Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's What: Lapsang Souchong

We get an idea of how awkward Miss Eells is in preparing her hot plate and kettle for tea, including the ordeal of sweeping up sugar and trying to remove the lid off the Lapsang Souchong box [The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn; 15-6].

Lapsang Souchong is often referred to as “black tea” or “smoked tea” because “after plucking, the leaves are withered over cypress or pine wood fires. After the rolling process, they are placed into wooden barrels until they begin to emit their own pleasant aroma. As a final step they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on racks over smoky pine fires where they dry and absorb the essence of the smoke.” [source: stashtea.com].

The combined odor and taste are noted by Anthony, who "didn't mind" the smoky and strange taste: "He just like the idea of having tea with Miss Eells. It was a warm, friendly thing to do. [16]"

Besides being the favorite of Miss Eells, the tea is thought to be the preferred beverage of Sherlock Holmes; however, while teas are mentioned throughout Doyle’s stories nowhere does he name Holmes’ favorite variety.

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