From campfires to misty forests, The Tea Centre is cutting through the haze to give you the best overview of smoked teas!
Whether it was through your local tea store, books or a lyric in a rap song, many people have heard about ‘smoky teas’ and ‘Lapsang Souchong’. But the knowledge usually stops there, whereas there’s still a whole world of smoky goodness to explore!
To help you take the plunge into this exciting family of teas, The Tea Centre has compiled the most commonly asked questions about smoked teas and answered them below.
What is smoked tea?
Simply put, it’s often black tea that’s been smouldered over a woodfire. Traditional sips like Lapsang Souchong and Russian Caravan are smoked over pinewood, but any quality fruit or nut-bearing firewood works well.
A more contemporary example would be Smoked Redgum, which we smoke over river redgum chips! Blenders choose fruit or nut-bearing wood because the tea will take on the tasty characteristics of the tree’s offshoots alongside that classic campfire taste.
For instance, Smoked Redgum is thought to taste smooth and sport an aroma not unlike honey-glazed bacon! This is because redgums flower sweet gum nuts. Redgum also naturally produces its own nectar that’s then turned into honey by Australian bees.
Moreover, while some tea varieties like Hōjicha and Gunpowder taste smoky, they are not smoked teas. This is because we do not smoke their leaves over firewood. Instead, they achieve their smokiness through roasting the leaves (Hōjicha) or rolling the leave tightly prior to wok-frying (Gunpowder).
How are smoky teas made?
A properly smoked tea (no smoke flavour additives) will also be cold smoked. This is where the temperature of the smokehouse does not exceed 100॰C.
In addition, we soak the redgum chips that we use for Smoked Redgum in water prior to smoking to ensure that the black tea does not burn or shrivel—only smoulders—over the smoking time.
What are the benefits of smoked tea?
The main benefit of this tea type is its irresistible taste! If you’re the type of sipper that’s easily bored of English Breakfast, a quality smoky tea will always surprise the taste buds.
Moreover, every smoky tea carries its own complex flavour profile depending on the wood it’s smoked over. On top of that, blends like Sir John tea contain a myriad of taste components due to the addition of extra peels and florals.
In terms of food pairings, smoked teas go fantastic with protein-rich albeit light-savoury meals like fish and salads. Given these teas are literally smouldered over fires, you can bet that they’re super warming too! For this reason, these teas are a great go-to during the winter months.