Zhu Rong Yunnan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Honey, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Sweet, Burnt, Cinnamon, Roasted, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Lemon Zest, Marzipan, Nutmeg, Orange, Pine, Roasted nuts, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat, Cacao, Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Campfire, Caramel, Fruity, Milk, Plums, Umami, Wet Earth, Whiskey, Wood, Grain, Nuts, Sweet Potatoes, Raisins, Tobacco, Marshmallow, Spicy, Baked Bread, Yeast, Citrus, Berries, Coffee, Molasses, Graham Cracker, Muscatel, Peppercorn
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 oz / 478 ml

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277 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.

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277 Tasting Notes

1474 tasting notes

What a beautiful-looking tea. Wow.

I had to measure this out with my scale to get the right amount: 1.5g is what I decided on to start with for an 8 ounce cup. I steeped them right after the other, and have both cups here to compare against one another.

Steep One: 200F, 2 minutes – wow. Cocoa and honey. Really? It’s subtle, and yet, hard to miss. The honey comes in after, almost gooey-like, and the cocoa is at the start of the sip, and finishes more with a dry cacao feeling. It’s really quite exquisite.

Steep Two: 200F, 2 minutes, 30 seconds – Holy moly, this is all honey. It’s almost too sweet. How on earth can I say that with a straight black tea?!

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Straight black teas are my fav. Especially honey-like ones.


Oh, I had this today for the first time but haven’t logged it. It’s so delicious!

Terri HarpLady

I love this tea. It’s one of the teas I hoard in my attic (bedroom). I don’t ever want to run out of it. :)


ohh… I didn’t know straight black could be sweet.. ?

Josh Buteau

Now that sounds crazy to hear about a black….but at the same time it sounds delicious!!


It was just divine, and I’ll have to have more soon. Josh, I highly recommend checking out Verdant; pricey yet worth it (in my opinion).

Donna A

I adore this tea. My current favorite. I hope they get more in stock before I run out completely!

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1129 tasting notes

Mmmm this is awesome tea! I had a few cups western style a little while ago, but I didn’t really pay attention to the flavor. Today, I have been making it in my gaiwan, and wow, this is delicious! The dry smell is lovely yunnan black tea, honey and malty, sweet potato like almost. I heated my gaiwan, then did a super fast rinse and steeped around 3 seconds.

The smell is thick and warm and all encompassing. Definitely getting the sweet potato. Similar to Golden Fleece, but darker, a little different. The first cup was full of malty goodness and a fruitiness that I don’t know how to describe, something tangy. Rich and satisfying, and a very smooth texture. I gave my boyfriend the second steeping, and he enjoyed it! +1 for a black tea that he likes lol. Now I’m having the 3rd steep, and it is definitely taking on a creaminess in the aftertaste and a lovely sweet honey potato flavor (as I burn my tongue/lips on it, ouch lol). A rich dark chocolate with some milkiness to it. I’ll keep my eye out for that fruit note, it was quite intriguing and to me differentiated between this tea and Golden Fleece.

Overall, a very nice tea, cozy, and making me think of fall. The leaves are starting to rustle about in the wind outside already in the parking lot, mostly from the storm yesterday that knocked a ton of them down, but it reminds me that fall is on it’s way, and in a few short weeks it will be September, and I will begin craving darker, spicier teas again. This tea is a perfect one for a late August day such as today, light enough to be summery, yet rich enough for the cooler days ahead. Thank you Verdant for another wonderful tea!

Note to self: Order Vanilla Citrus Spice and Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend in next Verdant order.


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2815 tasting notes

My latest order from Verdant arrived and no, I do not need any more caffeine today but I couldn’t resist this anyway. mwa ha ha! By the way, thanks to David for answering my anxiety ridden e-mail about where my order was. I am paranoid because the mail person leaves our office packages in an unsecured location.

I read other people’s tasting notes and I wasn’t sure how to make this but in the end I decided I would have it Western style today and gong-fu it at home.

The aroma of the wet leaves is definitely malty and peppery! I’ve heard about this peppery quality before but have never experienced it myself.

The first cup I steeped for 3.5 minutes which may have been too long (because my cup is very dark), but this is pretty tasty. My first impression is of a slightly bittersweet chocolate, it’s very rich and full. I am getting the fruity element as well that others have remarked on. I can see why Verdant likens this to a lightly roasted coffee because I feel the same way about it, except it isn’t bitter like coffee can be. In the finish I’ve gotten a bit of tannin and peppery element which then slowly is transformed into sweetness, how odd. I am hoping the tannin will decrease with a shorter steeping time.

I decided to do a second steep for 2 minutes and got a medium reddish brown cup, so this is probably closer to what it should be. Definitely a rich and smooth cuppa. With the shorter steeping time I am getting more fruity notes and more sweetness in the finish, which I kinda like (okay, I am a wimp). Now it’s a bit more like caramel. Someone just commented that my tea smells like tobacco. Interesting… complex and full of flavors. Perhaps a tad bit heavy on the tannins for yours truly but we’ll see what happens when I gong fu this. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

My first cup of this was for 1.5 minutes, and it was fabulous and I wasn’t having an issue with tannins (apparently I’m not a fan). However, it was a touch more astringent than the Laoshan Black.


@Krystalen – thanks, I think I will need to try it that way soon!


Boo, I didn’t get your response in an email (just chanced by it). Time to figure out if that’s a bug or something else.


hmm, I don’t have Steepster notifying me about stuff like that, it would be way too much mail for me!


I have some of this on the way :)

Scott B

Amy, when you say peppery, do you mean like black pepper or cayenne pepper or a bell pepper?


I think black pepper… or perhaps white pepper is more appropriate

Doug F

I just received my order of zhu rong yesterday also, with a nice sample of Laoshan white thrown in.


I love white teas, I think they added it to the site right after I placed my order. It sounds good!


I did take the Laoshan White to 5 steepings and I have half my sample left! Worth going the full cycle! It pulls you back because the flavor lingers.

Doug F

I’ll keep an open mind on the white—I have never been a big fan but it’s been a while since I tried one, so who knows?

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4847 tasting notes

Verdant Tea included this as a free sample with my last order… I’m really happy I got this opportunity to try it – it’s really, really good!

I’ve infused these leaves twice now. The first infusion brought a strong introduction of chocolate-y notes that were evident not just in the flavor but also the aroma. The aroma also smelled like freshly roasted coffee. Our local Costco has a coffee roasting station in the store, and when we go there we can smell the coffee roasting. It smells so good … almost good enough for me to want to try it, however, the sick feeling I’d feel a few hours later certainly aren’t worth that moment of weakness.

The taste reminds me a bit of one of those espresso infused chocolate bars. After a couple of sips, I noticed the yunnan peppery notes emerging. With the second infusion, those peppery notes morphed into more of a fruity, hot-pepper taste rather than a black peppercorn kind of taste. It isn’t spicy, but it is warmly spiced.

Really, really good. Thanks, Verdant Tea, for the sample!!!

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1015 tasting notes

This was the tea I took to work today. Hmmmmmm, interesting little black tea. This is a nice dark, chocolaty, malty black tea – except it’s light and has some fruit notes. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really like this, but it might be a bit too complex for everyday. I think this is one of those special teas that should be savored and enjoyed at leisure – rather than inhaling it at work.
I received this sample form ifjuly – thank you very much. I bought an oz of this over the weekend – just assumed I would like it, and I do – I think one oz was the correct choice. Some for special occasions, but not lots for everyday. Thanks ifjuly for sharing – definitely a tea experience.


I ordered this one also – I have been wanting more ever since I tried it! :-)


I don’t think it’s my favorite black tea, but it is definitely a good one!!! :))

Terri HarpLady

Love love love this one :)


glad its woodier vaguely darjeeling-y qualities didn’t turn you off! agreed it’s too complex for an every day pick me up, but lovely when you’re in the mood for sure.


ifjuly – Love how you described this one in the recommendations you just posted. That’s what I meant, you just said it better. Nothing about this turns me off, it’s a great tea, just different from the ones I usually categorize as my favorites.


aw, thanks, you’re too nice! yeah, it’s hard to map this one in my mind; i tried it right around when i was realizing i was subconsciously lumping black teas into either side of that spectrum and was quite surprised at how it didn’t fit neatly anywhere. i haven’t found many teas that combine qualities from both sides.

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300 tasting notes

Hmm I think I over leafed this :/ Dry it smelled chocolatey, but that was lost once I added water, it was extremely savory to the point of being salty. I’m just going to have to default to my previous tasting note.

Was out and about today and really need to get to bed. Looking forward to Jin Jun Mei tomorrow amidst crazy packing of things to be sent down to Florida with my dad so we don’t have to take much on the plane Saturday.


I hope you have a wonderful trip :)

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612 tasting notes

Oh man, I LOVE this. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the divide (at least in my mind) between very modern day, premium Chinese and Taiwanese black teas full of sweetness and rich heavy starchy full-on food evocation (I call the majority of them “the chocolate and sweet potato teas”)—Laoshan Black, Bailin Gongfu, Wild Mountain Black; also the lighter but still very sweet, nuanced honeyed stuff like Golden Fleece, Mi Xian, and Honey Orchid—and my whole “old skool evocation” nostalgic comfort blacks and darjeelings full of dry woodiness and a different kind of floral perfume aspect. And I’ve been kind of like, I don’t want to have to choose just one closest to my heart, but when I’m honest with myself if I HAD to I sheepishly still feel it’d be the latter. Well, with this tea I don’t have to make that choice at all! It has the dry woody clean thing—cedarwood, apparently—going on most Steepsters seem to dislike but I love, an element that automatically puts me in “ah I know this, it’s been there for me for decades” mode, BUT the velvety, thick and plush, chocolate-y perfumed sweetness of those Chinese black teas as well. And they mesh well together! I love this so much. Man oh man. So glad Terri convinced me to go for it, and now I’m even more pumped to try all the sale blends from Verdant that boast this as their base. Like a meal of spicy woodsy dry forest. Whee.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

This tea is awesome! I’m glad you got some. : D


Expressed very well.


Terri, thanks so much for motivating me to grab it. I’m very grateful!

Bonnie, aw shucks. You’re always so nice. (: Thanks.

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166 tasting notes

Finally getting around to doing some notes on this outstanding Yunnan black-I was waiting until I had time to try it iced, as recommended by Verdant, but too many teas and not enough time, so never have had it iced. Unlike Laoshan Black, I prefer this Western style for a stronger cup, rather than Gong Fu. I measured out 4 gms for 8 oz water with my precise scale, since it is hard to measure this type leaf with a teaspoon. No bitterness whatsoever. Good flavor for several infusions. Really nice refined Yunnan black-I can pick up a little sweet potato, but I will leave the more detailed descriptions of flavor nuances to others more talented. Let’s just say, I like this a lot.

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Donna A

Now, later in the day, after putting up our outdoor Christmas decorations, I’m drinking this cold, and yes, I recommend this as a go to black tea for cold as well as hot. A nice tea to drink on a beautiful, mid 60’s sunny day here in Atlanta.

Donna A

Hi Paul. I’ll be looking at your posts for ideas too. I’m discovering so many very good blacks out there it’s almost overwhelming. Verdant has had some excellent ones. I’ve had success with Butiki, Teavivre and Harney&Sons to name a few more.

Donna A

Just love this tea! It is so good.

Terri HarpLady

Yup! I love it!
BTW, where you been Donna? I feel like I haven’t seen you in months! :)

Donna A

Terry, life has been keeping me very busy. My mother-in-law passed away this month after a 7 month illness, and my mom had brain surgery this summer, and besides that there were a lot of other things going on. You’re right, I haven’t been around much, but things are quieter now and I am going to try to check in more frequently. I really enjoy Steepster and I especially love reading your posts. Not just about the teas, but your life as a harpist!

Terri HarpLady

Oh wow! I’m so sorry to hear about all of that, Donna. Sending a big hug your way!

Donna A

Thanks Terri!

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141 tasting notes

These soft twisted downy black tea leaves are long and slender, with a coloring that is just as wonderful as the cup – dark chocolate and coppery caramel, intertwined together. It’s hard to get past the beauty of the dry leaves, but truthfully the brew is just as grand. Let me say before moving on, the prominent aroma from the dry leaves is of shaved dark chocolate – slightly drier, chocolate dust in smell.

The leaves seem to unify in color during and after the infusion. The liquid is full bodied and carries the cocoa aroma to a creamier molasses taste as you finish the sip. The tea seems to hold out very nicely during each of the steepings.

I started with a longer western steep time on the first infusion, then switched to Gung Fu method for a few cups, then back to western. Now looking back, I should have started Gung Fu, then switched to western to get the best take on how the tea really develops. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that I enjoy a little longer steep time on this one, in order to get a little bit of the drier astringency feel to the mouth. At least that’s which way I prefer at the moment.

This is a great tea and it certainly speaks for itself. One you must try to fully appreciate it.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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218 tasting notes

TTB #4

This is my first Verdant tea ever! From the coolest loose leaf ever (that looks like fancy packing cut-ups) I got a ruby red infusion that smells like maple-chocolate icing. The maple can be found in the flavor as well, along with some wheaty, grainy notes that I really like and don’t find in teas often.

But the smell… It’s absolutely wonderful. It is insane that a non-flavored tea can smell like this. Sweet, almost caramely. There’s barely any astringency to it, and perhaps just a trace of bitter in the aftertaste as it cools down.

I really love it!

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

resteeps well too!


I’m totally going to do that!


This is one of my favorites that got me hooked to Verdant. You should try Laoshan Black (& LB Genmaicha) if you get the chance!


I really want to make an order with them some time… And I just got some birthday money, too :P


Glad you like this one! I love the deeper, sweeter, unflavored blacks.


It’s absolutely delicious. I am so happy with the Traveling Teabox :)

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