Virtual Vegan Potluck: a nice cup of tea

As some of you may be aware, today is a big vegan foodfest in the blogging world. Dreamt up and coordinated by the quite astonishingly brilliant Annie of anunrefinedvegan, 66 bloggers are taking part in a virtual vegan potluck.

Each blogger is making and posting about their own vegan dish or drink, chosen from various categories (e.g. starters, salads, mains, desserts).

I chose the ‘beverages’ category and am bringing you a couple of lovely teas. The beautiful teacup below isn’t mine, I saw it on Facebook recently, on Pavlova and Fox’s page. I think it would enhance any cup of tea:

My first tea is perhaps something of an acquired taste, and doesn’t necessarily appeal to the mass market, but if you haven’t tried it I would recommend at least having a sniff.  I believe there are people who like a splash of milk (soy, or otherwise) in this tea, but personally I like it black.

It smells predominantly of woodsmoke, and one heady sniff of it is enough to bring about an urgent desire in me for a big smokey cupful of the stuff. The smokiness comes from the preparation of the leaves as they’re dried over the embers of pine wood fires. As the piney smoke rises up, it infuses the tea leaves lying on racks above the fire, and gives them their unique taste.

Tea no.1 – Lapsang Souchong:

When I was very young I had a Disney game, which consisted of a board painted with Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and perhaps one or two others. Their noses/beaks were made from plastic and stuck out at right angles to the board. The game came with a set of rubber rings, which were thrown at the board, in an attempt to lasso the protruberances which resulted in winning points. I mention this because the smell of those rubber rings has stayed with me through the years, and in addition to the obvious smokey smell of Lapsang Souchong, I detect this rubber ring scent, along with a touch of Creosote and perhaps a smidgen of tar.

I think of Lapsang Souchong as the “Islay malt” of tea, because it has similar qualities to the malt whiskies from Islay (an island off the west coast of Scotland, pronounced ‘eye-la’), which are characterised by a peaty smokiness.

If you haven’t tried Lapsang Souchong, but you like a peaty, smokey whisky, I think this tea might appeal to you. And, vice versa, if you like this tea, you might well also enjoy an Islay malt. If you’re not usually much of a drinker of either tea or whisky, but you can’t pass a freshly Creosoted telegraph pole without inhaling deeply, Lapsang Souchong could add a wonderful dimension to your life.

If, however, none of the above sounds like your sort of thing, perhaps I can tempt you with an alternative. There is such an enormous choice of teas that deciding what to offer up has been difficult, but I thought that since this is an international affair it would be a good chance to highlight something from my native country.

My second choice is another black tea, which is often taken with milk (perhaps soy, rice, or indeed almond) and sugar, should you so wish. Unlike Lapsang Souchong, this is a blended tea (a sort of “Famous Grouse” of teas, to continue the whisky analogy), made up of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan teas. You may have heard of English Breakfast tea, but this might be new to you:

Tea no.2 – Scottish Breakfast:

When I open a new packet of this tea, my senses are awakend to a warm, velvety maltiness, the sort of smell tea had in my youth. I am transported to the diningroom of the house I grew up in, taking tea in fine china cups on a Sunday with my grandparents visiting, a large table laden with cakes, and my grandmother shockingly licking her side plate knife. As a tot, I liked my tea weak and milky with sugar. These days I take it stronger and unsweetened, but if I were to try and recreate those days of yore, the tea I’d choose to do it with would be Scottish Breakfast.

And so, back to the point of this whole business, the Virtual Vegan Potluck.

In theory, there is a chain of all the participating bloggers, one post leading on to another in a set order determined by Annie (the order can be found on her blog here), so that when you click the images below, you will be taken to the previous link in the chain (the ‘go back’ image) and the next link (‘go forward’). However, because people are posting from all over the globe, the timings may not quite coincide. Being in the UK, I’m a considerable way behind Australia but ahead of America.

If you click on the ‘go back’ image below, you’ll be able to visit the page that came before me, Good Clean Food, where you will find another post in the ‘beverages’ section. If you don’t see the potluck post now, perhaps you could pop back later in the day.

And to visit the next blogger on the list, Turning Veganese, the final ‘beverages’ post, you can click on the image below this:

I hope you enjoy all the wonderful vegan fare on offer today, and thank you again to Annie for doing such an amazing job of organising it all!

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72 thoughts on “Virtual Vegan Potluck: a nice cup of tea

  1. Well, now I will have to track down the Scottish breakfast tea. Somehow rubber rings don’t appeal, lol!

  2. This is fabulous! There is always room for tea in my house. How beautiful is that tea cup? I love your descriptions of the teas… you’ve inspired me to try some new tea 🙂 Hooray!

    • Hurrah! Thanks Lou, I hope you enjoy your tea experimentation. Isn’t that teacup beautiful? I would dearly love to have one, but a pretty picture is the next best thing.

  3. Interesting theory about the Lapsang Souchong and Islay single malt connection – Colin loves both! I sometimes put a pinch of lapsang (just one or two strands) in with my normal tea and it is lovely. The Scottish Breakfast sounds good – I must try that.

    • That’s a good idea, popping a few strands of Lapsang Souchong in with normal tea. I think the flavours of Islay malt whisky and Lapsang Souchong have some similarities, and am delighted to have Colin’s tastes back up my theory! Scottish Breakfast is a lovely, homely sort of tea, I think.

  4. Loved your description of both teas. I had a cup of the Scottish Breakfast Tea recently and thought of you as I consumed it. It is malty and velvety, I enjoyed it with a bit of milk. Your analogy of Lapsang Souchong and Islay malt whiskey was an “aha” moment for me…that’s exactly what some single malt scotches taste like to me…my husband loves them, will have to have him try the Lapsang Souchong as I think he’ll like it. Thanks for the interesting post.

  5. Grouse is a great word! I’ve often heard it used in Melbourne and its a very trendy word (which I hadn’t realized) the origins were in the UK (but it does all. Ake sense now!) Love a good cuppa, 🙂 good luck with your vegan pot luck!

  6. Wonderful, Lorna! I love how the smell of the teas evoke such strong memories. I really must get some Lapsang Souchong. I do love peaty and smokey :-). So happy to have you part of the “circle!” Let’s do it again sometime, shall we?

    • Thanks Annie, Lapsang Souchong is definitely worth a try. I just finished a big mugful and it was wonderful (it goes really well with chocolate). If I’m allowed to keep doing teas for these potlucks I could easily carry on until I pop my clogs, there’s so much choice.

  7. Terrific post, as always, Lorna! I am inspired to run out and inhale something, and after that, as it is an unusually cool and rainy day for us here in Georgia, a spot of tea would be just the thing. I will search for these two recommendations–they do sound quite mysterious and appealing!

  8. Lorna,
    You’ve pegged two of my favorite teas! Also love the whiskey analogy. Another of my favorites! Lapsang with chocolate – Divine! (Also like chocolate with my whiskey also;) Can you tell I like chocolate? As always, love your posts lovely Lorna!

    • Stephanie, thank you so much for your encouragement and enthusiasm! I’m having a mug of Lapsang Souchong right now, and have just finished a chocolate bun I made to go with it – lovely. I would love to share an afternoon tea of Lapsang Souchong and chocolate delights with you, perhaps followed by a wee dram. Very nice.

  9. A long time ago, in my pseudo hippy days, my favorite tea was Lapsang Souchong. I used to drink it out of smallish blue flower mugs while practicing the piano. I haven’t tried it recently, so I’ll put it and Scottish Breakfast on my to do list!

    • Thank you Gabby, it’s a great idea of Annie’s, this, isn’t it? She’s a star! I’ve been introduced to so many fantastic blogs today, it’s amazing. Like you, I’m a big fan of desserts, and your raw strawberry cream cake fairly made my mouth water.

      • Aww thanks 🙂

        I used to work in a tea store called Palais des Thes in Dublin. You ever been there?? I know you don’t live near it at all but I fell in love with it when I lived there and I wish the chain would come to Canada. SO many amazing teas! It made me a tea snob though lol

    • Thank you, it’s not mine but I agree it is a very beautiful teacup. There are a lot of teas, far more than I even know about and I make an effort to try as many as I can. It’s a very pleasurable pursuit, though!

    • Thank you Jennifer, I can imagine you would do a lot of tea drinking during your time in England, and you’d learn how to make it properly too, which is a great bonus. The potluck seems to have gone really well, thanks to Annie and everyone who took part.

    • That’s great! I couldn’t function without tea, well, I’ve never tried and I wouldn’t want to risk it. Keep on drinking tea, that’s my advice to anyone and everyone!

  10. Hi there,
    I never heard about the vegan pot luck! It sounds wonderful, although I’m not a total vegan (I still eat cheese). I’d like to try the Scottish Breakfast because I love English Breakfast. I tried the Lapsang Souchong a long time ago and it tasted like burning tires to me (probably the Canadian version) but think I will try it again with soy milk and demerara (older tastebuds!).
    Thanks for the info on the vegan pot luck, I’ll look for it!

    • I’m sorry you missed out on the VVP but perhaps you could join in the next one? Annie’s planning another one later in the year. I’m not a vegan either, or even a true vegetarian, but I do like to have a lot of plant-based food in my diet. Lapsang Souchong is a bit like burning tyres, but then some people like that! 🙂 I hope it improves for you with soy milk and demerara sugar.

  11. My hubby is a tea conissuer. I however just like my tea fruity. I am learning more about making brews out of home grown herbs and such…it is very interesting. 🙂

    Beautiful tea cup you have.

  12. I am really intrigued by Lapsang Souchong…thanks for the tip. I’ll do my best to find some. Would it be better if I drank it out of a fancy cup 🙂 I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy new tea cups.

    • Definitely better out of a fancy cup 🙂 Having said that, I tend to drink mine from a big chunky mug I bought at a Buddhist monastery. Somehow the two seem well matched, but I wouldn’t want to discourage you from purchasing new teacups. A new teacup is a joy to the soul.

  13. What an amazing idea the Virtual Vegan Potluck is! I agree with you about Lapsang Souchong being like Islay malt (I don’t like either of them, really, but that’s just me – ). On the topic of homemade tea, the Amish call any tea made of home-grown herbs / flowers “meadow tea” – I love the name!

    • That is a lovely name, meadow tea. I didn’t know that, thank you for enlightening me. I’m glad to have your confirmation of the malt whisky/Lapsang Souchong connection, and you’re right that the Virtual Vegan Potluck is an amazing idea. Annie, who organised it all, is quite an incredible gal.

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