100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
1298 tasting notes

I actually received my Verdant Tea order a couple of days ago, but then I felt a bit under the weather and in a general bad mood for a couple of days. It’s not very conducive to trying new stuff, so I saved it. This morning, after a three hour nap yesterday and a full nights sleep, I’m feeling less worn out, so I gave it a go.

I couldn’t not buy this one. At the same time I bought it with many considerations first. You see, it has been so very hyped on Steepster lately. Everybody and their grandmother has tried it and they all think it’s the best thing north of the Alps. That sort of stuff tends to make me lose interest. Hype is the reason I’ve, for example, never actually watched any of the Star Wars films in full. It’s also (part of) the reason I’ve never read the Hunger Games series and don’t really intend to. (The other reason being that any book that comes with glowing recommendation on the front from Stephanie Meyers does not exactly win points with me. I have tried Twilight. Utter tripe.) I suppose my problem is that I expect I’ll just get disappointed.

So yeah, I ended up buying this one in spite of all of the above because I found the company’s description genuinely interesting, but I am still approaching this first cup with part expectation, part nervousness, part concern, part fear of disappointment, part sceptism, part curiousity and part excitement.

The aroma of the dry leaf and the aroma just when pouring the water on are very close to one another. It’s very sweet and cocoa-y. No, not cocoa. More like chocolate. A sweet milk chocolate. I’m reminded of that choco-milk powder I used to get at my gran’s house as a child. It came in a large yellow box with a rabbit on the front. I’m not sure if she gave me that because she wanted it to be a treat or if she had got it in her head that I couldn’t drink milk otherwise… If the latter, I wasn’t about to correct her, was I? (And that stuff, by the way, looks really strange when served in a coloured glass!) So, childhood association to my gran. This tea is already well on the way to awesome!

The aroma after it has been steeping is different though. Gone is the milk chocolate sugary powder stuff, and now we’ve got something that is much more like cocoa rather than chocolate. It’s a much deeper and more complex aroma. Along with the cocoa, there is also something very grain-y and another note which I can’t really work out how to describe. It’s a sort of inbetween thing of woodsy and leathery, kind of pipe tobacco-y but at the same time, so not like that at all. On top of all that, there is a rather prominent spicy note, but I can’t work out if I think it’s a note on its own, or if it’s just another aspect of that indescribable woodsy, leathery, tobacco-y, not-tobacco-y note from before. How very difficult.

So there’s a lot going on here aroma-wise and the flavour is no different. Actually, I find it very similar to the beloved Tan Yang Te Ji ♥ (which is STILL being held hostage by tax and customs, argh!). Already here I can say that YES, this tea does indeed very much live up to all the hype. Of course, with the Tan Yang association, I might be rather biased. :) It has that same cocoa-y flavour profile, but I find it to be more grain-y than the Tan Yang. It even has that same sort of fruity aspect to it. Not any particular fruit that I can think of, just some sort of generic fruityness.

Another tea I’m reminded of in this cup is Keemun, and that’s because of how strongly the grain-y aspect is coming through. Keemuns are, for me, very grain-y and have a sometimes floral but most times pseudo-smoky aspect to them. This tea makes me sort of try to imagine a Keemun which has been stripped of that top layer. What’s left then? Grainy-ness. Keemun is another very favourite tea of mine.

This particular tea I find to be a mixture of the very best bits of two of my favourite types. The Keemun with the grain and the Tan Yang with the cocoa and fruit-y business. It’s more Tan Yang than Keemun though, which suits me fine because Tan Yang is my absolute all time favourite. And at the same time, this also strikes me as being very much its own. It may taste like a mixture of the two above, but I cannot bring myself to believe that you could blend those two and get this result. Something similar perhaps, but not the same at all.

Generally, it has a lot of what I tend to think of as ‘Fujian-ness’, this tea, but it’s not Fujian grown at all, is it? I need to consult a map and find out where in China Shandong is. Still on the coast but much further north from Fujian, bordered to the north by the Hebei province which is where Beijing is. Funny, I would have thought that with such similarity in flavour profiles they would have been a lot closer to one another. There must be some similar growing conditions in those two areas. Shandong is also just to the north-east of Anhui which is where Keemuns come from. That explains that similarity. I need to explore this area some more, I think. What else grows there?

I see no reason to faff about with points here. This is a solid 100 if ever I saw one. I’ve fallen hard and will be coming back for more.

ETA: Second steep has gone all cinnamon-y! Forget about above comparisons, this is definitely new! I’ve never met a naturally occurring cinnamon note before. (I like it a lot better than if it had been actually cinnamon flavoured too. Not really a cinnamon flavoured fan, me. Uh, as in, not a fan of cinnamon flavoured things, not me being cinnamon flavoured…)

Janefan

I will never read Twilight, and I resisted on Harry Potter for many years, and was doing the same for Hunger Games… but then I finally gave book 1 a try after meeting some people who were extras in the film, and I must say the unique heroine and intense story really grabbed me. I guess I just had to wait for the right time?

Angrboda

I read the first Twilight and thought it was superficially okay. In my opinion it ought never have been turned into a series. That first book would have worked far better as a standalone story in my opinion. I picked up the second book and it took me about a year to get through it, and gosh, did I despise every single character in it. I was fairly blinded by the newness of it with the first book but the second really brought home to me the very many problems there are with that ‘verse. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the last two books read as well, mainly because I’ve heard the fourth one is even more ridiculous than all the others combined, but as I’d rather not have my brain melt and leak out my ears, I probably never will.

I resisted HP for quite some time as well because of the hype, and also I believed it to be primarily for children. It wasn’t until one day I went to the public library and as I was walking up the stairs to the door, a woman walked down the stairs already with her nose in a HP book. While walking down stairs! O.O It’s a wonder she didn’t break her neck. It made me give them a shot, though. Best thing I ever did, I’ve made so many online friends because of those books. :D

I did consider Hunger Games for a while, before discovering SMeyers recommendation on the front, but when I read the back of it, it really didn’t sound much like something I would enjoy regardless.

JacquelineM

I was super resistant to Harry Potter too. I was starting to crack when I was visiting Boston, and was sitting in a cafe filled with Harvard students with ALL their noses in the latest hardback one that had come out days before. It took my friend literally HANDING me the first five books and BEGGING me to read them because she knew I’d love them to actually read them, though. Lord, I’m stubborn!!! I love them so so so so much!

JacquelineM

Oh, and I loathe Twilight. I read the first one because I thought as a future teacher, I should know what the youth of America was wild about. The writing is so poor. I would expect a 12 year old to write better. UGH. This is not even getting into the messages that are in the book. No, no, no, no!

Angrboda

The funny thing about Harry Potter, is that I initially thought it was a kiddie book, and then getting to the last bits of the series and finding out that parts of it are really dark and violent and scary, especially in the final book, but really starting as early as the third. Gosh, was I proved wrong. :)
But at least it got me pulled out of that ’children’s book, therefore can’t read’ thing which is just plain wrong. If not for Harry Potter, I would never have picked up the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage or the Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy, and I love those.

gmathis

I think the best children’s literature is that which an adult and child can enjoy together. Chronicles of Narnia and Redwall come to mind; I have very warm fuzzy memories of enjoying them with my favorite 6-year-old. I’m on a “comfort read” kick and have reacquired several of my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder books … every bit as good as when I read them till the covers fell off in grade school!

Geoffrey

Awesome tasting note. It’s so easy to fall hard for this one. I do believe this is the show-stopper of black teas. Such a captivating profile it has!

Angrboda

Gmathis, I haven’t read Redwall, but I think I might have attempted starting it once only I couldn’t get into it. Narnia and the LIW, though. I loved those. I also enjoyed the series that focused on Rose, written by her stepson (I think), but I’m not sure I ever finished that one.

Geoffrey, thank you. :) It has very quickly taken a favourite position with me. I think I would even put it in as second favourite, just below aforementioned Tan Yang (♥)

David Duckler

This makes me smile! Tea just seems to encourage the discussion of literature and culture in every environment it is present. Wonderful!

I am glad that the humble Laoshan Black is so moving for so many people. I think that the Steepster community alone has single-handedly influenced the family who produces this to keep experimenting and improving. It is only their second time making black tea after all. I try to pass on all the compliments when I am able. I am hoping that they will take it as a challenge to keep getting even better for the Spring 2012 harvest.

ashmanra

If you haven’t read it, I recommend the Ralph Moody books, beginning with “Little Britches – Father and I Were Ranchers”. Wonderful books! Very much like LIW but written by a man.

Auggy

You can’t tell, but I’m clicking the little like heart eleventy-billion times.

SimpliciTEA

On the book topic: I am partial to any movie or book that is in the sci-fi/fantasy
genre, and some of my friends are too (many of us fall into the stereotypical DORK category, well, at least I judge I do).
Some of them (all guys) won’t even touch Harry Potter, let alone Twilight, as if neither are hard-core enough.

Phooey.

I consider myself to be as devoted to Tolkien’s works and the LOR as they come, and yet I really enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s books. I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, but I did see the first movie, and against my own male tendencies to dislike anything overly gushy, romantic, or too ‘lite and fluffy’ (the opposite of hard core, I guess), I liked it. They way I look at it, my friends are simply missing out. No big deal. I’m sure I am missing out on things because of my misconceptions/preconceived notions/prejudices.

And on the tea: Angrboda: It’s amazing how many flavors you can find in this tea. I still have a loooooooooong way to go. But I am learning. Thank you for your detailed experience. So much to explore and experience in a simple black tea! : )

SimpliciTEA

One more thing: some of the coolest characters I have ever read about I ‘met,’ and will never forget, in those books, like Mad-eyed Moody, and Hagrid. And, although I’m male, I can probably identify most with Hermione; she’s great)!

Nurvilya

You write the best tasting notes! So rich and full and informative – you make me want to do research! (and spend money…) Inspiration!

Angrboda

Thank you Nurvilya. How sweet of you. :)

cteresa

This is really really wonderful. Thank you so much for sending me some – though it just might change my parameters of what I want in a chinese black tea.

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Comments

Janefan

I will never read Twilight, and I resisted on Harry Potter for many years, and was doing the same for Hunger Games… but then I finally gave book 1 a try after meeting some people who were extras in the film, and I must say the unique heroine and intense story really grabbed me. I guess I just had to wait for the right time?

Angrboda

I read the first Twilight and thought it was superficially okay. In my opinion it ought never have been turned into a series. That first book would have worked far better as a standalone story in my opinion. I picked up the second book and it took me about a year to get through it, and gosh, did I despise every single character in it. I was fairly blinded by the newness of it with the first book but the second really brought home to me the very many problems there are with that ‘verse. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the last two books read as well, mainly because I’ve heard the fourth one is even more ridiculous than all the others combined, but as I’d rather not have my brain melt and leak out my ears, I probably never will.

I resisted HP for quite some time as well because of the hype, and also I believed it to be primarily for children. It wasn’t until one day I went to the public library and as I was walking up the stairs to the door, a woman walked down the stairs already with her nose in a HP book. While walking down stairs! O.O It’s a wonder she didn’t break her neck. It made me give them a shot, though. Best thing I ever did, I’ve made so many online friends because of those books. :D

I did consider Hunger Games for a while, before discovering SMeyers recommendation on the front, but when I read the back of it, it really didn’t sound much like something I would enjoy regardless.

JacquelineM

I was super resistant to Harry Potter too. I was starting to crack when I was visiting Boston, and was sitting in a cafe filled with Harvard students with ALL their noses in the latest hardback one that had come out days before. It took my friend literally HANDING me the first five books and BEGGING me to read them because she knew I’d love them to actually read them, though. Lord, I’m stubborn!!! I love them so so so so much!

JacquelineM

Oh, and I loathe Twilight. I read the first one because I thought as a future teacher, I should know what the youth of America was wild about. The writing is so poor. I would expect a 12 year old to write better. UGH. This is not even getting into the messages that are in the book. No, no, no, no!

Angrboda

The funny thing about Harry Potter, is that I initially thought it was a kiddie book, and then getting to the last bits of the series and finding out that parts of it are really dark and violent and scary, especially in the final book, but really starting as early as the third. Gosh, was I proved wrong. :)
But at least it got me pulled out of that ’children’s book, therefore can’t read’ thing which is just plain wrong. If not for Harry Potter, I would never have picked up the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage or the Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy, and I love those.

gmathis

I think the best children’s literature is that which an adult and child can enjoy together. Chronicles of Narnia and Redwall come to mind; I have very warm fuzzy memories of enjoying them with my favorite 6-year-old. I’m on a “comfort read” kick and have reacquired several of my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder books … every bit as good as when I read them till the covers fell off in grade school!

Geoffrey

Awesome tasting note. It’s so easy to fall hard for this one. I do believe this is the show-stopper of black teas. Such a captivating profile it has!

Angrboda

Gmathis, I haven’t read Redwall, but I think I might have attempted starting it once only I couldn’t get into it. Narnia and the LIW, though. I loved those. I also enjoyed the series that focused on Rose, written by her stepson (I think), but I’m not sure I ever finished that one.

Geoffrey, thank you. :) It has very quickly taken a favourite position with me. I think I would even put it in as second favourite, just below aforementioned Tan Yang (♥)

David Duckler

This makes me smile! Tea just seems to encourage the discussion of literature and culture in every environment it is present. Wonderful!

I am glad that the humble Laoshan Black is so moving for so many people. I think that the Steepster community alone has single-handedly influenced the family who produces this to keep experimenting and improving. It is only their second time making black tea after all. I try to pass on all the compliments when I am able. I am hoping that they will take it as a challenge to keep getting even better for the Spring 2012 harvest.

ashmanra

If you haven’t read it, I recommend the Ralph Moody books, beginning with “Little Britches – Father and I Were Ranchers”. Wonderful books! Very much like LIW but written by a man.

Auggy

You can’t tell, but I’m clicking the little like heart eleventy-billion times.

SimpliciTEA

On the book topic: I am partial to any movie or book that is in the sci-fi/fantasy
genre, and some of my friends are too (many of us fall into the stereotypical DORK category, well, at least I judge I do).
Some of them (all guys) won’t even touch Harry Potter, let alone Twilight, as if neither are hard-core enough.

Phooey.

I consider myself to be as devoted to Tolkien’s works and the LOR as they come, and yet I really enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s books. I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, but I did see the first movie, and against my own male tendencies to dislike anything overly gushy, romantic, or too ‘lite and fluffy’ (the opposite of hard core, I guess), I liked it. They way I look at it, my friends are simply missing out. No big deal. I’m sure I am missing out on things because of my misconceptions/preconceived notions/prejudices.

And on the tea: Angrboda: It’s amazing how many flavors you can find in this tea. I still have a loooooooooong way to go. But I am learning. Thank you for your detailed experience. So much to explore and experience in a simple black tea! : )

SimpliciTEA

One more thing: some of the coolest characters I have ever read about I ‘met,’ and will never forget, in those books, like Mad-eyed Moody, and Hagrid. And, although I’m male, I can probably identify most with Hermione; she’s great)!

Nurvilya

You write the best tasting notes! So rich and full and informative – you make me want to do research! (and spend money…) Inspiration!

Angrboda

Thank you Nurvilya. How sweet of you. :)

cteresa

This is really really wonderful. Thank you so much for sending me some – though it just might change my parameters of what I want in a chinese black tea.

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Profile

Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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