Scorching Burst - Fiery Lapsang Souchong (Smoked Black Tea)

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Vigilante - Broody Lapsang Souchong
Fujian, China

The Scorching Burst is the most hardcore lapsang we carry. It has an astringent body that, while not necessarily heavy or dark, is absolutely loaded with crazy amounts of smoke. Has fascinating notes of mint and tiny hints of cinnamon and clove if you can taste them through the smoke.

When it comes to lapsang souchong, smoke is key to the flavor. Not everyone craves heavy smoke, which we account for with a selection of lapsangs, but for those that can't get enough smoke? The ones that yearn for a bonfire in a cup, a pillar of smoke distilled down to a liquid, something so heavy it feels like you're breathing in a pyre? Well the scorching burst is for you.

The Scorching Burst is a lapsang unlike the rest insofar as it is not actually Chinese! Some say in order for lapsang souchong to count as lapsang souchong, it must come from the Wuyi Mountains, grown on Chinese soil. But we aren't quite so prescriptivist. This Taiwanese black tea comes from Nantuo province and is made just like any traditional lapsang, but comes from the modern Taiwan Tea No. 18 (designed by the government subsidized Tea Research Extension Station in the Sun Moon Lake tea-growing region of Nantou County) designed specifically for black tea. It is a hybrid of traditional Indian Assimica leaf with the wild-grown Taiwanese mountain tea plants. Also called "Red Jade," it was created specifically for growing demand for black teas, as Taiwan has historically stuck to its oolong classics.

Red Jade tea tends towards a medium-dark body with mild astringency and has forward notes of mint with undertones of cinnamon and clove. All of these notes come through in the Scorching Burst, but all fall in behind the crazy pominent flavor of the traditional lapsang souchong smoking process. Falling in with the old-school Fujian processing, which involves withering the leaves over wild pine fires, then oxidizing in a cloth-covered barrel, then smoking dry over fresh pine wood fires, this one twists it ever so slightly to a Taiwanese style.

The initial withering is done over a blend of pine and oak wood, then it is pan-fired like a green tea or oolong, then, just like with oolong, the leaves are hand-rolled into thin needle-like strips. Once rolled, the leaves are pressed into a wooden barrels and allowed to oxidize, just like the Chinese style. However upon oxidizing, they are once again rolled into tight strips, then hung in bamboo baskets over pine boughs, following traditional style.

This process gives it a rich and robust smoky flavor that, thanks to the fact that the leaves are smoked both before and after rolling, makes the smoke pack far, far more of a punch than any of our other lapsangs. Like a tieguanyin carries flavor from cup to cup as it unfurls with every steep, this lapsang unrolls faster, but just unloads unreal amounts of smoke buried deep within the leaf. The combination of oak and pine in the pre-roll smoking gives it a heavy, intense smoke that is locked into the leaf during the pan-firing, then stored upon rolling. Then the classic pine bough smoking after rolling gives it that quintessential lapsang pine-smoke bite that comes from the thin branches and the pine needles that pop in the fire.

The result is a crazy intense lapsang with a heavy body, overpowering smoke with layer after layer of smoky flavor that never gives up, and enough interesting flavor behind it that once you're adjusted to the smoke, you can start to notice the notes of mint and spice innate in the tea leaf itself. This is a lapsang for lapsang enthusiasts, and we would not begrudge any fan of black teas that isn't used to lapsangs for skipping over this one. It's intense, it's a lot, and the smoke is utterly unrelenting. This one is truly a pillar of fire dropped right in your cup.

The Name

Scorching Burst is a classic Wizard ability dating back to as far as we can remember in D&D, and never has a tea been more deserving of its name than this one. The spell, which drops a giant pillar of fire on the battlefield with an unrelenting explosion, is a must-have in any combat wizard's toolkit. This tea is absolutely the drink equivalent: a hardcore pillar of flame that hits hard, burns its taste into your mouth, and just erupts with smoke with every single tiny sip. This is more than a campfire or a bonfire, this is absolutely a pillar of fire from the heavens brought on by a wizard with a grudge.

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!


  • Smoked Taiwanese Nantuo 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.