Leafhopper said this black tea from Laos was riddled with tannins so I made a breakfast of huevos rancheros to prime my belly before loading up on what sounded like an ass-kicker of a tea. This and the Laos Somneauk green tea from What-Cha are my first known experiences with Lao tea apart from leaf processed in the sheng puerh style.
I more closely followed What-Cha’s suggested parameters than Leafhopper did with their brew. Two flat teaspoons came out to 3g, so I did my usual 1g:100mL for black teas prepared western style. Brewed with water off the boil.
The dry leaf smells rich with a prune-cherry-tobacco midtone, bottomed out by caramel and orange and topped with chocolate and orchid. The aroma is chocolatey both in sense of cacao nibs and cocoa-vanilla along with cedar and a hint of orange blossom. The sip is pretty dang tannic but not overwhelming. It’s a bold, stout tea that tastes like cedar, oak, fruity tobacco, twigs, spent barley malt from brewing, blackberries, light honey and a kind of powdery-floral cranberry. The mild aftertaste presents with crispy, buttery blackberry-filled croissant, citrus and prune. A second steep tastes more like your basic black ‘tea.’
If I hadn’t known this was from Laos, I’d guess it from Vietnam or Africa but it does seem to have characteristics of black teas from China, however varied they are. It’s not smooth enough to call to mind Taiwanese tea. Overall, I think this would be a fine daily drinker for people who like a sturdy, strong black. It offers some decent, refined flavors to pull it out of the basic breakfast category and the aroma has that chocolatey comfort. For me, I like my black teas kinder to my constitution since I often drink them on an empty stomach.
I do have a fair amount since this was a 50g Mystery Tea. If anybody would like to try a black tea from Laos, let me know!
Flavors: Blackberry, Cacao, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oak, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Plums, Tangy, Tannin, Tea, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood