There’s something about the smell of a campfire in the crisp fall air that makes a person feel content. Whether you have memories of camping with family as a kid and making s’mores or grilling hot dogs on a stick over a campfire, or you enjoy camping as an adult or just simply spending time outdoors in the fall, chances are you’re a sucker for that smoky campfire smell. So thank goodness for smoky teas!
Smoky teas are the perfect fall sip and a great way to easily scratch that smoky itch. We offer several popular smoky tea options with varying degrees of smokiness to suit your tastes. So put away the matches and get ready to light up your taste buds and olfactory senses – let’s steep some smoke!
Lapsang Souchong. The king of the smoky teas, Lapsang Souchong is an ancient black tea from the Wuyi Mountains in China. Because wood was abundant in these heavily forested mountains, it was only natural to smoke the tea like bacon. The leaves were slowly withered to create a complex tea, then the leaves were slowly dried in rooms with a smoky fire below. To fully appreciate all that Lapsang Souchong has to offer – and indeed all teas – try tasting it like we taste teas here at Harney. It’s not pretty, but it allows you to experience all the tastes and smells that this treasured tea has to offer. Get all the tea tasting knowledge you need on our The Proper Way to Taste Tea blog, including a video demonstration by yours truly!
Russian Country. This tea is my grandfather’s take on a classic Russian tea. It’s a blend of four great teas (Keemun, Assam, Ceylon, and Formosa Oolong) with a touch of Lapsang Souchong, giving it a softer smoky flavor than the classic Lapsang. When tea was exported from China, a small portion of it went by boat southeastward from Canton to Europe. The other route was to follow the silk road to the northwest to Russia. The teas that went through Russia were plain and had to survive many months through searing deserts on the backs of camels and mules. Along with the smoky flavor you’ll enjoy muted notes of malt, citrus and stewed peaches.
Gunpowder. While Gunpowder’s hallmark is its sharp, charred flavor, rest assured it doesn’t get its name from how it tastes! Gunpowder tea’s leaves are green and tightly rolled, like a pellet that might have been fired from a musket. Gunpowder is produced almost entirely for export, and for many years it was one of the only green teas available in the U.S. It has an aroma of burnt wood, even ash. It is definitely charred, though it lacks the piney smokiness of Lapsang Souchong. For centuries, Gunpowder has served as the base for Arabian mint tea, sweetened with plenty of sugar. Its strong, charred flavors taste wonderful with mint, but the tea is also delicious on its own.
Black Cask Bourbon. This wonderfully layered blend builds with a base of black tea and – wait for it – Lapsang Souchong for its smoky notes. We added bourbon flavor for a result that is simple and stunning: prominent bourbon notes of vanilla, caramel and smoky oak-cask layered atop a smoky black tea base. It has all the full body and intense aromas of black tea with the rich flavors of a finely aged bourbon, which means you should sip it slowly and savor the experience.
Japanese Whisky. When we got the chance to carry this tea, we got all fired up! Japanese Whisky tea is a rare tea that comes to us from Shizuoka Prefecture. It’s made using the same cultivar as most senchas, Yabukita. During its extensive processing, it is finished with an eight-hour smoking over wood chips made from Japanese whisky barrels. It’s a special tea with mild peat notes and sweet honey undertones, perfect for enjoying outside on a crisp fall evening next to a backyard fire pit.
Murder on the Orient Express. We very much enjoyed bringing this murderously wonderful tea to life! Inspired by the Agatha Christie whodunit and 2017 movie based on the classic novel, this smoky and citrusy black tea also contains oolong tea, jasmine tea and bergamot oil for an exotic cup. It’s no crime to love this smoky tea!