ORIGIN OF BLACK TEA

Lapsang Souchong Influenced The World

For the tea lovers who cherish their Black teas such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Assam Black, the origin of this favorite cuppa traces back to this remote region just north of the Stream of Nine Windings in Wuyishan, Fujian province of China. 

Nestled in these misty mountains is an ancient village where tea-makers invented Lapsang Souchong, the progenitor of the world’s Black teas.

wuyishan landscape tea fields panoramic aerial view
For the tea lovers who cherish their Black teas such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Assam Black, the origin of this favorite cuppa traces back to this remote region just north of the Stream of Nine Windings in Wuyishan, Fujian province of China. Nestled in these misty mountains is an ancient village where tea-makers invented Lapsang Souchong, the progenitor of the world’s Black teas.
Robert Fortune tea spy traveling in mountain sedan chairs china

A sacred botanical wonderland, this region was the epicenter of the greatest tea raid in history in the mid-1800s. For centuries, this Wuyishan nature preserve attracted an endless cadre of European plant hunters and tea spies.

Today, this nature preserve is still off-limits to foreigners. We were able to gain exclusive access and interview Mr. Jiang on site. We also captured forbidden footage of the traditional smokehouse that created the storied Lapsang Souchong Black tea in the early 1500s.

So how did the British steal the tea-making secret from Wuyi Shan and other regions so far inland from the coastal ports, where foreigners were banned during the mid-19th century? This made a fascinating chapter in 9 DRAGONS TEA, which I nicknamed “Tea Raider of the Lost Pot.” Be sure to sign up for our mailing list for exclusive screening updates.