Mr. He's 1st Picking Laoshan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
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Baked Bread, Cacao, Grain, Nuts, Wheat, Chocolate, Sour, Caramel, Malt, Toasted Rice, Cocoa, Roasted, Sweet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
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205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 11 oz / 333 ml

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50 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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50 Tasting Notes

2182 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. :)


Happy birthday! :D


Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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7475 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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416 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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675 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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3230 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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84 tasting notes

Quick Review: I had the first two sessions in a teapot. I had the first session without any distractions. This tea is so perplexed (the aroma, flavor, etc.), that I felt that I truly needed to study the tea intently.

The dry leaf aroma: Cacao, nuts (pistachios?), and wheat/grain/bread.

The wet leaf aroma: Italian Bread(?)

Flavor Profile: Imagine, if you will, fresh bread with a touch of chocolate (literally a smidgen). The mouth-feel on this is nice. It “blossoms” throughout the mouth and throat.


It’s Girl Scout Cookies time, and while working on the second session, I chewed on a Tag-A-Long (peanut butter & chocolate, yes please!); which worked nicely with this tea.

However, I ran out of time to sit and contemplate this third cup, eat cookies, and really enjoy this sample. I plan on buying more to enjoy over and over again. Now I have to run…..Maybe my students will notice that whatever magical brew is in my cup, is the key to my sanity today! Ha-ha.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cacao, Grain, Nuts, Wheat

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

the only two black teas i like are “rose dian hong” by teavivre and “lapsang souchong” by upton tea imports

R.F. Hill

“Lapsang Souchong” is splendid. However, I’ve never had the “Rose Dian Hong.” I’m guessing it’s pretty floral? How’s the black tea notes? Earthy? Smokey?

I’d suggest this one to anyone. It’s different than a lot of black teas I’ve had. This has been a great sampler thus far:

There are a lot of new teas that I haven’t had before, but that makes this more worthy to try. If you’re open to different teas (even black teas), I’d say give it a go. You might find that you like something other than these two (although Lapsang is great tea!).


thanks for the 5 for 5 thing but ill pass :) yeah here is link for the dianhong:

R.F. Hill

I added it to my list. Thanks!

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100 tasting notes

I wish that Verdant made a Dash button for Laoshan Black. I could care less about reordering Tide from Amazon, but running out of Laoshan black is devastating.

This button would have been super helpful now that Verdant has expanded the selection of Laoshan black teas. First picking, autumn picking, gongfu black. Which is is the plain, old Laoshan Black?
I bet on ‘1st picking’, with the vague sense of 1st pickings being extraordinarily good, relating to first prizes an so forth, but hedged the bet by getting a small quantity of the others as well. Unfortunately, the autumn picking was the right one; the 1st picking merely promises the strong flavors of the autumn laoshan without delivering.
Now, after I make a cup of this, I feel perfectly tempted and prepped for the real thing. Yet, I wouldn’t say that this type of teasing is quite the quality I seek in a tea.

Flavors: Chocolate

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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1088 tasting notes

A clear cup and infuser is what I chose to brew this in today (western style) so I could watch the leaves expand. A tea as special as this deserves my time and awareness to truly appreciate the brewing experience. The liquor tastes of cocoa and malt. The appearance is a nice Amber/brown.

I am impatient and the first sips are too hot. After allowing the tea to cool slightly, I finally get to taste the tea. The cocoa and malt are prevalent right away followed by a slightly sweet caramel note. The mouthfeel is full and feels thick to some degree. This was wonderful.

I needed more, so I resteeped this tea at boiling for 4 minutes. This steep was pretty similar to the first I found, with only slightly muted flavours.

I did not have time for a second resteep, so the leaves are cold brewing in the fridge for tomorrow.
Edit: the cold brew of the second steeping leaves was basically muted flavours of that second steep. It wasn’t as magical as the first steep of this tea, but still very delicious.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp

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529 tasting notes

A unique one. I was afraid I had over steepes it when I had to go change my daughter’s diaper but it is fine. Malt. Earth. Slight twig. You can tell just how much thought went into this tea by how easy it goes down. I feel as if that spring water is in my cup as well.

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633 tasting notes

I’ve committed a tea sin.

And I don’t even care.

I’m on this mission to get my stash down, stop hoarding things, and make my cupboard (the real one, not the steepster one) seem less daunting.

So, i drank this to try it out when I got it.
I enjoyed it. But not any more so than I enjoy the normal LB, which is a lot, obviously.

So when I was going through my stash recently, I saw this…relatively new purchase that I had tried once, and enjoyed, but not any more than the normal LB – and I decided to just dump it in with the rest of my LB in its designated LB tin.


Even though it cost more. I don’t even care. Since I didn’t notice a difference myself, I just decided to enjoy it as regular LB. So now it’s all mixed up.

Feel free to judge me, tea snobs! :)


haha that’s a good idea… i prefer LB more :)

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