Topic: What is Lap-sang?

Am I the first to land on red tea board? Yeah!! :D

So here is a question about Lapsang Souchong(正山小種). Here is what I know about it: In Chinese, it's called Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Xiao Zhong = souchong. Shan = Mountain. Zheng means authentic. This tea is from Wuyi Mountain region. In Wuyi, they used to call the tea produced in their place "authentic mountain variety", and tea from other places "Wai Shan"(外山). Wai means outside, alien. Same old thing about "mine is good, non-mine is weird", Hehe...

Sang means Mountain; souchong means small variety; Lap is Lap.

So what is Lap Mountain? Is Lap Mountain same as Wuyi Mountain? I couldn't find the answer. I saw quite several articles saying "Lapsang souchong is Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong", but none of them bother to further explain what Lapsang - Lap Mountain is.


Re: What is Lap-sang?

Lapsang Souchong is a Fujian dialect calling Zhengshan least that's what I heard..:O


Re: What is Lap-sang?

There is no Lap Mountain. The answer is this article: … -souchong/

Re: What is Lap-sang?

Thanks Charlie and Ed! The 7 cups article is very nice!

Some article mentioned the word lapsong souchong is Cantoese word, but Charlie you are right it should be Fujian word. I got a Cantonese reading the word to me and it sounded very different from "souchong" :D

And I got hold of a Fujianese and here is what he said about lapsong souchong:

Souchong is from Hokkien (Fujian or southern Fujian) word "小种", and "Lapsang" is from Hokkien word "内山". The "p" in "Lap" is 入声韻尾.

My note: "内山” (nei shan) is inner mountain, which is opposite to Wai Shan (outer mountain). And 入声韻尾 he mentioned is some pronunciation phenomenon that happens frequently in local dialects of Guangdong and Fujian, but not in Mandarin.

His answer makes good sense to me because I did notice many Fujianese pronounce "L" and "N" in the same way. So "Nei" -->"Lap" is very possible.

But he also told me that he didn't know much about local dialect of northern Fujian. Fujian is a very small province yet with dozens of very different dialects. So I have no idea if lapsang souchong is same as local pronunciation from Wuyi region. However, it's very possible it's just southern Fujian pronunciation, because when lapsong souchong was first exported, the main port cities are in southern Fujian.

The name is not a big deal, but it would kill me to keep wondering about it :-p


Re: What is Lap-sang?

Bringing this thread back, because I've been thinking about it recently.

The Art of Tea issue 10 claims it comes from the Fuzhou dialect, and says that it's lap / le (for pine) and sang / xūn (熏) for smoke. However, from asking around, so far, 松 is the only word for pine I can find - I'm not sure if there's another word that only exists in local dialect, or an antiquated word for pine. I think the suggestion that it's Fuzhou dialect (rather than the dialect in the production area) is what they're implying too, presumably because the tea was exported from there.

The article also mentions that the original categories were 正山 (zhēngshān) and 外山 (waìshān), I think implying outside the scenic area, not just 'outer mountain'. From the article:

Art of Tea, Issue 10, p 8 wrote:

Later, teas were classified Real Mountain Zhengshan and Outer Mountain Waishan, in order to distinguish between local and foreign teas.

The original production area of Zhengshan Souchong [read xiaozhong] is Tongmu village, located in Xingcun Chong'An County, Fujian province, principally in the area of the nature reserve, whereas Waishan Souchang, also known as Fake Souchong, refers to the teas grown in Jiangxi, Zhenghe in northern Fujian and Tanyang, etc.

(The article gives all these names in pinyin, with no characters or diacritics)

Usually in modern usage, people seem to specify when zhengshan xiaozhong is the smoked variety.

In any event, it's clear that the Wikipedia suggestion that 拉普山 is anything more than an approximation of the phonetic sound is incorrect. If we can ever figure out for sure where the name comes from, I'll try to update the Wikipedia page.

The article also discusses the traditional production methods (involving a multi-story traditional building (qinglou) in which the same fire passes through multiple stories, and is used for different steps in the process. According to the article's author, the dried longyan aroma should persist beyond the first few infusions.

Re: What is Lap-sang?

Edit: Seven Cups link above is dead, but did find this link on their site. I can't speak to its accuracy, but it does seem to agree with 'lei xun' for 'pine smoked'