This brand new kind of tea is fed by sweet mountain spring water and roasted in the sun for three days before finishing to bring out rich chocolate notes. Mr. He perfected this tea as a proud reflection of the bold Shandong spirit and the perseverance of Laoshan Village. Laoshan black is a labor of love to prove to the world how incredible teas from Northern China can be.
This was one tea I was always hearing about. Verdant's Laoshan Black was almost universally recommended as a stellar black tea. So naturally I had to give it a try. Before I get into the review here, go check out Verdant's new website. Is it not one of the most amazingly designed sites you've ever seen? Seriously, it's awesome. I love how transparent Verdant is with their sourcing. They really want you to know who made your tea and where it came from.
Dry leaves - The aroma coming off the leaves is pure chocolate. Not carob, not raw cacao, but straight-up, rich dark chocolate. The leaves are quite small and twisted into little curls, and are mostly uniform in color.
Brewing parameters - 212F, 30s first, +15s after. This is what Verdant recommended, and while it seems like a very short time for a black tea, it works perfectly.
Tasting notes - Chocolate, cacao, malt, almond, cherry
The aroma profile of the dry leaves carries over nicely into the broth. The taste is primarily rich roasty chocolate with hints of raw cacao, malt, almond, and in the later steeps, black cherry. And it is incredibly smooth. Definitely one of the smoothest teas I've had the pleasure of trying. I expected it to be fairly similar to black teas from Yunnan, but it isn't really at all. Yunnan teas have an inclination to be fairly balanced in between cocoa and malty, sometimes with other flavors thrown in to the mix. This tea is just powerfully chocolatey. I'm not noticing a whole lot of an aftertaste; cocoa lingers in the mouth for a few seconds, but it quickly fades away. I suppose that's really this tea's only downside (if you can even call it that). This tea just keeps on giving too, and will likely last until you're tired of drinking it.
I feel like I haven't written as much as I normally do, which is weird because I absolutely adore this tea. If you're not a fan of chocolatey teas, you'll probably want to give this one a miss. For the rest of us, this one could easily become a top tier brew.
You can buy it at Verdant here: http://verdanttea.com/teas/laoshan-black/