This tea is insanely chocolatey. Even more so than the Zhu Rong Yunnan Black, where the chocolatey notes aren’t initially apparent, they’re present here right from the first taste to the last bit of flavour lingering on the back of your tongue. Like I mentioned in the Zhu Rong review, this one is unbelievably smooth without even a suggestion of astringency of bitterness. None whatsoever. The two teas are fairly similar though; this one’s also a bit sweet, with a roasted flavour (although it’s a bit less dominant here; the chocolate really reigns supreme in this one).
I’d have to say that the Laoshan Black is my favourite of Verdant’s black tea offerings that I’ve tried (the only one I haven’t is the Wild-Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei). Zhu Rong is similar, but I’m partial to this one as it’s more chocolatey. Golden Fleece may yet change my mind, although I think I’d choose chocolate over sweet, and I’m not a big fan of the Yunnan Golden Buds.
Upping the rating; I am only now coming to realize how delicious and amazing this tea is. Sacreligious perhaps, but I’m wondering what this one would taste like with the flavourings Frank used for his Pot O’ Gold tea… Butterscotch with an amazing chocolatey base?? That might just be the best tea EVER.
(More notes to come on subsequent infusions.)
ETA: Second infusion, boiling/3min was fabulously chocolatey as well. I may actually have to order some of this…. Third infusion, same parameters, also delicious. Fourth infusion, boiling/some ridiculous time like 10 minutes or more, still has the chocolate notes, and remarkably no astringency or bitterness, but it’s too weak for me to really enjoy. I should note that I typically reduce the amount of water I use for additional infusions of most teas (especially blacks) just to amp up the flavour, as I often find good flavour that’s simply too weak!