    This is my first time trying lapsang souchong. The smoky smell is a lot stronger than the taste to me. I don't dislike the smoke, and it was fun to try, but won't replace my other favorite black teas.

  • 4
    Love the smokiness!

    Posted by Reggie on 30th Nov 2023

    I never realized there was such a thing as a smoked tea until I wandered onto the Arbor Teas website. And thanks to the sample sizes, I had no qualms about giving it a try. Wow! The smoke flavor is unmistakeable - this tea delivers what Lapsang Souchong is known for, and you can smell it immediately when you open the bag or the hot water hits the leaves! I should probably give it five stars, but I had to dial back a little bit to the level of smoke in Russian Caravan. I do love Chelsea's idea of freezing a strong batch for cocktails, though, so I may have to get some more soon!

  • 2
    Smoke bomb

    Posted by Chris on 28th Nov 2023

    It's like you steeped the coals from your campfire. Very smoky. I'd definitely recommend starting with a sample.

  • 5
    Outstanding _IF_ you want lapsang souchong

    Posted by David Wonnacott on 9th Aug 2023

    I occasionally really like a cup or two of strong, very-smoky lapsang souchong, and this is really delightful. Not to be mistaken for "normal" black tea, though ... if you aren't familiar with it, try a sample size first.

  • 3
    It tastes like ham

    Posted by Victor on 29th Dec 2022

    Honest to God it tastes like ham.

  • 3
    great on paper, but not for me

    Posted by Skye on 30th Nov 2022

    I love bacon and I love peated whisky so I was SO excited to finally try Lapsang Souchong tea. It turns out that this is not a flavor I like in tea lol. It's not a loss because I have had delicious dishes cooked with this tea so I'm going to use the rest of my sample to experiment with that. I guess my palate is not as sophisticated as I thought. Nevertheless, I appreciate that Arbor Teas sells samples of their teas so I could try this.

  • 3
    oops... should've read the full description

    Posted by Dave on 3rd Sep 2022

    I saw some notes about this being smoky but thought it was just describing some background "its kind of like..." notes. This is an actual smoke flavor. If you like imbibing liquid smoke or peated scotch then this is for you! Even the Russian Caravan was too strong for me. I'm happy & thankful for sample sizes!

  • 5
    Deliciously Smokey

    Posted by Catherine Kleimeier on 23rd Aug 2022

    This tea is incredible. If you don't particularly enjoy smokey flavors, like in meats or alcohol, you probably won't enjoy this tea. If you do, however, this is one you should absolutely try. The tea itself has a light, crisp character without much astringency, but it can be a bit difficult to detect beneath the powerful smokey flavor and aroma. The smoke is strong and distinctively piney; it smells so much like a pine campfire that I was startled when I first opened it, though also delighted. The smokey flavor is much stronger and more distinctive than a Russian Caravan or samovar tea, and wonderful for it. On subsequent steeps, the smokey flavor fades and the tea itself comes through more, though I can't get more than three good steeps from it. One final note is that, when sweetened and with milk, this tea reminds me quite a bit of toasted marshmallows, which was a lovely surprise. If you love strong, smokey flavors, I can't recommend this tea enough.

  • 5
    Great with ginger

    Posted by Pauline Farmer on 1st Jun 2022

    I brew this with a little fresh ginger after dinner most evenings. It's the perfect after dinner drink.

  • 3
    "Liquid smoke"

    Posted by Justin Seal on 26th May 2022

    The "Liquid smoke" comment was spot on. This tea is like drinking a campfire, and it leaves a Smokey aroma and taste behind in the Infuser and the cup, which lingers if you don't wash everything thoroughly. I give it a 3, because I believe it could really be good in the right amount.

  • 5
    oh so smokey and I love to cook with it

    Posted by Stephanie Frank on 4th Jan 2022

    YES I love this tea but I don't really use it as a drinking TEA although I first tried it for that. but I LOVE brewing a filter bag of this stuff with chicken broth and making some smokey flavored risotto or israli cous cous. It's amazing it adds a smokey flavor w/ out adding salt!

  • 5
    I feel like this belongs in every pantry

    Posted by Catherine Doherty on 30th Jul 2020

    This is my favorite of several Lapsang versions I have tried, and at a reasonable price point. I love this tea hot, and with a little honey, it gives it kind of a honey-bbq flavor profile. As cold brew, the smokey flavors are really balanced, and I will brew it this way on its own or with a cocoa husk tea I get from another supplier. Iced, though, I'm less of a fan. I'm sure someone will like it this way, but to me it seemed to dilute and emphasize the wrong flavors. But I tend to brew my iced teas kind of weak, so maybe I just have to tweak the technique a little more. It's also great for cooking, such as a dry-rub ingredient, or ground down and mixed with cream cheese for a smokey cheese dip. I'm interested in trying it in baked goods at some point, like a scone or cookie. I think its unique flavor profile gives it a lot of culinary potential.

  • 5
    The best of the best!

    Posted by Alison Perez on 24th Jul 2017

    Lapsang Souchong has always been my favorite tea, but this one takes it to a new level! I received Arbor Tea's Lapsang as a gift at first and am now excited to order more! This is my morning tea pretty much every day. It is a great flavor choice for coffee drinkers (I enjoy coffee as well and to me Lapsang is a great alternative!). Flavor pairing tip: I love to brew Lapsang with fresh turmeric root, the flavors blend together perfectly. If you love Lapsang Souchong, look no further! If you have never tried it, what are you waiting for?

  • 4
    Smoky tea!

    Posted by Yen-Wen on 5th Dec 2016

    This cup is certainly a challenge for me. I like smoky foods but this one is beyond what I expected. It's smoky and acidic to me. My first cup was too strong for my taste. Then I tried to use this tea to come up with my own Chai tea. Other spices and the smoky tea are much better together. Without the blend, I don't think I can drink it straight like it is. This is the most unusual tea so far. I'm glad I still get to enjoy it.

  • 5

    Posted by Bryan on 9th Jun 2016

    This stuff is really interesting. When people say it tastes "smokey" they are not lying. I used to drink Yerba Mate imported from Argentina directly where they smoke their Yerba Mate. I was expecting a similar taste that I would describe as "Smokey". This stuff tastes like "SMOKE". You know how your cloths smell after you have out at the camp fire with your friends. Its pretty much identical with an essence of BBQ ribs going on. Taste wise is basically the same. Only got 2 infusions per serving out of this, but if you need to add some chest hair to your teas, this is the way to go.

  • 5

    Posted by Ken on 25th Feb 2015

    This is really strong! I can handle a sip about every 5 minutes, I like it!

  • 5
    That's what I call a Lapsang

    Posted by Melissa on 12th Feb 2015

    This Lapsang carries a very full smoky aftertaste which leaves even a bit of sweetness on the tastebuds. The smell is powerful so store away from other teas! I have been scouring endlessly for 1) an organic black tea 2) a lapsang that carries that full throttle of pine smoke 3) one that DOESN'T taste artificial and 4) is reasonably priced. I bought the 3 oz. and that will be plenty for now. This Lapsang is special because it doesn't leave a 'burnt rubber' taste but more of a 'cured ham' after note. As far as drinking it plain vs. with milk/sugar, I rarely put milk in any tea, but I can imagine this with a splash of unhomogenized whole milk. That raw milk would be a totally kick butt idea. I've put few fresh rose buds (sidenote: I got mine from Lijiang, China, which grows them a few thousand meters high so they pack a STRONG rose punch!) in this Lapsang and it definitely highlights the residual sweetness in the tea. I'm a big fan of drinking Lapsang by itself, and can certainly do so without feeling like I am overwhelmed by the smokiness with this one. I drank a cup about an hour ago, and can still taste the smoke in the back of my throat (not that it bothers me, it actually just makes me feel like I've been smelling really tasty barbeque). It reminds me almost of Laphroaig scotch, so if you're a peet-y scotch lover, I can't imagine any complaints. Overall, it smells strong, has a flavorful and lasting palate, and gets my 5 stars. I also got a hand written note with my order thanking me! I really appreciated that small gesture.

  • 5

    Posted by Lenka on 29th Jan 2015

    I recently ordered this Lapsang Souchong loose tea, and I am very happy to say it has exceeded my expectations. It is the best Lapsang I have ever tasted! It seems very fresh and not too smokey at all, but has a rich complexity in its smokiness. I usually add a large pinch to some Assam to make my pot of tea in the morning. When I run out of my other teas I will try some of your other organic teas. Thank you

  • 2
    VERY smokey

    Posted by Lauren on 7th Apr 2013

    I got a sample of this on a whim, just to see what it was like. It smells exactly like a campfire, which is very nice. But, once brewed, the smokey smell and taste was just too strong for me, and overpowered the tea base.

  • 2
    A Tea for the Adventurous

    Posted by Lukasz M. on 7th Mar 2012

    I have tried so many teas over the years that I wanted to give something very different a try. Lapsang Souchong is as different as it gets. The first time I opened the package I was blown away by the intense smoke aroma. Steeping the tea doesn't diminish the intensity. In fact, the smoke aroma fills the room and the flavor is just as intense. After drinking it on its own (like I do with all of my teas), I decided to do something a purist never does- add milk and sugar. The result is a unique, smoky variation of Chai tea. Even with just a sampler, I still have plenty left. It's just not a tea I'm ever drawn to. It's just too intense for me.

  • 5
    Husband is now a tea convert!

    Posted by Judy on 26th Sep 2011

    My husband loves this tea! I buy it in bulk and he makes his own. This is what he wants on a cold winter night!

  • 5
    Wonderfully different

    Posted by Bill Edwards on 24th Sep 2010

    From the moment I opened the package my taste buds leapt with anticipation caused by the intriguing aroma. They were not disappointed by the taste. I drank it straight--no milk no lemon. The taste is almost sweet. Licorice? I wondered. My son came into the room and asked what the wonderful smell was. For me this will not be an every day tea--I do not want to get used to its flavor. I want to savor it for a special treat.

  • 5
    The Single Malt of Teas

    Posted by Royce Faina on 16th Jun 2010

    This tea is to the tea world what Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is to liquors! My favorite of all time! Russian caravan tea is my second favorite.

  • 5
    Campfire Tea

    Posted by Antony Galbraith on 5th May 2010

    Lapsang Souchong is one of my favorite black teas. I could drink it morning noon and night (if I didn't have to eventually sleep). Not surprisingly I am quite picky about my Lapsang Souchong. I only drink organic black tea which already limits my choices. After trying Arbor Tea's Lapsang Souchong tea I can safely rank it among the best. The flavor is strong and smoky yet light on the tongue. I love drinking this tea as it reminds me of sitting by a campfire underneath a clear starry sky. What a wonderful fragrance. I also enjoy this tea iced. It makes a refreshing alternative to the typical black iced tea.

  • 5
    Lapsang Souchong

    Posted by A fan on 11th Mar 2008

    This is my favorite of all of the lovely teas I've ordered from ArborTeas. It's not for the faint of heart. My sister prefers "more subtle" teas and this one is too much tea for her. But I really appreciate a cup (or two) of this smoky and full bodied tea in the morning at work.

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