Laoshan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Wood, Honey, Molasses, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Tannic, Cotton Candy, Graham Cracker, Green Beans, Sweet, Toasty, Umami, Wet Wood, Graham, Wood, Chocolate, Cream, Honeysuckle, Toffee, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Malt, Nutty, Smoked, Smooth, Marshmallow, Flowers, Roast nuts, Cherry, Creamy, Fig, Fruity, Grain, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Apricot, Nuts, Oats, Peach, Broth, Tea, Brown Toast, Roasted nuts, Earth, Licorice, Peat, Plums, Butter, Toast, Wheat, Dried Fruit, Stonefruits, Rose, White Grapes, Coffee, Rum, Salt, Smoke, Oak wood, Cacao, Stewed Fruits, Black Currant, Toasted, Cinnamon, Dill, Chestnut, Burnt, Cannabis, Hops, Coconut, Toasted Rice, Soybean, Butterscotch, Custard, Walnut
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Fair Trade, Organic
Edit tea info Last updated by Patrick Berkeley
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 11 oz / 323 ml

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879 Tasting Notes View all

  • “SIPDOWN! gasp Alright…i have a bunch of backlogs to do but first i needed to pay attention to this tea. You see kittylovestea really wanted to try this, so i opened my bag up and realised i had...” Read full tasting note
  • “Yes, I’m drinking this again! It’s my birthday, so I can drink anything I want! Of course, I can drink anything I want any day of the year, but this seemed like a perfect start today, & it...” Read full tasting note
  • “Brewed up a bunch of this quite strong for icing – I’ll see how that fares in the morning! In the meanwhile, I’m enjoying a second infusion, which, possibly because it’s more than double strength,...” Read full tasting note
  • “I snagged 4 oz of the autumn version of this tea after feeling a bit anxious about the last of my spring tea getting sipped down. Now I’m pretty much at peace, enjoying the strong chocolate/barley...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

This is one of the pioneer black teas from Laoshan. The village only started experimenting with making black tea out of their uniquely bean-like green tea a year or two ago.

Early steepings are remarkably smooth and creamy, reminiscent of a floral Big Red Robe in their creamy and luscious texture and heady orchid floral notes. The signature chocolate and barley flavor is more muted to balance with the subtleties of the texture. The best way to describe the sensation of drinking this tea is that of handmade butter caramels melting on your tongue.

Later steepings see a shift towards fruity raw cacao flavor, and strong Madagascar vanilla bean. The barley notes remind us of our time in a Tibetan village on a high plateau watching the barley harvest and breathing in the smell of the roasting grains over a wood fire. The aftertaste remains extraordinarily thick, like homemade whipped cream. Mr. and Mrs. He, who cultivate this incredible tea on their small farm in Laoshan Village have outdone themselves with this precious spring harvest.

Region: He family farm, Laoshan Village, Shandong

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879 Tasting Notes

251 tasting notes

Working on my 2nd steep of this delicious tea. Is there anything better to start a Sunday morning off with? I have been freezing inside my house wearing winter clothes thanks to drafty walls and poor insulation, but this tea is doing nicely to warm me up with its dark chocolaty malt goodness. Now if I can only motivate myself to make a hot breakfast after enjoying this hot cuppa. :)

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Terri HarpLady

I’m drinking the same! I just poured the water for my resteep, & then it’s back to bed to sip & surf on my ipad


Hahaha! Ditto girls,Laoshan Black and Sunday morning…Nightshifter, the winds are awful here too!
Terri, I’m having the exact same lazy morning as you are…tea in bed with mr. Ipad !
(And the dog, and the cats…a happy bunch!)

Terri HarpLady

Gotta love our Sunday mornings!


Tea sisters stay warm! :)

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110 tasting notes

1 tbsp in 12 oz

I know their brewing guidelines suggest even more leaf than this, but I think I liked this better when I brewed it with less leaf last time. This time it has more of a bite to it and more smokiness which are not quite to my taste.

I do still believe this tea is of incredible quality and has an incredibly special, unique flavor, but that flavor might not be quite my thing. I will go back to less leaf next time and hopefully enjoy it more.

I’m probably just all wishy washy about this today because I splurged and drank 16 ounces of my favorite tea yesterday (Butiki, Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black). Really nothing compares.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

This is why you’re not getting my address. If my tea goes missing, I’ll know it was you!!!

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818 tasting notes

This is one of the most interesting black teas I’ve had. The leaves look like brambles and thorns, like something that grows in a dark scary forest! For a tea that’s not flavored, it sure tastes like it is. I totally got the brownie batter taste and smell that everyone is talking about. Not the store-bought mix, but the from-scratch kind. The flavor is extremely robust, complex, and lasts through multiple steepings. It’s very malty, and the malty-ness seems to linger at the end of the sip and gives me the urge to clear my throat. Weird. Maybe I should steep this for less time? I did western style (1 TBSP at 3 min).

I must admit, I added sugar and a splash of soy milk. I really can’t get myself to drink a black tea without those.

On the second and third steepings, I noticed a stronger honey note. I like that! I’m thinking I actually like the third steeping the best….interesting.

Even after feeling very full from this tea after 2 steepings, I decided to make scones to enjoy with the third! I feel like I cheated, because I made them from a mix, and I usually make them from scratch, but the mix was a Christmas present from my husband. He’s so sweet! The scones were a cream-type scone….maple cinnamon…and I’m used to buttermilk-based scones, but man, those cinnamon chips were delicious!


Sooooooo jealous! I’m so terribly excited about my first order of Laoshan Black to get here that I almost can’t stand it. XD It’ll be here any day now. My fingers are crossed for tomorrow :)
This note just makes it sound even more delicious!


Ya, the hardest part for me was waiting until I had time for multiple steepings! I hope you enjoy it!


I have that same problem. I think that’s why I haven’t been drinking ones like this and sticking to flavoured ones which are only good for one steeping anyway, because when you’re constantly on the go, you don’t have to waste tea like this one on just one steep. :)


Save the leaves. Also, as the weather warms up I throw the leaves in water and then in the frig for cold brewing. I have some right now!


I will have to try that!

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2393 tasting notes

Additional notes: I thought I’d try one teaspoon of this one from teabox B in case it was different from my Laoshan sample. But this one seems to be the same as my sample… maybe a bit tangier than I remembered. I have no idea how this could be one of the best black teas — it’s enjoyable but not my favorite. Not enough dark black flavor for me! Not the chocolate, caramel decadence I’ve been hearing about. The second steep I swear only went for four minutes but the flavor was everything I didn’t like about the first steep… very tangy and oaky but not really astringent. I think the first batch is giving the second (or whatever number batch this is) a bad name!

Side note: I’m much more in love with the movie The Warriors they seem to be playing every week.. in all it’s goofy glory goodness. I hate when cable plays the same movies every week but they can play this one as much as they want!


I’ve been drinking this tea for almost 2 years and always use filtered water, a little extra leaf, western style brewing and keep the steep at couple minutes (certainly not 4). The correct brew basket makes a difference. I detest shallow ones where the tea leaves don’t get enough contact with the water. Mine is deep so the results are never insipid.
Hope I haven’t been too annoying.


Not annoying! Always looking for advice, especially if I might be brewing a really great tea incorrectly. It seems like I followed your instructions, except for the four minutes. Definitely too long, but I was hoping for a stronger flavor. Two minutes seems like it would be too light (definitely not the chocolate flavor I keep hearing about) but I will try two minutes next time.


I gave this tea several tries myself, trying to figure out where the magic was, but I determined that it wasn’t the right kind of black tea for my palate. All of my family loved it, so I know I must have brewed it ok enough. Oh well, can’t love em all, even among the best of the best.


I really like this one, but I find it heartening that there are others who don’t. I frequently end up being the lone dissenter and it makes me worry that my tastes are off. Rather I think everyone has their own and it’s cool to reflect that.:)


Sometimes it’s another factor…I found out that there are some flavors that I can’t taste at all. Some Green tea’s are completely zero, so when they’re the base used in a blend…I have a problem. I can taste verdants stronger laoshan green but not butiki’s eggnog. Different green tea’s. My point is…we not only have likes, but our biology plays a part too.

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98 tasting notes

I went for this one first after my birthday package of tea came…from my tasting note card (which was kindly provided):
Dry: subtly spicy aroma—is that cinnamon? Blankety and warm.
1st steeping: Toasty in the front of the tongue, a little bright and sweet in a blankety, caramel way (yes, blankety is totally a word) along to the back of the palate. Silky, smooth mouthfeel, with absolutely no astringency or bitterness (woohoo!).

So I’m on my fifth infusion now, which I let go for 8 minutes…this tea is magnificent. Roasty, sweet, smooth, and dusky all at the same time. The note that I was trying to name for quite some time was raisin—there is definitely a cinnamon-raisin feel to this tea, and it’s fantastic. This is probably the most unusual black tea I’ve ever tried, and come to think of it, I think it might be the first or second unflavored black tea, too. This is paradise, and I keep detecting more delightful undertones in it. Can’t wait to explore it even more. Thanks, David! Can’t wait to try all the others I got, and to order some more (maybe a pu’erh?) with my nifty coupon code!

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David Duckler

Wonderful tasting note- I find myself making up words all the time when I drink teas to try to get at their flavor. Blankety makes perfect sense to me! The cinnamon raison toast that you point out is great- I will look for it when I brew this up at the office tomorrow.

I am glad to know that so many people out there are loving the He family’s new experiment with black tea. Thanks!


Creative Writing 101: when you don’t have the right word, make it up! Blankety is good!

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749 tasting notes

I woke up before the sun (4:45am) this morning to look over my notes a bit more before my exam today.

This is such a great morning tea. Well, it’s great anytime, but not every tea works in the morning. The chocolate and barley is my favourite. So unique. I also decided on this one as a wee celebration because the tracking tells me my new stash of LB will be delivered today (instead of Monday), yay! I’m not completely out yet, but it’s nice that I can unpack it and place it in my cupboard before we leave.

In a few short hours, six more courses will be behind me. YES.


Good luck, and congratulations in advance!


Good luck with the exams!


Good luck!


Good luck from me, too!

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

I got mine today too!

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30 tasting notes

The Spring 2012 harvest is finally in!
It felt like a drought here at the Verdant Tea offices to go two weeks without Laoshan Black. I hadn’t wanted to say anything in fear of jinxing this tea’s arrival, but here it is. Mr. He and Weiwei both said that it was an incredible harvest, and Weiwei does not throw around positive adjectives freely.

I could feel my heart racing in anticipation as I poured the water over these leaves and the aroma began wafting up like chocolate hibiscus. The first sip confirmed everything that Weiwei had said. This tea is creamy and luscious. It “melts” on the tongue like a homemade butter caramel, and has the floral complexities of a Big Red Robe.

Later steepings saw a movement towards the signature chocolate and barley flavor that Laoshan Black has become known for, yet the particular balance of texture, aroma and taste evoked a wonderful memory for me. The delicate sweetness of the barley, with floral vanilla bouquets reminds me of spending a week in Chapi village, Tibet to conduct interviews for a book of Tibetan folklore I was translating. The family hosting me had a traditional carved wooden house, and in the courtyard, the grandma was roasting the freshly harvested barley in giant handfuls over a fir wood fire. She smiled at me and held out a handful of barley. I took it with gratitude and started to eat it fresh. The taste is one of the flavor pinnacles of my short experience on this planet, and this tea has evoked that perfect flavor of sweet barley tempered by the right amount of fire. Beautiful!

I know that the Laoshan Black has been missed, so I am excited to be adding this tasting not and letting everyone know that it is back, while our supply from the fifteen pound harvest holds out. The extra good news is that we got much better shipping rates for this harvest and were able to bring down the price substantially, putting this tea within a feasible budget for drinking every day.

New description is up on the site:



Charles Thomas Draper

expect an order soon….


I love all your stories about China! Your description makes me tempted to try it even tho I’m not usually a black tea person.

David Duckler

@Rellybob, Thanks! You wouldn’t believe it based on our growing black tea selection, but I am not usually a black tea person either. This is the one that originally dispelled my bias and made me realize that I just didn’t like tannic and astringent tea. Some black teas have none of that at all, like this and the Golden Fleece.


Cool…maybe someday soon then! :)

Jim Marks

My suspicion, at a guess anyway, is that it is they reliance on Assam in Western blends of black tea that makes many people think they don’t like black tea.


Yay! It’s back!


@Rellybob – I also thought I wasn’t a black tea person. And then I tried this one, and a couple other malty, chocolatey blacks. Turns out I love them, I just don’t love gross bagged blacks, and others that easily turn astringent (often used in blends). This tea, the Zhu Rong Black, and Teavivre’s Fenqing Black Dragon Pearls are divine.

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658 tasting notes

I am so pleased with Verdant Tea. Great service, selection, packaging, and free shipping to Canada, plus I received this in five business days. Packages coming from the UK can manage that but I don’t know if any from the US have even come close. They tend to be more in the three-to-four week range!

Anyway, the description for this isn’t joking when it says “perfectly smooth and honey-like”. It’s probably the smoothest black tea I’ve ever experienced, and it’s incredibly sweet with enough body that I don’t find it offputting. The dry leaf smelled toasty, sweet, and green but more in a woodsy way than grassy. The flavour keeps all these elements but is mellower than I expected and has a nice cocoa-y element. I was thinking roasted marshmallow, so it’s funny to see TeaEqualsBliss noticed the same thing. There is so much to like here. Delicious.

I wanted to get this note in before I forgot everything but I’ve only had the chance for my first infusion in a gaiwan. I’m off for some more. I’ve been surprised at how nice blacks are this way, and this one is a shining example!


I am so pumped for my tea to arrive…I ordered this and their yunnan. Maybe I’ll actually use my gaiwan to infuse this. I doubt I’ll be sharing with the beau! : )


Haha! I definitely kept this from the man of the house, too. I ordered the Yunnan as well and can’t wait to give it a go.

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612 tasting notes

This is my absolute favorite time of year, and every day when I’m plunking away at my desk I stop at some point, usually midday, to admire the color of the light that streams through the blinds. That magical hue, the same one I remember streaming in onto the carpet where I’d roll around and play as a little kid in my parents’ living room—a warm orange-tinted golden straw shade, accented by how particularly blue the sky is this season, the way it pairs so well with all the dark wood in the house (this was true back then as well). Anyway, I’m sitting here admiring it with a huge mug of Laoshan Black, listening to Low (I’m terrible about forgetting how perfect they can be at the apex of their records) and feeling very low-key and tranquil. Today’s not a bad life at all.

I thought I noticed the first time I dug into my restocked version that there was considerably less chocolate and a lot more salty potato and grain going on, but figured something was off with my tastebuds. But no. This batch is noticeably different from the sample that got me hooked. It’s not bad at all, but I did prefer the first version.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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111 tasting notes

I was scared to try this for two reasons. One, I was worried I overhyped it in my head too much and would be disappointed. Secondly, yesterday was a tea DISASTER. I ruined every cup of tea I attempted to make in various ways. So I was worried that curse would follow into today.

The result of this experiment? One of the most delicious teas I’ve ever had in my whole life. I cannot believe that this isn’t flavored. It’s SO thick, and SO chocolately. I feel like I’m drinking liquefied brownie, thick texture and all. My tongue feels coated, but in that pleasing indulgent way, except this is even better since it’s with zero guilt!

Stop trying to buy a chocolate tea. Seriously. Stop. Now. Buy this. Trust me. It tastes like rich, thick, heavenly dark chocolate, and it’s not forced in any way. This is just how the tea tastes naturally on it’s own.

This will clearly last multiple steeps, and I’m looking forward to each and every one of them.

(And now to PANIC to Verdant Tea’s website and order more before it’s all gone.)

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They just restocked! :) I might try this one next…


Do it. XD Seriously. It’s so good. My thought after finishing the cup was “Goodbye hot chocolate!” which I love. It’s that good. And without the guilt. xD


Mind you, if you like dark chocolate anyway. It’s definitely a DARK chocolate taste, not milk chocolate. My favorite type of chocolate is dark, so that makes this tea resonate with me all the more.


It… smells like chocolate dirt pie. So, uhh, here goes nothing?


xD Hopefully you like it more than the smell. Good luck! :D


Omg. I just had this possibly brilliant, possibly really stupid idea to mix together my laoshan black + roasted cocoa shell tea that I recently acquired. Adding body and malt to amazing chocolate-ness….

Rachel J

Oh no… I’ve been avoiding placing my first Verdant order. Crap! Now I might have to! Can’t believe what people are saying about this tea!


Rachel, there are those of us who don’t really like it. Not many, but we do exist! I want to try a spring or summer harvest of this one to see how different it is.


I’m sort of in the same boat Rachel. I have put in a Verdant order, but Loashan Black was out of stock when I did and I’m really wanting to put in a new order now that it’s in.

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