Up in Smoke
Lapsang souchong is dark-roast coffee’s equivalent in the world of tea. Imbued with the aroma and flavor of pine smoke, the Chinese leaf is not subtle, and some delicate tea-sippers hate it. But for others, drinking a strong cup of Lapsang is the equivalent of sipping a peaty Scotch or dark rum by a campfire. Count me in that category. The cup I’m drinking now is the perfect complement to a piece of rich dark chocolate.
I sourced samples—both of straight organic Lapsang souchong and blends of mixing Lapsang with other tea varieties, spices and ingredients—from The Tea Spot, a Boulder, Colo., company founded in 2004 by Maria Uspenski. The daughter of immigrants who fled from their native Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union during World War II , Uspenski earned a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT before founding EcoSoftware, which she sold in 2000, giving her the capital to start The Tea Spot.