Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong - smoked tea is better than smoking tea!

If you’re in the mood to consume tea, there’s a very good chance that you’re going to drink it. That almost goes without saying. But drinking tea is not the be all and end all of tea consumption. As the growing number of tea-related cookbooks will attest to, you can also consume tea as an ingredient in a wide range of foodstuffs, from savories to sweets.

Or you can smoke it — or even take it as snuff, for that matter. And it’s right about here that we’ll pause for the disclaimer. We don’t necessarily encourage or even suggest this sort of thing, but if you absolutely must give it a whirl, be sure to proceed with caution.

If you’ve ever had the urge to smoke tea, rest assured that you’re not the first one. There are actually a number of patents on file that cover this offbeat use for tea. Take, for example Kouzou Kobayashi’s Tea-containing Tobacco, which was patented in 1987 and which combines tobacco, green tea and various other vegetal substances. A patent for a green tea-based cigarette, almost two decades later, suggests mixing green tea with either tobacco or cinnamon and suggests that various compounds in the tea will tend to cancel out the ill effects of the tobacco. A Tea-Based Smoking Product, patented just last year, simply uses tea leaves treated with glycerin.

If it’s snuff that floats your boat, then you’re also in luck. In 1989, one Lori J. Davis patented a “substitute for oral smokeless tobacco and method of making the same.” As the patent documents explain, this is “A method of making a substitute for oral smokeless tobacco comprises the steps of applying a coating of binding agent on fragments of tea to form a cohesive material and moistening the fragments of the tea sufficiently to form a compact mass which is dissociable into portions of selectable size by hand-pinching the mass. The resulting composition resembles genuine smokeless tobacco in appearance, texture, tactile response, and mode of use.”

If that’s not enough on tea smoking for you, then you’ll be happy to know that you can go to YouTube and access quite a few videos of people smoking tea. Who knew?

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