Zhu Rong Yunnan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Apricot, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Wet Moss, Yams, Nuts, Nutty, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Cedar, Creamy, Floral, Lemon, Peppercorn, Sugarcane, Cocoa, Earth, Sweet, Burnt, Cinnamon, Roasted, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cream, Lemon Zest, Marzipan, Nutmeg, Orange, Pine, Roasted Nuts, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat, Cacao, Dark Bittersweet, Campfire, Fruity, Milk, Plum, Umami, Wet Earth, Whiskey, Wood, Grain, Sweet Potatoes, Raisins, Tobacco, Marshmallow, Spicy, Bread, Yeast, Citrus, Berries, Coffee, Molasses, Graham Cracker, Muscatel
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 15 oz / 454 ml

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276 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea

The aroma of this intensely rich Yunnan black is immediately reminiscent of one of our favorite chocolate’s of all time: the Rogue Chocolatier Hispaniola bar, made with a tangy and nuanced cacao from the Dominican Republic. Imagine a fine dark chocolate melted down and infused with hibiscus. That is the aroma of this tea. It is so rich and fruity it even reminds us of a fine, light roasted coffee.

The flavor is so full bodied it evokes the wafting smoke from the smoldering cedar wood embers of a long-extinguished fire. This mouthfeel is followed up by an engaging tart and warming quality. Clove and orange peel assert themselves with the woody cedar flavor. Later steepings yield to an unexpected savory flavor like thick-cut kettle chips and cayenne pepper. The potato flavor grows into a burdock root aftertaste.

Note: This tea is named after Lady Zhu Rong, the dagger wielding warrior queen of Yunnan who was descended from the god of Fire. The elegance and power of this tea compelled us to evoke her Kingdom of Dian, the “barbarian” south before it was conquered by China and called Yunnan.

About Verdant Tea View company

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276 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

I’m recuperating from a 5 hour gig last night. (Just for the record, WTF is up with auto correct these days? It just tried to turn recuperating into * recto opera* . Seriously! )
A 5 hour gig is a very long gig, for a harpist anyway. It was a fun gig, mostly Jazz & Originals, & I got to really crank up the volume on my Electric Harp. Maplewood, where I live, is the first suburb west of St Louis city, & this is our big annual event, a huge art show, with one of the main streets blocked off, music everywhere, food, belly dancers, hula hopers, all kinds of art on display, all kinds of artists in the act of whatever art they do. They call it Let Them Eat Art because the event is loosely based on Bastille Day, with crazy contests like The Marie Antoinette hairdo contest (think huge tall crazy white wigs), dog contests, etc.

Lots of fun for the entire family, & I’m sure there will be lots of photos too, cuz I think they have a photo contest as well.

Regarding this tea: it’s still good tea, but not the same as the original zhu rong I fell in love with.


Gigglesnorting HARD about recto opera!


Terri – what time are we drinking Moonrise tea?

Terri HarpLady

Good question! I think we are all on different time zones. I’m Central…

Terri HarpLady

The moonrise is at 8:30 tonight in St. Louis.
You can use this site to find out your moonrise time.
I’m thinking we should each drink it as our moon is rising? :)


I’m Central


(but am still laughing about recto opera because I have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy)


Sunset is 8:35 here and moonrise is at 8:46 Central Daylight Time


I’m kind of curious as to what a recto opera might be… :)

Terri HarpLady

OMGsrsly, I thought about that… I came up with a scenario that would be SNL skit, no actual singing, just a lot of very loud farting & sub-titles?

Priss…you’ll like this https://www.facebook.com/Rock101Van/photos/a.380578777807.159246.91251252807/10152356768247808/?type=1&theater

I’ve been laughing to tears over it for days. I can’t get it out of my mind, & every time I smile Tony says, “You’re thinking of that damn dog thing again, aren’t you”


OMG OMG I snorted my NST right up my nose!! For real LOLing. Those could have been my dogs saying that. ahahahahahahaha!


Haha. Good one, Terri. :D

Terri HarpLady

I don’t even have to look at it to laugh, those dogs smiling faces are ingrained in my mind forever.


And they have clothes!!! I’m still giggling

Terri HarpLady

As if that’s not enough, Tony turns to me every now & then out of the blue & says, “Shut up, Mike” hahaha

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15113 tasting notes

my other half woke me up this morning with cinnamon raisin toast and this tea..which he figured out how to make on his own using teh internets lol I love that man!


Aren’t we husbands awesome! ;-)


well we’re not hitched yet (september) but some days he really gets it right. “I wanted to make a tea i know you’d like..but i couldn’t find Laoshan Black…” awe….


That’s sweet. :)




Allow me to rephrase: Aren’t we Steepster men awesome! ;-)


We provide service with a smile! :-))



Maddy Barone

Now you see? Dinner and dancing are all very nice, but nothing says love like someone stepping out of their comfort zone to please their partner. That is true romance!


Aww, that’s awesome!




Anyone who makes you Zhu in the morning is a keeper

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676 tasting notes

First tasting note
It is an odd occasion that this tea information was posted today May 23, 2012 and the tea arrived at my home today also, and today is my Birthday “64”! It was meant to be.

With the rain pouring down outside and a day that was going to be spent alone with no plans, the arrival of my Verdant tea was extra joyful. David (the owner of Verdant) put a little something extra inside my shipment besides the regular sample for me to try which brought a tear to my eye. The kindness of strangers as they say. More and more the people I encounter on Steepster, and several tea providers, are less like strangers and are individuals that I care about. Thank you!

I was determined NOT to do a complicated long review of this tea.
I followed the instructions on the Verdant site for Western Style preparation because it was later in the day when my tea arrived. Using Spring water I could count on a great pot of tea.

My first flavor impression was Chocolate. A big, then bigger, then huge mouthful of chocolate at first… followed by what I imagined was pecan pound cake. (Now I think the cake was not made with wheat flour but potato. I know…that sounds crazy.) The tea wasn’t vanilla, yam, cinnamon or malty tasting like so many other popular black tea’s. This was fruity (but not discernable as to what fruit) and clean. I hunted for some acid or tannin…but couldn’t find any. The smoothness was creamy and rich. The difference between this black tea and others was…well…this was like an expensive satin covered down comforter and the others are wool blankets, rough and kind of thin. Everything in a cup like liquid, shimmering amber gold.

I let the tea cool down. It was so good plain. Straight up it was sweet, genteel and smooth with NO acid at all! The finish was creamy and I am in love with it!

I love this tea! I really am amazed! This is the first Black Tea of any kind that I can and would drink straight up without sugar or cream always! I love the Laoshan Black but I think it’s a tie here. This is so mellow!

Second Steep Still amazing! I forgot to say that when I stuck my nose way down into the cup I was reminded of the fruity scent of wine inside the barrels at Fortino’s Winery where I worked one Summer but without sourness and just the sweet dry wine. The wine produced in that area of California was like liquid sunshine. Ripe sunkissed berries. That’s the fruit somewhere in the scent.
The flavor of this tea has no sourness either, but now I taste that distant berry. I feel the cedar and pepper on the front of my tongue but not at the finish so the smoothness is still good. Chocolate delight. Naked!
Third Steeping I’m not going into the flavor that much. I has all the same qualities that it had before. Such a strong leaf! What I have found at this point is another dimension. One that I stumbled upon because I had an Artist friend that cooked a fantastic dinner served outdoors in the evening served by candlelight. The end of the meal was followed by fine cigars and an aged, expensive Port. Here’s the part I want to share. This tea has the essense of fine cigars and port about it. A taste, scent…something.
There I’ve done it. I can’t explain why. See for yourself. I’m putting it out for you to tell me if I’m right or wrong! Because of this brilliance, I’ve upped the rating! I could not help myself!


Congrats! I find that Chinese black teas are also easier to drink plain.


Happy Birthday Bonnie!!!! XXO


Thank you!


Hope your bday was the best! :)


Happy Birthday, Bonnie!


Just saw Steven Tyler and Arrowsmith…he’s my age…and he’s nut’s! I guess I can be nut’s too! Thanks for the Happy B’s! Tea for everyone!


Happy Birthday!!!! I hope you had an amazing day! :)


Happy Birthday!


Well if everyone was here we’d go beer tasting…I mean…tea tasting and such!


Happy birthday! Glad you could celebrate with such a delicious tea :D


Happy Birthday! This seems like a great tea to celebrate with~

Joshua Smith

Wow. this sounds really good! I’m suddenly really excited to go to work today, to try it out!


Happy Birthday Bonnie! A really good tea helps make Birthdays more special IMHO. :))


Happy birthday! What a great package to receive. I’m looking forward to getting to know this Lady Zhurong tea better. Thank you for the exciting tasting note!

David Duckler

I am so honored that these teas got to share your birthday with you, and happy that they made fine companions. Your tasting note for the Zhu Rong is leagues better than my own tasting notes. It inspires me to go back and try the tea specifically with your thoughts in mind. Being a dark rainy day here in Minneapolis, perhaps I will do so. We are lucky to get to share in your well-written and thoughtful experiences here on Steepster.


Happy Birthday!!


Oh my! I am truly humbled by such words! My heart is so full the tears …ah …time for tea! I’ll go all grandma on you and blubber! Thank you! Come for tea!


Ah ha! Fine cigars and port… yes. That’s what that is. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now it’s clear. Must go back a try this again. Thanks Bonne.


Happy belated birthday. :)


I must agree that this tea is AWESOME!!! It is like drinking dessert…

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6106 tasting notes

Sipdown! 817 (finally added in teas from momo… sigh). I thought that I didn’t have any of this left, but apparently I did… and not just the remnants from one package, but two are apparently listed in my tea spreadsheet. Interesting – I’ll have to see if I can find the second one… I swear I finished it, though.

Anyhow! This is still pretty darn delicious, though I definitely prefer the heavier blacks in the winter, it seems. Dark, rich chocolatey flavours. Looking forward to another couple infusions.

ETA: My previous tasting notes indicate that I did in fact sipdown my other sample already, so 816! Hurrah!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I love this one!


I admire you for being able to keep track of all this tea in a spreadsheet. After several tries, I’ve mostly given up :)


Haha, it’s definitely not entirely accurate, but I do make the effort to delete things when I drink them, and add them when I get them, so it’s not so bad. I’ve always had a list for swap items (so I can keep track of who gave me what), but it did take some solid effort to write up the list of non-swap teas :) It’s nice to know what I should have – even if I can’t find it!


Also Terri – I quite like this one too. Can’t justify buying any right now, especially since I still have plenty of the Laoshan Black and Premium Taiwanese Assam, but perhaps sometime in the future (if Verdant has it again in like, 3 years when I have less than 200 teas, hahaha.)


Kittena – what are we going to do with you when Black Friday hits? Are we going to have to lock you away from all computers so you don’t double your collection? :P

Terri HarpLady

I print out my spreadsheet on the first day of each month. As the days pass I manually check off the teas I drink (with cute little symbols), making notes on if it’s a sipdown, or the steeping parameters, etc. At the end of the month I update the list on my computer, then print & do it all again.


Oh I like that system! That would be a nice way to keep track of the TYPES of tea I have. What else do you guys track on your spreadsheets? (If I’m going to go and make one, I’d better start with all the important fields than have to redo it…)

Terri HarpLady

On mine, I start with whites, then flavored whites (both small catagories), then green, then flavored…etc.
Right now there are 4 columns: Type, Name of Tea, brand, & re? (as in reorder). Each section is alphabetical by brand.


That sounds like a good start. Do you track ALL teas that you’ve tasted and then hide the ones you’ve finished?

Terri HarpLady

If it’s something I want to restock, I keep it on the list with asterisks around it, to remind me to restock.
If it’s something that didn’t really float my boat, I delete it.
I also have all my trades listed, using the name of the person who sent them as the ‘category’.


I stole Kittenna’s spreadsheet (thanks!!). Name, Type, Company, Swap From?, Purchase Date, Original Size, Remaining?(if tried), Rating, Tried?, and a count. If there’s a “1” in the count column it will add, and I put an X if I no longer have it. I also have a notes column that I’m starting to work on. The nice thing about Excel is you can filter and just print the teas you currently have.


Cavocorax – Black Friday might be bad for me…..! We’ll have to see I guess!

And yeah, OMGsrsly pretty much sums up my spreadsheet. For swaps, I replace the 1 with an X when it’s gone; for teas I’ve bought, I used to just delete the entry entirely, but now I just move it to a second page in the workbook. Steepster would have the most accurate list of all the teas I’ve ever tried; I didn’t start tracking things at the very beginning.


Thanks guys! That gives me lots of ideas!
And it’s too bad we can’t just export our data into a spreadsheet.


Cavo, that would be the most awesomest, geekiest tea thing. :D

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807 tasting notes

Enjoying a delicious cup right now. This tea is very rich almost like drinking dessert. A real treat – loving every sip!

Terri HarpLady

That’s another one that I’m in love with!

Donna A

Think I’ll put that on my next order with Verdant.

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2201 tasting notes

Well I just got in from out of town and I have been inundated with tea! Samples from Teavivre and Fong Mong, and my order from Verdant. I didn’t really know where to start. I did order the Golden Fleece from Verdant but I didn’t want to dive into that one just yet. I decided I wanted to go for a black tea, western steep, from Verdant, and I chose this one. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been getting into Chinese black teas lately, so I was already intrigued by this tea. Then I also read about it’s namesake and I can’t resist a dagger-wielding warrior woman, so that clinched the order.

The dry leaves are very nice looking, dark with golden streaks, spindley and curly. I can’t smell the dry leaf too well but what I do get smells nice grainy and malty. I steeped exactly according to the instructions on the website for this tea (western style). It smells heavenly. Dark chocolate, molasses, grains, malt, and there’s almost a spiciness that tingles in your nostrils when you take a deep sniff, like sniffing cayenne pepper.

The first part of the sip is sweet, almost honeyed, with chocolate notes that kind of shift from a sweeter chocolate at the beginning to a much darker chocolate toward the end. The flavors that build in the latter part of the sip are rougher, less refined than the first flavors. These are a little bit of wood, a little bit of smoke even that tingles in my mouth. Not smoky even like a keemun is smoky, but more the faintest whisp of smoke or maybe like the woody notes are a little charred. As it cools those flavors toward the end of the sip become stronger, making the whole thing a little prickly in the mouthfeel.

I enjoy this tea a lot, but I have a feeling I will enjoy the other black teas I bought from Verdant more. We shall see! It has a rough quality about it that I’ve found in other fine black teas; it doesn’t really keep me from enjoying the tea, but it’s not my favorite character in black teas, at least at this point.

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

Nice review! I really loved this one finding it with the Laoshan Black and Teavivre Black my top three favorites. Don’t get me wrong though, it doesn’t have to be your favorite! Seems like we got our shipments of the same samples at the same time which will make for interesting comparisons!


Always fun!


Yes, I’m enjoying seeing everyone reviewing these teas around the same time right now!

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250 tasting notes

Alright, time for a real review for the first time in a while.

I brewed this tea with shorter infusions today, and the result was pretty amazing. While the flavor wasn;t as intense as usualy, the depth of the flavor was much greater, exposing fruity flavors that I don’t usually notice till much later infusions. This trend continued till the end, with more subtle flavors like cove and potato really asserting themselves for once. I’m really glad that I decided to experiment today.

Note –
Steep times by order of appearance: 12 sec., 12 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 35 seconds, 60 seconds.

205 °F / 96 °C

I love that nerve to experiment. Too many people try something once and that’s it. Maybe another steep time would have been better. Playing with the temp and time is creative and enjoyable. Helps you relax too. Glad you’re having a good day!

Joshua Smith

I totally agree. I used to be very mechanical about how to make tea, measureing the ammoutn, using an actual timer to get the steep times to be exactly how the company reccommended I steep, etc. I find that I make better tea now, since I now make it the way I like it. No offence David, but I haven’t gotten a gaiwan yet, so your instructions don’t really work for me most of the time…


If you look at Davids instructions you will notice he shows how to use mugs as Gaiwans and I always follow the instructions on the website first before I venture off on my own path. Otherwise I can waste good tea screwing up. This is my own opinion of course. Just mine and not meant to offend anyone.

Joshua Smith

Wow, I actually forgot about that…

It’s been too long since I looked at the directions. Looking at them now, I dod something more in line with the instructions, as opposed to my 15-20 second initial infusion that was my previous standard. Thanks for pointing that out to me!

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2915 tasting notes

One of those weeks when life is so messy that tea doesn’t taste.’Nuff said.

After crying on and praying with a couple of dear friends and a couple of hours of sun-room/cat/Oreo therapy with my surrogate mom, I’m slightly closer to functional. (When she picked up the phone the other day, I said, “Hello? Is this Rent-A-Mom?”)

So I celebrated slight functionality by closing my eyes, picking a bag at, well, semi-random from the tea swap basket, and here we are.

This one is so good and fleece-blankety, looks like Terri Harplady wrote a song to it in one of her reviews some time back. It’s well deserving of odes and kudoes—-big ol’ blonde leaves; bright and bronzey at the first of the sip, rich and cocoa-y at swallow time.

Had to leave the leaves at home, but I’m eagerly anticipating a second stanza this evening. Thanks, Terri!


Sorry your week has stunk. I hope things are less messy very soon.


Hugs and prayers sister.


Hope your week gets better!


It’s a good thing you have people you can reach out too! Best wishes to you!


big hugs for you! Hoping things get better soon xxo


You all made me smile. Thank you.

Hesper June

So sorry to hear you are sad. I hope things get better soon!


Sorry to hear. Good that you have a rent-a-mom though. Hope things improve.

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525 tasting notes

I found some black tea in my numerous unsampled sample pouches from Verdant! I have high hopes for the company that turned me on to black tea!

First, the fuzzy little curls of dried leaf were beautiful and cute at the same time. The smell made me swoon. So chocolatey! I never really believed it when people would say a tea was chocolatey, but now I am a believer!

My first impression of this brew is a chocolatey dark roasted oolong. There are sweet honeyed notes along with the roasty autumnal flavor I usually get from dark oolongs. Then there’s a subtle taste of dark chocolate. The end of the sip is a bit bitter. It’s not ideal but it’s also not bad. In between sips, as you let the lingering flavors play over your tongue, you get a sense of wood chips, like for a campfire. And there’s the slightly hint of astringency. I’m thinking I probably should have used cooler water, though I think the website recommended boiling. Maybe less time.

In any case, this tea is delicious! It’s a cross between a dark roasted oolong and my new love, Loashan Black. Tasty!

As it cools, I’m getting more of an oolong taste than a black tea taste. Love that lingering dark chocolate flavor. :)

Steep 2! Used cooler water and then forgot about it for about 10 minutes. doh! But the resulting tea is magnificent! Lots of dark chocolate notes and something fruity like blueberry jam. No astringency this time. :)

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294 tasting notes

This was my good morning cup. Dark and full flavored. I too can see how it can be oversteeped. I love the 5 minute steep. It was awakening. The empty cup aroma was sublime. Totally unique. The second cup was better than the first. I could be wrong but I am getting a coffee flavor. This tea is delicious and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This tea is one of many black teas I have been sampling lately for my coffee replacement. I must add that this was not purchased as a sample. I know from my fellow Steepsterites reviews and Verdants history that this was a must have. And I am glad to have it.


I know. I bought an ounce and rushed to buy more. It was a drive to have it before the rest of the world got wind and bought the rest.

Joshua Smith

Yeah, this is definitely a very special black tea. Getting more is one of the things on my list for when I finish cleaning out my stash a bit more.


I miss this one.


Think it’s running low on the Verdant site.


I don’t need to have it since I’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing it, it would just be nice. What I’m really hoping is that I get some money in time to experience their new shengs.

Charles Thomas Draper

@ Kwinter, I received the Private Reserve 2006 Yunnan Research Institute Wild Arbor and the Yiwu Wild Abor 2004. @ Joshua I agree it is special. Very. @ Bonnie, yes it’s on low stock. I had to have some.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Ooooh, this sounds good.

Charles Thomas Draper

@Michelle, it is…

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