99

I find it amusing that in my first tasting note for this tea five months I steeped it for 3 minutes. I have since shared this tea with several people, re-ordered the later autumn harvest and am now sipping on the Spring 2012 harvest brewed gongfu style starting at only 5 seconds. But this tea is amazing at a few seconds, 30 secs, 1 min or even 3. I have been infusing it all day, thinking I should eventually move on to an oolong our shu after dinner, but it just keeps on giving, I have no idea how many infusions I’ve done, but I’m now at a minute and a half and is just starting to smell of pine and hickory but still tastes so very sweet.

This spring batch is subtly different from the autumn, even the smell is a bit warmer and floral, while the autumn is cool and dark (yes I sniffed back and forth). It is still wonderfully sweet, malty and chocolaty but that sweetness is a bit different and again I think it comes back to warmth and I agree with the caramel description. It also seems to have less spice than I’ve experienced before. I don’t really get the floral notes in the taste but am excited to taste these different aspects in the Bergamot Rose and the Laoshan Village Chai blends I also ordered.

And don’t worry dear readers this is still the same Laoshan Black we know and love, just with different seasonal elements that I think are worth tasting. Also bumping up the rating, not because of this version per se, but because I’ve enjoyed all its incarnations many times and gotten more infusions out of this today than I have out of any other black tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.

Location

Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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