95
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2246 tasting notes

David very kindly included this, at my request, as a sample in my last Verdant order. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a straight black loose-leaf tea before, so this will be a new experience! I really felt like trying it tonight because of the Chocolate Chamomile Curiousity Brew I had yesterday and today that has Laoshan Black as an ingredient.

I accidently brewed this with less-than-boiling water; hopefully that won’t be an issue. I’m not sure what the temperature was exactly, but somewhere around 200F. ~5g of leaf in my 250mL infuser.

The aroma of the steeped tea is very malty and bakey. Perhaps slightly sweet, but only just. I’ll admit that when I initially smelled it steeping, it almost smelled icky and fermenty to me. I’m not sure where that was coming from, and I still get a hint of it, but I can deal with it.

The flavour is definitely very baked-goodsy, ending with a sweetness that reminds me of… malted barley? Beer? Oh, perhaps that roasted malted barley they use for “chocolate” beer? (I did try some, on a recent brewery tour.) Actually, that’s kind of what the whole sip tastes like. I’ll say that there are some hints of flavour that remind me of, say, a standard bagged black, but it is much different, and a pleasure to drink unaltered.

Oh – I should note that there is not a hint of bitterness or astringency. None.

Also just realized I lied :D My first loose leaf straight black was actually from the DavidsTea advent calendar – David’s Organic Breakfast. Although I think that was a blend.

Anyways, this exceeds my expectations for a straight black tea! It’s complex and interesting, malty and a bit sweet. I don’t think I’d be likely to order this or keep it on hand; I’d more likely go with a flavoured black, but I’m SO glad I had the chance to try it and know what all the hype was about! I can definitely see why black tea lovers like it; my palate just prefers oolongs and greens :)

ETA: Figured I’d go for multiple infusions the next day. Why not! Second – boiling water, 3 minutes. The flavour is pretty similar, just a bit weaker, but still quite tasty. I’m definitely getting a burny sort of flavour this time; don’t recall it from last time, but my memory isn’t great. This is also still quite smooth, except at the end of the sip there’s a lingering sharp bitterness in the back of my tongue/roof of my mouth. Haven’t experienced that before. It’s a little odd. Third infusion – boiling water, 4 minutes. Considerable loss of flavour, although it’s still the same flavour that’s there. Same weird lingering bitterness. I should note that it’s not a problem though, and it’s nothing like the bitterness from oversteeping, although that could be the cause? I don’t think this tea has anything left now though, but I think it’s good for two solid infusions!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!

Azzrian

Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!

Kittenna

Haha, I know. Had I a bigger sample I’d pass some on (in a future swap, as per our discussion :P).

Bonnie

If you get another chance try sweet with milk for breakfast using boiling water. Excellent morning brew!

Kittenna

I think I might have juuuust enough for two more cups, so should be able to try it that way!

smartkitty

This tea is so delicious iced. Save a steep to stick in the fridge! Naturally sweet and delicious.

Kittenna

Oooh. I should try that!

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Comments

Azzrian

Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!

Azzrian

Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!

Kittenna

Haha, I know. Had I a bigger sample I’d pass some on (in a future swap, as per our discussion :P).

Bonnie

If you get another chance try sweet with milk for breakfast using boiling water. Excellent morning brew!

Kittenna

I think I might have juuuust enough for two more cups, so should be able to try it that way!

smartkitty

This tea is so delicious iced. Save a steep to stick in the fridge! Naturally sweet and delicious.

Kittenna

Oooh. I should try that!

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Bio

I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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