Review: Mark T. Wendell Hu-Kwa

Black Tea, Lapsang Souchong Tea, Mark T. Wendell Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The pine-smoked scent was in effect but understated, not blunt."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.8/10
Other Teaviews: Melanie gave it 6.5/10, Sophie gave it 8.3/10, Jamie gave it 9/10
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markwendellhuakwuSo proud are the Mark T. Wendell Company of this tea, that it has it's own category. The Formosan Lapsang Souchong gains its name from the Chinese merchant - Houqua - whom the brand's purveyor had business dealings over a hundred years ago. In honor of this merchant, Mark T. Wendell renamed his "smoky tea" after him; as a metaphor for his integrity. One thing to note, however, this tea is Taiwanese, while the original tea Mr. Wendell named after the merchant was Chinese. I wonder what caused the shift, or whether or not it was an accidental inconsistency?

No matter.

In comparison to other Lapsangs I've put my nostrils to, this did have a lighter smoked scent. While I love the campfire feelings they invoke, some are too heavy on the forest fire fragrance. The best, I've found, smell like the aftermath of a good, stoked fire...and chocolate. Hickory-smoked chocolate. The brown-to-black leaves of this Lapsang Souchong had the smell pegged.

Brewing instructions on the site mentioned to allow "the tea to draw for five and one-half minutes. Stir, and let the tea settle for about one-half minute. Then decant." No mention of brewing temperature, however. I went with a lighter, pre-boil touch to see if that drew a more delicate flavor; 1 tsp in 8oz of water.

Contrary to the site description, this did not infuse to a deep red, rather it brewed to a golden yellow. A comparison on different shades of yellow yielded the color "goldenrod". The liquor resembled that with a slight reddish tinge to it. I'll bet my lighter steep temp had something to do with it. The pine-smoked scent was in effect but understated, not blunt. To the tongue, this was among the finest Lapsangs ever to grace my infantile palate. Most are not known for their subtlety, but Hu-Kwa had floral notes complimenting the woodiness. I love a good Lapsang Souchong, and - so far - this is the best I've tried.

Visit Mark T. Wendell Teas for more information on this tea and many more from their extensive product catalogue.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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