David generously provided this sample to me with my last Verdant order! I do so love a good black tea, so I was quite excited to give this a shot. Especially given how amazing every tea from Verdant has been so far!
Preparation notes: Entire sample in the Breville, 500 ml. water. According to the Western brewing parameters on the site, it was recommended to steep the tea initially for one minute (seemed a bit long but I’m trusting the powers that be with this one), pour it off and then steeped at the below parameters.
The smell of this dry – guh. Gives new meaning to the word cocoa, really. Very fresh cocoa powder with an undertone of fresh earth. That is a smell that never gets old.
The steep, at 4 minutes, is a little light on flavor, but I’m really betting its due to that one minute I poured off (kicking myself so darn hard for that now – ugh!). But I do get a thick oily texture – and it does have a sort of olive/peppery bite to it. And it’s kind of nutty toward the end of the sip as well – most like walnuts I think. For the darkness of the body itself, I was surprised that it wasn’t heavier really. But it is still quite smooth and full on the tongue. It has a brightness to it, too – like a Darjeeling or Ceylon. Maybe that is where people get grape? Given Darjeelings have that quality?
Hmm. I’m not as blown away with this one as the Laoshan black so far, but that is more to personal taste as I love bold, heavy blacks. I’m curious to see where the taste is going to go, though, so I will be trying a second steep tomorrow. I’ll update then!
EDIT: Second steep, 8 minutes. I actually ended up having this cold because I forgot about it before work yesterday :(. But it was not bad – just lighter on flavor. In general I think this just isn’t robust enough for my coarse palate. :) But I’m super glad I was given the chance to try it!