Desperate Fury 2019 - Dark Lapsang Souchong (Smoked Black Tea)

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2019 Desperate Fury - Dark Lapsang Souchong
Wuyi Mountains, Fujian, China

The 2019 Desperate Fury is a darker, more astringent traditional lapsang souchong. While lighter on the smoke, it's heavier on the base black tea flavor, making it a little more bitter/astringent.

The Desperate Fury is a fascinating lapsang for its bizarre, intricate flavors. Most traditional lapsangs follow the same pattern of processing: they grow in the Wuyi Mountains, wither over an open pine fire, oxidize in a cloth-covered wooden barrel, then dry in bamboo baskets over a wild pine fire. This one is different and distinct in several facets.

For one, the base tea used is grown in the lower reaches of the Wuyi Mountains, making the tea a little harsher than its high-altitude brethren, giving the base flavor a bit of astringency. Then, the picked leaves are put into a multi-tier smoking device that smoked them with fresh pine wood. Now firstly, the multi-tiered smoker actually withers, oxidizes, and smokes them dry, meaning they never take the leaves out and add them to a barrel. The smoker holds them in for a prolonged smoking cycle, giving them a deep, dark, heavy smoke content that overpowers the black tea flavors innate in the tea. This alone makes it a fascinatingly dark tea, but the kicker is the wood used for smoking.

While most lapsangs use pine branches to give it a snappy flavor of thin, quick-burning wood and pine needles that pop in the fire, this one mixes those with the trunk-wood of pine, bark, and most importantly root-stock of pine trees and trunk knots. The roots and knots give the smoke a crazy heavy flavor due to the thickness of the wood burning, letting it burn slower and longer (thus the long exposure time) as well as tons of resin that burns up giving the smoke a bizarre flavor that never comes out in typical lapsang fires. The additional resin turns this dark smoky tea that sits in the smoker for ages into an even heavier, darker, and more intense tea with this overwhelming smoke flavor that truly captures the senses.

The flavor is a bit astringent and the smoke is incredibly dark, but due to air-drying post-smoke, the tea itself doesn't slap you in the face, and doesn't knock the drinker back like some lapsangs. It's a drink with an almost intimidating presence. It never actually punches you, but you can feel the weight of it with every sip, like this dark smoke looms over you, letting you know it could knock you around any time it wanted. But perhaps one of the most fascinating things about its flavor, inside its intimidating aura, is a tiny, subtle hint of bergamot oil, just the smallest essence of earl grey. Where does this come from? We're not actually sure, but it adds a fascinating little element of bite to this already dark, hardy tea.

The Name

The Desperate Fury is Phoenix Pearl Tea's first barbarian tea! Named for a quintessential ability for Barbarians in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the ability essentially allows a melee combatant entrenched in a bloodrage to get the perfect hit they need on an enemy, allowing them to reroll an attack at the cost of taking some damage. Essentially, the ability means they can, if a swing misses, come back and hit after all at the cost of the enemy getting a hit on them.

That really comes back to fit this tea in that, for one, the Desperate Fury is a dark, angry tea that, as described above, looms over you with an intimidating aura. As you drink it, you feel its presence every step of the way. As you sip, it takes over your senses and fills your mouth with astringent black tea and heavy smoke that lingers in your mouth, making sure you remember it. Even when you take tiny little sips to try to skirt past the flavor, it still manages to get a hit in with that crazy intense smoke flavor, no matter how you approach it. This tea will not take it easy on you, no matter how you try to approach it.

Brewing Suggestions

  • Use 7g (≈1 tbsp) of leaf per ½ liter (≈17 oz) of water.
  • Use boiling (100°C/212°F) water
  • Steep for 3 minutes, strain leaves, and enjoy!
    • Don't forget to try for multiple infusions! Just add time to each steep.
      • For under 2:00 steep times, add 30 sec.
      • For 2:00 to 4:00, add 1 minute.
      • For over 4:00, add 2 minutes or more.
    • Like milk in your tea? Steep an extra minute!
    • Too strong? Take off a minute, or use 5g of leaf instead!
    • Too light? Kick it up another minute, or use 10g of leaf instead!
    • Wanna do a tea latte?
      • Use 11g (≈1½ tbsp) of leaf per ½ liter (≈17 oz).
      • Steep 2 minutes in ¼ liter (≈8 oz) boiling (100°C/212°C) water
      • Add ¼ liter (≈8 oz) hot milk, steep another 3 minutes.
      • Strain leaves, add sugar if you like (1 tsp usually does it), and enjoy!


  • Chinese Wuyi pine-smoked lapsang souchong black tea


We are a small independent operation, and as such we operate inside of our retail space, the Phoenix Pearl Tea Tavern in Red Lodge, MT. We bag teas for orders while also serving in-store customers, including making cups of tea, making food, and selling bulk and retail purchases. Our employees work as quickly as they can, but we don't have a warehouse to operate out of with dedicated employees. As such, orders may take anywhere from 1-5 business days to ship. Thank you for understanding.