Mr. He's 1st Picking Laoshan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
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Chocolate, Grain, Malt
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
Average preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 oz / 283 ml

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21 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea (Special)

Laoshan Black is our most popular tea, and its success has encouraged Mr. He of Laoshan Village to keep refining his process to make it better every year. This year, as an experiment, he took severlal pounds of his 1st spring picking, normally sold as a green tea for hundreds of dollars a pound to eager businessmen in Qingdao, and processed it as Laoshan Black. Mrs. He was not all too pleased to see her most valuable crop devoted to an experiment, but we are delighted with the results.

This Laoshan Black still has the trademark chocolate, honey and malt qualities of Mr. He’s other Laoshan Black teas, but its sweetness, and creamy texture are extremely refined, thick and lingering in the aftertaste. This is a quiet tea, but one that will steep out for many infusions, delivering some of the most concentrated flavor and aftertaste we have seen in Laoshan tea.

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21 Tasting Notes

1917 tasting notes

I have fallen into that mode where I get so focused on drinking samples and having sipdowns that I don’t drink up the teas I have more of, which are usually my favorites. Well this afternoon I decided F that, it’s my birthday, and I’m going to drink some tea I love. A lot of people have been drinking Laoshan Black today so it was already stuck in my head, but I have the option to take it to eleven.

I actually hadn’t yet broken into the 2oz of this that I ordered… I can’t believe I have two whole ounces of this, but of course it is the only two ounces I will ever have. So glad to treat myself to this one today. Soooo smooth and honeyed. Grains, malt, chocolate, and a bit of spice, like a mexican hot chocolate almost. Deeeelish.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Happy Birthday!


Does it taste significantly different than the “regular” Laoshan Black? Sounds like a good birthday treat :)


I guess I haven’t had a cup of the regular version in a while so it’s a little hard for me to remember, but I think this one is smoother and a little sweeter, and it also has a kind of cinnamony-cayenne note that I don’t really remember from the regular version. But that’s a good excuse for having a cup of my regular Laoshan black sometime soon. :)

Tea Sipper

Happy birthday! :D


Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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4729 tasting notes

sipdown! yeah i figured what the heck. To be honest, i like normal LB better than this version. it’s not bad, but this version has a little bit more…dirt? taste than the other.


90 for ‘a little more dirt taste’ is still quite an amazing score! :-)


Haha true…I love me some LB though…and this is still laoshan black, just a little different :)

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372 tasting notes

Sometimes tea is a mindful, humble, meditative practice for me, and sometimes it is a hedonistic act of self-indulgence. This afternoon it was the latter. I brewed a big pot of this precious tea western style and ate some chocolate-covered raisins with it. I had no one to share it with, so I watched some Futurama. It was a perfect Sunday treat. Now back to work :-(

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I did exactly this,but with golden fleece and yogurt covered pretzels. Lovely sunday!


Yum. That sounds good!

Terri HarpLady

For me this morning it was multiple steepings of Golden Fleece & a baked sweet potato with cinnamon!

Terri HarpLady

I like hedonistic acts of self-indulgence!


Nothing better!


Sometimes hedonistic acts of self-indulgence are the best! Last night I stood in the kitchen for awhile eating dark chocolate salted caramel (yep, amazing) and sipping on 12 year Glenfiddich.


That sounds wonderful! I haven’t tried too much Scotch. I worry that it might become another obsession like tea!


The world of Scotch can be a slippery slope! However, I find that since I can’t drink nearly as much scotch as tea, my obsession stays limited. ;)

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673 tasting notes

REVEW 600…time sips by when I’m drinking tea!

If you’ve lost your way and can’t remember where your journey began, drink very good tea and your memory will return.

Tea Tasting 1
I took the first half of my packet of Mr. He’s 1st Picking Laoshan Black to share with my tea shop friends on a quiet Friday afternoon, just a big snowstorm descended on Old Town.
The flurries were heavy outside while I sat at the tea-bar gloating. I had picked the best time and had the Happy Lucky’s all to myself with Joe, Andy, Eric and Preston to sip tea with me behind the bar.

Eric was Gaiwan Master that evening…pouring for all of us.

We were a loud chorus of tea slurpers, spraying the liquid up and around the inside of our mouths to insure a contact to every tastebud.

Andy (who is the main tea blender and manager of the shop) was the first to comment on how much the tea reminded him of sweet, malty Brewery grains (reminder that this is a Brewery town and within walking distance of the teahouse are many breweries such as New Belgium, Odell, Equinox, Fort Collins, FunkWerks, Pateros, Coopersmiths).

These young men became very animated, curious about the flavor of the tea and the malty, grainy quality that smelled like their other favorite beverage besides tea and a dessert pastry.

I was not paying close attention to what Preston was doing with the Gaiwan, so I missed his comment that he was going to steep the tea leaves longer.

He steeped them a full 2.5 minutes! Espresso strength!!

Wow! I had no idea until I took a sip and… my eyebrows stood on end!

The flavor was fantastic! Everyone liked it!

A condensed, huge, BITE of tea packed with fruit, grain, sweet malt and caramel that lingered on and on as though I had popped a truffle in my mouth and let it melt!

Eric commented that in all his years of drinking tea, going from Black Tea to Green, then Puerh, it’s ‘Hand Crafted Black Tea’ that’s bringing him back to his first love.

I went home, intending to write a review, and got a bad cold!
I’ve been absent for the past week or so…sick, sick sick! I don’t write reviews when I can’t taste tea.

Now that I’m well, I’ve had a chance to think about Mr. He’s Tea.
One thing that I love about regular Laoshan Black is drinking it Western Style and not Gongfu (not using a Gaiwan). So, I asked myself, what if this 1st picking was better Western Style also?

Tea Tasting 2
Using the rest of my packet of tea, I prepared a small pot for Western Style Brewing.

(Laoshan Black Leaves are long and wiry,the 1st picking are almost like rolled oolong, curled up tight and smell peppery-savory)

As much as I enjoyed the previous Gaiwan preparation with my friends, I have to say that the teapot brew tasted better.
Laoshan Black is more chocolate and grainy tasting than Mr. He’s 1st Picking, which was also smoother with caramel. This tea tasted similar to Golden Fleece.

In my 600 reviews here on Steepster I’ve learned from all the people here (including the many tea vendors who so lovingly teach about their tea’s).

I could probably give up tea easier than I could give up the people I’ve met here on Steepser, and that’s the truth!

Thank you!


congratulations Bonnie! I’m looking forward even more now to cracking open my package of this tea. Not that the words i use will do it the justice that you have :)


I hear you Bonnie… and I truly believe in the last two lines of your review :-)


Congratulations & thank you!

Marcel Duchamp

Always appreciate reading your reviews :-)


You guys are the best!


We all love you on here!


right back to you!


we love you and your reviews here Bonnie !

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2861 tasting notes

7G + 4oz (rinse) X 10sec
I know I keep saying this today about every tea I’ve drank so far, but this is just what I needed! We’re going through a little stress in my family right now, & I’m finded myself exhausted & in need of nurture. The best ways I can nurture myself (so that I have it within me to nurture my family) is by restings, eating well, doing my yoga, & keeping on track. This includes drinking teas that energize & inspire me (and also teas that help me to relax & unwind, but that’s for later).

I love Laoshan Black. It’s so good, with it’s honeyed chocolate maltedness & I enjoy trying different incarnations of it. This one is quite tasty & elegant, but I must admit, I prefer the ‘original’. Still, it makes for a wonderful Gaiwan full of goodness, & I’ll continue sipping from these leaves until they have nothing left to offer.


Every time you review one of these i’m reminded that i need to open my bags. I just don’t want to do it until i get some of my already opened bags sipdowned. bah!

Terri HarpLady

I keep reminding myself, tea is for drinking, not hoarding!
I don’t want to end up on that hoarders show!


lol i can’t drink it fast enough to not come across as a hoarder haha me other half keeps telling me i just need to open a tea shop. I told him maybe when i retire or when i have kids ;)

Terri HarpLady

I’ve actually thought about moving my teaching studio & office out of the house into a little hole in the wall where I could serve tea in the front during certain hours, & teach students in the back. It would probably make me a more effective business woman because I’d actually have to leave my house to work. The rest of my time there would be spent practicing, updating my website…you know, all the things I’m suppose to be doing when I’m hanging out at home in my pajamas, LOL.

Terri HarpLady

I drink several cups of tea everyday, & when I’m drinking by the mug I can go through several, but once I break out the Gaiwan I go through tea slowly too, since I can get so many cups of tea out of one session! I’m starting to really like my file box system for the TOMC, TOMCR, Shengs, & Shus. I just drink whatever is in the front, & then move it to the back.
Of course, if I’m craving something I can always pull it out of the lineup!

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93 tasting notes

Finally done logging everything that came in the order!

This tea is similar to regular Laoshan Black, with less obvious chocolate notes, but still quite rich and mellow. It’s slightly smoky, subtly sweet, and has a malty, grainy fragrance that makes it quite a refulgent experience. If I remember correctly, it’s more complex than regular LB, because the chocolate being less insistent helps everything else come through. There’s also a freshness that’s almost reminiscent of Laoshan Green.

I had been having some trouble making an enjoyable cup out of this tea, and today I finally stopped overthinking it. I used the old tiny kettle, stopped before full boil, and brewed up a mug without really being particular about proportions or temperature, instead just going with what I was habitually used to. And it was perfect. I think there’s something to be learned here…

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35 tasting notes

Very similar to the laoshan green in flavor. The green is a spinach and mushroom salad, while the black is more of a spinach and mushroom crepe with sort if an aged cheese flavor added on. I’m enjoying my first steep so far

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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678 tasting notes

Fancy LB! I just ordered an ounce of this one.

I think a comparison is definitely needed. Which reminds me I want to do a comparison between LB and Fujian. Perhaps all three at once!

This one has all the delicious qualities of LB, and they could be more enhanced, but without a side-by-side I can’t say for sure. However, this is certainly an enjoyable cup.


I ordered this too! Haven’t tried it yet though


i like this one less than regular LB but i haven’t compared this seasons against one another yet.


Likewise, Sil.

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103 tasting notes

Spring 2014 version

Dear Mr. He:

Thank you so much for picking this tea. Like the dearly beloved “regular” LB, this smells and tastes like like roasty chocloate malto meal. It is a sweet, malty cocoay cup of comfort and I’m very glad that I get to have some.

Having said that, I believe I love my regular LB just a little bit more. There is a little more depth and body to the later pickings I think. I really and truly appreciate having both and the opportunity to compare the nuances and subtleties. I love that Verdant finds and supports the tea farmers to bring us these sips of lusciousness.

This is a perfect cup of tea to have pretty much any time and I’m really enjoying it (much too early) on this Sunday morning.

Flavors: Chocolate, Grain, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

Oh, glad I just went for my regular LB on last order then.


regular LB> 1st picking but they’re both pretty good.


Yup. I am enjoying my cup of regular now. So tasty.

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13 tasting notes

My first sip ever of the esteemed LB and did someone ever mention CHOCOLATE! Wow, can’t wait to see how this cup finishes, but from one sip I am a fan. Yes, this is on my keeper list.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Glad it didn’t disappoint!


absolutely no disappointment, but having not read any tasting notes on it, I was totally unprepared for the richness of this tea. Quite a special tea for special occasions.

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