Laoshan Black has really grown on me — its a creeper that has slowly and quietly nudged its way into my heart and into my tummy, owing mostly to its bright and unique complexity paired with an overall comforting drinkability.
This tea offers a departure from many flavor profiles associated with traditional “black teas”. To me, Laoshan Black tastes closer to an oxidized “rock” oolong than it does an assam, keemun, ceylon etc. To my surprise, the initial few steeps brew an uncharacteristically bright yellow cup, which I find quite interesting as well. Flavor wise, there is a kind of malty/nutty/saltiness present that really sets this tea apart in my mind, its quite delicious.
Many people have commented on the chocolate taste this tea has. Now i’m a fairly staunch chocolate extremist; an 80-100% cacao kind of guy (none of that weak sauce milk chocolate) sooooo… my take on what constitutes “chocolate flavor” is probably skewed from the general public. I’ll admit, I didn’t initially taste chocolate until someone mentioned cocoa wheats. Yes… cocoa wheats is definitely the flavor i’m getting here, almost to a tee (okay, okay: tea).
In my experience, the first one to two steeps, be it gaiwan (~20 seconds) or brew cup (~1 minute) tend to be the best. I do not prefer to rinse this tea, rather i’m “all in”. Later steepings see the tincture move from bright yellow to an increasingly mellow brown and at this point the tea loses some of its unique salty/nutty/cocoa flavor and settles into a more traditional semi-sweet pleasant maltiness. Brews are fairly consistent with regard to body however the intensity of the “cocoa wheats” chocolate flavor can be a bit finicky, dependent on temperature, brew time and sadly, freshness.
Overall excellent tea. Unique, pleasing, comforting and a capable daily drinker with enough complexity to keep things interesting. I will be ordering more.