Phoenix Fire 2016 - Guava-Smoked Black

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2016 Phoenix Fire - Guava-Smoked Black
Satemwa Estate — Thyolo, Shire Highlands, Malawi

So if you've had Lapsang Souchong, you'll have a rough understanding of what's at play with the Phoenix Fire. While lapsang is a very traditional Chinese black tea smoked over a wet pine fire, this is a little more... experimental.

Satemwa Estate, a Malawian tea estate, has fields of tea hedges (like most do), but also harvests from older tea trees. However, the trees tend to attract burrowing bugs in the bark/trunk of the trees, which can be detrimental to its health. To combat this, they set up controlled fires around the trees to smoke the bugs out. They use guava wood, because of how plentiful guava trees are in the area.

The Phoenix Fire is a batch of whole-leaf black tea grown on this estate hung in baskets all along the trunks of the tea trees while they're being smoked! So while the guava wood is burning, smoking the bugs out of the tree, it's being filtered through these leaves which hang in the smoke longer than a traditional lapsang might. The result is completely unique, fascinating, and a bit out-there.

Most people compare a lapsang souchong to a campfire. This one taste more like a wildfire, something wild, primal, and out of control. It's rich, smooth, and smokier than any lapsang our tea masters have ever tasted. Get this while you can, though, it was a small batch!

This is a single-estate tea from the Satemwa Estate in the Shire Highlands at an elevation of 1 km. It's a 3rd-generation independent tea & coffee estate established in 1923

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!
    • 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 10g (≈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!


Smoked Malawian Thyolo black tea.