The last few days have been filled with tons of lightning, rumbling thunder and more torrential downpours. This certainly has been the summer of storms here in New England. I’m hoping that all of this tumultuous weather will herald in a crisp, clear fall season with plenty of sunshine.The plants are just loving this weather, especially the tropical hibiscus and plumeria on our back deck. They feel like they’re home in the rainforest, I think. One of the hibiscus plants is almost 6 feet tall!
On this cool, misty morning, I felt like something dark and smoky. This morning’s cup is a China black Lapsang Souchong named Gao Ji. To be perfectly frank, I’m not a lover of a very smoky tea like a Lapsang but I want to expand my tastes and give it another try. This particular tea is a lot milder than the characteristic smokiness. I searched for the meaning of Gao Ji and found it in a Pinyin dictionary. The translation to English is “high ranking” or “high grade”.
Lapsang Souchong tea, grown in the Wuyi region of the Fujian province of China, is known for its distinctly very smoky aroma and taste. During its processing, the leaves are dried over wood fires which impart that smoky quality to the leaf. In essence, the leaves are “smoked’ in their drying. The story goes that many years ago the tea processing had to be sped up as armies marched through that region so the villagers dried the tea leaves over open pinewood fires.
A new type of tea was born.
Chinese black or “congou” tea is also referred to as red tea. The liquor on this tea really supports that terminology. The aroma is lightly smoky with a hint of chocolate. The liquor is mild, sweet and lightly winey/smoky, reminding me of a very high quality Keemun. It is smooth with only a passing tang in the finish.
The tea appears much darker in my pottery cup. Whenever it rained, a friend of mine always said that it was a great day for a Keemun. In that spirit, I think that this is a great tea for cooler weather. As we enter the second half of August, we are still over a month away from the official first day of fall but I can feel its whisper in the air already.