Mi Lan Dancong Black

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Black Tea
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Burnt Sugar, Dates, Honey, Sweet Potatoes
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
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205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g

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From Verdant Tea

A perfectly realized synthesis of honey-fruit, avocado, wafting jasmine & chocolate malt. . . .

Mi Lan Dancong Oolong and Laoshan Black are two of our favorite teas in existence. Little did we know that out there was a tea whose flavor profile perfectly combined the best elements of each. At least, until we found this Mi Lan Dancong Black.

The aroma of the wet leaf is that of sweet sesame, caramelized asparagus, cinnamon spice and ice wine. The harmony is intriguing and unexpected. The first sip reveals the intensity of this tea. If raw honey were transfigured into a pomegranate, the sensation of tasting this tea would be like biting into the honey-fruit’s pulp and feeling it burst open in a mouth-watering juiciness.

The aftertaste reveals a wafting vaporous floral note, like fine jasmine incense picked up by a light breeze. There is a sweetness that is both creamy and vaguely savory like perfectly ripe avocado, and a gentle lingering malty chocolate flavor. Later steepings introduce a sparkling spicier texture, with flavors moving towards cacao nibs and malted milk. This is a perfectly integrated and harmonious realization of the ideals of black tea and oolong.

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59 Tasting Notes

2815 tasting notes

Thanks to Verdant for sending me a free sample of this tea – sorry I am just getting around to trying it now. Dancongs do not tend to be a favorite of mine but I thought I would try this with an open mind. :)

I did a quick rinse and then dumped the whole sample into my gaiwan, did a quick rinse. The wet leaf smells fruity, a lot like an oolong.

I steeped the tea for around 30 seconds and got a very light colored infusion. Aroma smells a bit of honey and caramel which is very nice. The flavor of the tea is fruity, reminds me of sesame but also has a slightly bittersweet aftertaste that really cleanses the palate. It is quite oolong-y in character as others have mentioned.

2nd steep I think might have been around 45 seconds, but I lost track of time looking up recipes for black eyed peas. :) It’s interesting that the fruity notes are fading and I am getting a bready/malty sort of quality, but the bitterness is too strong here so I think the shorter steep is a better idea.

This has been a fun tea to try and Verdant has some interesting selections.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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262 tasting notes

I’m trying to get a grasp on this tea, but it’s not really doing anything really special for me.
Sure I can appreciate some zing and juiciness in it with a hint of cocoa and smoke, but it’s really not full bodied enough for me.
What am I missing?

I rinsed, then did a 5s steep using 5g leaves per 250 ml just under boiled water.

It’s good. Just not something I reach for or crave or want more of often.
It’s meh.

I get some smoke, some honey, maybe some green oolongish flavours.. possibly slightly similar to a big red robe with a mineral note.
I’m underwhelmed. HMPH.

EDIT.. wait. I just found a mouthful of caramel on my 3rd steep (10s)… Delicious caramel. Not overtly sweet, but creamy. Super creamy cream caramel. Yummmmm.
Ok original rating: 79..
new one.. well, whatever it says.

205 °F / 96 °C

You can’t love them all!


Very true! I just found caramel though so I’ll give it credit. I think I just keep wanting it to be a delightful black tea, but keep getting oolong.

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807 tasting notes

I did a rinse as suggested by the Verdant website under How To Brew.
Then I let my first steep sit for 45 seconds. This produced a light golden brown brew.

Steep One:
The initial flavor on the first sip was sweet, very sweet, like really good honey.
While the flavor of the black tea base is distinctive as a black tea for some reason I keep feeling as though I am drinking an oolong, there is some kind of oolingish kick and aroma in this cup.
I also am picking up already on the wine like flavors of this tea but not in a muscat or grape flavor way, more like a port or Mead.
As the cup cools I am getting a sweet spicy flavor but it is not so much a cinnamon as it is a black pepper flavor.
The aftertaste sits on the palate more like an oolong than a black however with a thickness but yet there is a black tea astringency – not sour or bitter but just astringent ever so slightly. The sweet helps to cut this.

Steep Two:

This steep brings forth a more spicier note to it. The cinnamon is trying to peek through but its not fully developed yet, it still has that peppery note to it.

The body is richer, fuller, and there is more astringency.

The sweetness is still present but more subdued.

Its a little on the tart side almost like a black tea that has been over steeped.
I do not feel I over steeped it.

I prefer the first steep at this point.

The oolongish flavor is mellowing.

Truly nothing TOO special about this steep.
Remaining hopeful for third steep.

Third Steep: Nothing remarkable

Perhaps I did something wrong. It started out SO promising I thought I had hit the mother load and would have to instantly go make a verdant order but alas it was a one trick pony for me. I feel sad as if I missed the boat here. Maybe I will grab a sample size of this to try again. That first steep though was really amazing.

Scott B

Sadly, this tasted way too oolong-ish to me and I didn’t taste much of the other notes. I was really hoping to taste some avocado.


Yeah me too :(

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59 tasting notes

Wow! I have to share something amazing quickly here:

Someone brought Whoppers malted milk balls to work and put them out for us all to share. I grabbed a handful, and then rooted around in my sack-o-tea-at-work to find an afternoon pick-me up. Luck put the Mi Lan black into my hands. THANK YOU, Lady Luck!

So, I ate a whopper, then I took a sip of this tea. Ugh- so delicious. The malt and milk chocolate really bring out the rich herbaceous qualities at the base in this tea, and emphasize the notes of fruit until it feels like I’m have some good and VERY purple concord jelly.

If you have this tea and if you like malt balls, you must give this pairing a try! Omnomnom..slurpityslurp. A match made in heaven.

This is the afternoon pick me up I needed.


See…purple is good…I’ve seen purple edges on tea before.


Yes- purple is great. This tea tastes both purple, blue-green, and a lovely dark chocolatey shadow.. reminds me of a lot of the Song dynasty Jun glazes I saw at the MIA last weekend.
Take a look at this incense burner, and you’ll see the colors I am tasting: http://www.dynastyantique.com/ebay/items/7885/1.JPG
Just imagine the malty beautiful chocolatey brown of the taste of Laoshan black dusted on the edges or (even better) filling the vessel as a liquid, and that captures the taste pretty well.

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514 tasting notes

I love comparing this to the Mi Lan Dancong Oolong.

All my favourite MLDO notes are here, but with a smooth caramel melting on your tongue sensation.


Today I made a large pot of this. It’s very comforting and a perfect fall tea.
I felt naughty, so I stirred in 1/4 tsp sweetened condensed milk into my current cup. mm I’m getting some sweet honeyed cheesecake notes, but with a smokiness of smoked gouda or havarti. Definitely a mix between sweet and savoury cheese. I love cheese!i

Off to the library!

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2197 tasting notes

This tea was a gamble for me. I am not really a fan of Mi Lan Dancong oolongs so much, but I figured, what the heck I’m getting more and more into Chinese black teas, so I might as well give this one a go. I included a sample size of it in my most recent order.

When I first smelled the leaves I got just an aroma of slight chocolate and toasted grains, kind of like dark oolong. Then I exhaled into my teapot and inhaled immediately afterward and I got the most amazing apricot/plum/stone fruit aroma coming back at me. It was quite surprising!

I looked at the steeping instructions on Verdant’s website, and even the western instructions were not that western. I decided to go with the gong-fu instructions and bust out my tiny teapot/gaiwan hybrid for the first time since I returned from Madagascar. My pot is 6oz, so I used the entire 7g sample in it, which filled it about halfway as recommended on Verdant’s site. Two rinses, as instructed, and then the first steep, just a couple of seconds. The wet leaf smells crazy minerally with hints of cooked spinach, and the tea itself smells completely unexpectedly like the woods, like trees, like cinnamon. Actually I’m impressed that I detected that cinnamon note without reading about it first in the description, because I often don’t really find things like that until I go looking for them specifically. The tea is creamy and honeyed, though I don’t find it to be fruity. Never mind, my last, lukewarm sip of the first steep was a tiny stone-fruity. Overall a pretty oolongy steep.

After the second quick steep, the inside of the lid of my teapot and the wet leaf both yield a surprisingly strong floral note, but I would call it gardenia instead of jasmine. The liquor smells sweeter, more cinnamony and less earthy-vegetal, though the florals err on the vegetal side of things. The flavor is again honeyed and more floral this time, in an oolongy way, not a particularly flowery way. I get an aftertaste of asparagus, and as the second steep builds in my mouth the mineral flavor returns.

Overall I would echo others who say this tea seems very oolongy. I guess it’s hard to put a line down on oolong versus black tea sometimes, and this tea definitely straddles that line. Am I glad I tasted it? Absolutely. It was a fun experiment. But I doubt I’ll be picking more up since I’ve never really gotten into those dancong oolongs in the first place. Someone who was would no doubt find this tea very intriguing.


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2268 tasting notes

I have several samples that I have saved for a time when I can pay them special attention. This is such a time, and such a sample, from the generous and venerable Bonnie!

I put my kettle on to boil and carried my eight ounce pot to the stove with the leaves in it. As I set it down, I caught a whiff of what I thought was peaches. I looked around. No peaches in the house right now. Hand lotion? No. Must be the ae leaves, but straight black tea that smells like a stone fruit? Verdant, you have some amazing and unique teas!

I gave it a quick rinse and then steeped for 25 seconds, keeping on the low end of their recommendations. The resulting brew is light in color for a black tea. The first sips are so milky. “Are we sure this isn’t a milk oolong?” I find myself thinking. A dark, baked milk oolong is how I would describe the first steep.

On the second steep, a metamorphosis is occurring. The liquor is now a little darker – I let it steep for 35 seconds this time. Okay, now I taste what I think of as light black tea with an unsweetened cocoa profile that is very light, but it is mixed with a slight milkiness and also quite a bit of green tea flavor. This is very hard to pin down as a black tea as it seems to behave so much like a oolong!

Third steep: What? Color remains a medium light brownish yellow, but the milkiness has increased, most notably on the front of the sip. The impression of a dark oolong has increased on the swallow, but the aftertaste is that of a well rounded green tea and a slight drying is taking place as an after effect, not unpleasantly.

The fourth steep was my favorite. It was even creamier and the unsweetened cocoa has given way to a soft, buttery vegetal flavor. At first I thought the slight drying effect was gone, but as I kept drinking it was still there, though very light. Steep number five: lighter, maybe a little dryer and the milkiness is lifting a bit now. There is more flavor here than I would have expected from a black tea resteeping so many times.

Thank you, Bonnie, for an enjoyable afternoon tea experience!

Tunes: Luc Baiwer/Symphony des Ages – Prelude for a Century, in Memoriam. Remembering the families, the innocent, the broken, the heroes. And praying.


It is good to remember, and special tea’s are wonderful for soothing and deepening the entry into the two sides of our memories of sorrow then hope. We have icons in our hearts and light candles there. Memory Eternal. 9/11 and all the others we remember.

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3283 tasting notes

It’s gonna take a couple of cups to get me going today…
I stayed up til 3:30am, wearing my “web designer” hat, & although it was frustrating & there was some drama & a few tears, I’m pleased to say that I’ve updated my website to include a Paypal shopping cart!! If you’d like to listen to samples from my 3 CDs, & perhaps support my tea drinking habit, pour yourself a cup & drop by for a visit @ www.harpsinger.net

I almost didn’t try this particular tea this morning. I have things to do, places to go, people to see. I was thinking of a deep assam, or Laoshan Black…something dark & easy…steep 3 minutes & enjoy. Yet here I sit with my Gaiwan, on steep # 6…make that steep # 7…ah, but I digress…

I actually followed the instructions this time (little Terri is still sleeping).
Steep #1: A mild roasty mushroom-like aroma…mmm, the taste is roasted barley & jasmine…interesting combo
Steep #2: A very Oolong feeling here, with chocolate undertones
Steep #3: Now I’m getting a beautiful depth of flavor that includes roasted veggies
Steep #4 Essence of Jasmine & chocolate, but the chocolate here is different from the chocolate of Laoshan Black or one of Verdant’s tasty Yunnans. It isn’t a dark powery baker’s chocolate, maybe it’s more like a chocolate liquor.
Steep #5: And now a buttery-ness rises, still underscored with chocolate, Jasmine, & the exotic smoothness of an Oolong.
Steep #6: There is a sensation that I can only describe as the surface of still water…
Steep #7: …or the surface of a perfect crystal…
Steep #8: The flavors in this tea linger, & now I taste that avocado that was mentioned.
Steep #9: I have to say, the color is still good, a nice amber. There is now an underscore in the flavor of ‘Stone’, that’s the only word I can think of.
Steep #10 OK, so I’m not going to take it all the way to steep #18, but it wouldn’t be unpleasant to do so, as far as the qualities of this tea go.(luckily these are all small steepings, or else I’d be water-logged, I mean tea-logged, by now)


Hooray, look at all you got done and a good deal of tea reviewing too. Nice job. (I think you and I process alike).


you sing like an angel!! love your site
Wish I knew what crystal tastes like! lol


(and play, I meant sing and play!)

Terri HarpLady

Bonnie, I think you’re right!
Indigo, Thanks! My site is a work in progress, always. I’m a reluctant web-designer and I always do things the wrong way at least 3 times before I get it figured out! Tony laughed when he saw the CD sales pages, with all the arrows pointing every way, but then he said, “Baby, it’s you”.

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250 tasting notes

I got this in the mail in Thursday, but I haven’t had time to try it until now. The wet leaves smeel like some sort of dark bread, fresh from the oven with sasame seeds. the taste of this tea is much like it’s Oolong version, very juicy and thirst-quenching, but it has fruity-chocolate flavor as well. The taste lingers pleasantly on the tongue and hard palate, lasting fr well over two minutes, and gradually fading to a smoewhat floral flavors before it disappears. While this isn’t a replacement for my recently-exhausted Yunnan Golden Buds, it’s an amawing addition to my stash, and I an glad that I decided to try it out.

P. S. – Music for the day is opera from my local classical stations (you can listen in at classicalweta.com. They strema their music live over the internet!) I was listening to Moses in Egypt by Rossini. Really great stuff, and the performance was top-notch.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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4847 tasting notes


A LOVELY tea from Verdant … of course, that seems a little redundant, since nearly every tea I’ve ever had from Verdant has been absolutely amazing. I can’t recall one that I’ve really disliked … I can always order in confidence from them because I know I can trust them to deliver awesomeness.

This tea was indeed awesome. It has an Oolong-ish sort of fragrance to it. Being a California girl, I sort of disagree with the suggestion that there are flavors like avocado in this tea – but, I can see how the comparison can be made. That said, I think an avocado tea would be awesome.

Here is my full-length review of this tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/01/31/mi-lan-dancong-black-tea-from-verdant-tea/

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