So the Golden Fleece is the only black I’ve actually purchased from Verdant (aside from a sample of Yunnan Golden Buds in the budset tasting kit); the rest are generous 2-3 cup samples provided by David Duckler with my orders. I really love getting to choose my samples – it allows me to try the teas I’m so curious about without gambling on a whole ounce which I may end up having to give away, or end up never finishing.
The first infusion of this one is smooth and dark, with a definite roasted, chocolatey sort of flavour. No real astringency or bitterness, although in comparison to the Laoshan Black, there is a touch, but ONLY because Laoshan Black is unbelievably smooth. The aftertaste here is of rich cocoa, which is… amazing. I feel like I could almost get my chocolate fix simply from drinking this tea and savouring the aftertaste!! I’ll admit – for whatever reason, I’m liking this one more as it cools (it’s at room temp now), because the cocoa notes are stronger. Although there’s a hint of sweetness, it’s definitely nothing like Golden Fleece.
(More notes to come on subsequent infusions.)
ETA: Second infusion (boiling/a bit longer than 3 minutes) was a little strong for me, perhaps because I reduced the water a touch (although it filled my teapot, so that doesn’t actually make sense). Either way, it wasn’t an astringency issue, simply it was just overwhelming, and I’m not in the mood for that tonight. So milk and sugar it is. And seriously?? This actually tastes like hot chocolate! The aftertaste is so cocoa-y. I want to feed this to someone and ask them what they think it is.
ETA again: Third infusion (boiling/3min) is pretty good, but although I drank some straight Laoshan Black tonight, I’m not in the mood for straight blacks, so milk and sugar again. I think I overdid it a touch with the milk though, as the tea wasn’t too strong this time, but it’s good and still cocoa-y. I feel like I might be able to get a fourth infusion out of the leaves as well, but that’s likely it.