91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
403 tasting notes

I brought this to work, which means brewing Western style, which always makes me feel guilty with really nice teas. So, I decided to at least follow David’s direction on how much leaf to use. But then, the steeping time seemed… long, compared to the tea water ratio, so I stopped it a bit early (when there was already a deep coppery-red color to the tea).

That’s probably more than you all needed to know, but it’ll be good for my reference :P Compared to the gongfu style, this tastes much stronger and sharper. As it cools, it tastes more like a dark oolong than a black tea, with a very bake-y flavor.

Still sweet and chocolatey, very little bitterness (but more than there was gongfu style), very drinkable plain. I’m optimistic about later steeps evening out the strength.

1 tbsp leaf, 8oz water

ETA: Steeped this 4 times – the strength was more in balance on the later steeps, but it continued to taste more like a dark oolong than a light black to me. It was good, but I definitely prefer the gongfu method for bringing out all the flavor details.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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