79
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
114 tasting notes

I find this tea very difficult to understand. I’ve seen the consistently high reviews on Steepster, so jumped at the 5 for $5 sale recently at Verdant. It wasn’t what I expected.

My first tasting seemed to confirm the high ratings. I noted a cocoa flavor, and rated it a 90. However, the second time I tasted the tea, the chocolate had gone AWOL, replaced with a tar/tobacco/shoe leather taste that I didn’t care for. My rating dropped to a 72.

I noticed that my first tasting was gong-fu style while the second was western, so I went back to gong-fu style.

In my most recent tasting, today, I am reminded of one of those MC Escher paintings in which the birds fly left or right depending on how you perceive the background. In my first steep, there was nothing but shoe-leather and tobacco. In the second, I began to see chocolate, but briefly. In one sip, I only taste leather, but in the next, the chocolate suddenly peeks out. I suppose one could view this as exciting or complex, but frankly it is too much trouble for me. My overall rating is still fairly high just because it is a well-structured tea, with good nose, balance, and finish. I simply don’t care for the taste.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Pureleaf

I completely get what you are saying with this one. I’ve experienced the same, however have found that shorter gongfu steepings, with less leaf (strangely enough) produces a dependable chocolatey taste. Definitely different and worth experiencing.

Dr Jim

Pureleaf: Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give it a try.

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Comments

Pureleaf

I completely get what you are saying with this one. I’ve experienced the same, however have found that shorter gongfu steepings, with less leaf (strangely enough) produces a dependable chocolatey taste. Definitely different and worth experiencing.

Dr Jim

Pureleaf: Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give it a try.

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Profile

Bio

Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Green and oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again

Location

Massachusetts

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