First off, the leaves smell incredible. This is the greenest, freshest smelling black tea I’ve come across! There is so much life in the leaves. There is a huge hit of sweet dark black licorice here.
I know I won’t get through many steepings tonight, so I’m doing this western style. 3 Minutes/steeping.
First steeping: The color of the leaves and the liquor is incredible – a gorgeous copper oxide toned rusty hue. Scent – This is overwhelming – powdery, like Italian lemon cookies with carmalized sugar tones and – oh! Baking chocolate. And a hint of something like apple blossoms. Taste – Totally blown away. It tastes like powdery dark chocolate. Nutty, carob-y, with a toasted finish. This is so neat – it’s completely unlike any tea I’ve ever tried before. The talk about a coffee substitute for tea could lead here for an interesting discussion. Really unique. Some other time (not this time! Not the first time!) I want to try adding a splash of milk to see how my “tea as coffee” theory works in practice.
Second infusion: Scent – More chocolate, less licorice. A little more toasted, a little milky. Flavor – Slightly more bitter, a touch of astringency at the finish. It actually really works with the chocolate flavors. As a description of the chocolate flavor, it is so full it’s hard to believe that there isn’t actual bitter chocolate added. There’s a little bit of a berry flavor too.
Third infusion: Okay, I totally wimped out here and bowed to the tyranny of taking more ibuprofen on an empty stomach than I really should and drank the third steeping with milk. It was surprisingly good. The milk definitely covered some of the flavors, but it made for a really comforting and bracing drink. This is really too nice to add milk to but… I could definitely see grabbing this as my morning tea, milk and all.
And for the fourth steeping, well… I’m way too tired and so I’m donating the fourth steeping to a soak for my broken finger.
I used up three green tea bags I needed to get rid of, added pan-away essential oil for anti-microbial effects, rosemary, tea tree, frankincense, and eucalyptus. I made a tea of these and then threw it in the freezer to chill. Soaking my finger in this really brought down the swelling and helped a little with the pain. Yay! I’m adding the leaves and the long concentrated final steeping of the Laoshan Black (around 6 minutes with minimal water) for tomorrow.