First off, the leaves smell incredible. This is the greenest, freshest smelling black tea I’ve come across! There is so much life in the leaves. There is a huge hit of sweet dark black licorice here.
I know I won’t get through many steepings tonight, so I’m doing this western style. 3 Minutes/steeping.
First steeping: The color of the leaves and the liquor is incredible – a gorgeous copper oxide toned rusty hue. Scent – This is overwhelming – powdery, like Italian lemon cookies with carmalized sugar tones and – oh! Baking chocolate. And a hint of something like apple blossoms. Taste – Totally blown away. It tastes like powdery dark chocolate. Nutty, carob-y, with a toasted finish. This is so neat – it’s completely unlike any tea I’ve ever tried before. The talk about a coffee substitute for tea could lead here for an interesting discussion. Really unique. Some other time (not this time! Not the first time!) I want to try adding a splash of milk to see how my “tea as coffee” theory works in practice.

Second infusion: Scent – More chocolate, less licorice. A little more toasted, a little milky. Flavor – Slightly more bitter, a touch of astringency at the finish. It actually really works with the chocolate flavors. As a description of the chocolate flavor, it is so full it’s hard to believe that there isn’t actual bitter chocolate added. There’s a little bit of a berry flavor too.

Third infusion: Okay, I totally wimped out here and bowed to the tyranny of taking more ibuprofen on an empty stomach than I really should and drank the third steeping with milk. It was surprisingly good. The milk definitely covered some of the flavors, but it made for a really comforting and bracing drink. This is really too nice to add milk to but… I could definitely see grabbing this as my morning tea, milk and all.

And for the fourth steeping, well… I’m way too tired and so I’m donating the fourth steeping to a soak for my broken finger.
I used up three green tea bags I needed to get rid of, added pan-away essential oil for anti-microbial effects, rosemary, tea tree, frankincense, and eucalyptus. I made a tea of these and then threw it in the freezer to chill. Soaking my finger in this really brought down the swelling and helped a little with the pain. Yay! I’m adding the leaves and the long concentrated final steeping of the Laoshan Black (around 6 minutes with minimal water) for tomorrow.

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Nice fresh description.

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Nice fresh description.

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I’m a writer and as such, am obviously an emotional rollercoaster. I used to drink tea a lot more, but kind of stopped and switched to coffee. Now, after too much stress, I’m completely unable to drink coffee anymore, so I figured tea would fulfill some of my “awake” needs as well as calm my emotions. I’m working my way through a huge selection of samples of pretty much everything, leaving notes so I remember what I like.
I love being adventurous and trying new things, even (especially?) things that sound strange or off-putting. Aside from tea I also enjoy tasting wines. The last really interesting one I tried was a dandelion wine! (And yes, it actually was delicious. Extremely bizarre and herby, but delicious).

I don’t have a set of numerical ratings set down yet, mainly because I’m very intuitive (read: disorganized and opinionated) about how I rate things. Basically, If something is in the 70-85 range, it’s pretty good, totally drinkable. Below that, in the 50-69 range, it was probably incredibly boring. I really hate boring tea. Below 50, I wouldn’t drink it again and might not have finished it (I actually really hate leaving ratings below 50, it makes me feel bad. I’m probably too nice). If it’s above 85 then I really liked it. Super high ratings are reserved for teas that totally blew me away.



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