Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea

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Black Tea
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Baked Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Honey, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes
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Edit tea info Last updated by HyBr1d
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205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g

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96 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I made a decision this morning to get back to working my way through my TOMC teas from Verdant. Being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I joined both TOMC & TOMCR, & although I’ve sampled...” Read full tasting note
  • “First Verdant order. Awwwww. My first experience with this was a little bumpy. The first steep was awesome. I really got the dark chocolate many are talking about. The aftertaste really tricks...” Read full tasting note
  • “All eyes have been on ROME for the past few weeks and especially today! I’ve enjoyed seeing the place that I’ve been to and wish to return on TV. It’s my dream to take my granddaughters to Rome...” Read full tasting note
  • “I have been hoarding this tea like squirrel getting ready for winter. I haven’t had it since I saw they weren’t making any new batches for awhile. But I still have like 6 little pouches left so I...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

An experimental hybrid tea with the best of Tieguanyin, Wuyi oolong and malty black tea. . . .
Fo Shou or “Buddha’s Hand,” is a varietal of tea from Wuyi, traditionally twisted and oxidized into an oolong tea. This revolutionary Fo Shou Black Tea is an experimental crop transplanted in nearby Anxi and fully oxidized as a black tea. The fusion of rocky Wuyi flavor, malty black tea flavor, and hints of Anxi Tieguanyin flavor make this a worthwhile and intriguing creation all of its own.

Wang Huimin, one of our dearest tea friends and first mentors has known the Bi family for years, and when they started producing this unique black tea in addition to their better known Tieguanyin, Wang Huimin was determined to help them share their work.

The early steepings have strong rocky notes that hint at the Wuyi origins of this tea similar to a Big Red Robe. The smell is that of German chocolate cake with hints of walnut, coconut and caramel. As the rocky notes unfold, a luscious almost alcoholic taste starts to open up as if the chocolate cake we are tasting has been soaked in spiced rum.

As the infusions play out, the sweetness grows, evoking butterscotch (simmered with almond extract and a mature single malt scotch). The aftertaste hints at floral creamy notes that Anxi imparts to its famous Tieguanyin. In late steepings the chocolate intensifies to the taste of raw cacao powder melted on the tongue with a whipped cream chaser.

Seeing the flavors inherent in the varietal as well as the land come through in such a new and exciting way is well worth trying. This experiment is sure to grow into a flourishing new kind of tea- one that we hope to support with Wang Huimin’s help for years to come.

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96 Tasting Notes

2005 tasting notes

This is fine stuff. Cocoa plus oolong, which grows oolonger as the cup cools.

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76 tasting notes

:’} …sniff…. I love tea….

My Friend Rashad

It brings a tear to my eye.

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1328 tasting notes

I am so bored! Boredboredboredboredbored! Not bored enough to take the hoover around the house, though. Not yet. It needs to be done, but it can wait a little longer. I hate hoovering…

Instead, I shall have a cup of tea to celebrate the Teavivre order I just accidentally (yes, totally!) placed. Finally, oh finally, I shall try that their Tan Yang. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about not having tried it yet, because I distinctly remember asking them if they were planning on getting. So not having tried it yet feels like not following through on my own suggestion, which is kind of poor manners.

While I’m waiting for that, I’m going to have a crack at another one of the Verdant samples I received recently when, on Husband’s orders, stocking up on the Life-Giving Tea. That would by the Laoshan Black, FYI. Hasn’t been called anything else in this house since forever. Yes, we nickname our favourites. Don’t everybody?

This one, I have to admit, I picked almost entirely based on the name. Every time I see ‘Fo Shou’, my mind reads it as ‘Fo’ sho’ and often supplies either ‘dude!’ or ‘man!’ after that. Can’t help it. It makes me smile. Obviously, therefore I had to try it.

The packaging is different from the other Verdant samples and thankfully comes with an identification sheet. I hope I don’t lose it. It would be just like me… Perhaps it’s a sign that I should try this out sooner rather than later, yes?

The aroma is slightly wood-y and slightly leather-y, and I want to say slightly fruit-y as well, but I’m not super-certain that I really think it is. What it does have in large amounts, however, is a strong note of something that… I know what it is, but I don’t know what it is! It’s kind of like cocoa, but not quite there. I think it’s cocoa mixed with something and it’s the something that is confusing me. Roasted nuts, perhaps? Hmm, I need to think about this.

Gosh, the flavour is a lot stronger than I had thought it would be! There is definitely leather and wood in this, all dark and rough and somehow faintly ash-y. Now those of you who remember the recent encounter with Tetley’s tea bags, will remember that I said those tasted like ashes, and that it wasn’t particularly pleasant. For some reason this note of ash is coming off in a much more favourable light here. I suspect the unpleasantness in the Tetley bags was in combination with the smell of wet cardboard and the taste of the paper teabag, whereas this particular tea is completely cardboardless and guaranteed paper-free. This way, the ash just comes over as something with just a hint of smoke. It isn’t really smoke, but it reminds me of smoke, and apparently that’s close enough for jazz.

Ashes, but good ashes. Right. Okay. I’m not sure that there really is any sound logic in that, but there you are. It is, however, a note that brings a warning with it. With many Chinese black teas you can generally steep them from now and until kingdom come, and your result will still be drinkable rather than a bitter, astringent mess. I don’t think that is true for this one. That note is a strong one, and I think it will turn strongly astringent if left to its own devices for too long.

That note is the primary one here, and it’s the first one I meet when sipping. It’s fairly small at first, then there’s a pause in which other stuff happens, and then sort expands rapidly on the swallow, greatly dominating the flavour profile.

Now I want to talk a bit about that other stuff that happens there in the middle. Those are our more friendly, calm and well-behaved notes. The source of the cocoa-and-something notes in the aroma. So there is a great deal of cocoa there, obviously, but there’s something else as well. It’s not pure caramel, but more a dulce de leche sort of note. I loffs me some dulce de leche… I’ve only ever seen one brand of it here, though, and it costs a small fortune for a small glass, so it’s a very rare treat indeed.

Although the cocoa note is stronger than the dulce de leche-y note, I still think it’s the dulce de leche-y one that I’m noticing the most. It feels longer, somehow, softening the ash-y pow at the end of the sip. As I drink it even starts to build up a little on the aftertaste too.

As it cools and develops, this is the note that really starts to come out more and more and I don’t even have to wait so very long before that initial ash-y dominance is almost completely broken into something much smoother and caramel-y.

I find I’m enjoying this a great deal more now than I thought I would when I had the very first sip. But I still think it’s one of the few Chinese blacks that it’s actually possible to ruin through over-steeping. This tea does not give the impression of being foolproof.


I read it as fo’ sho too and it always makes me smile when I see it in the tasting notes.


Me too! Fun note!


I’m glad it’s not just me! :D

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794 tasting notes

When I made some of this up in my glass gongfu pot my roomie exclaimed that she could smell the chocolate and assumed this was a flavoured tea. I let her try some and she seemed to like it quite a bit.

This one is incredibly smooth, with a malty taste that is sweetened by a creamy cocoa liqueur flavour. I get a little coconut milk too. The creamy, gooey, caramel rich, sweetness seems to have come out even more on second steep. This is as good as the Himalayan pink salt caramel chocolate I had a few hours ago.

I wish I had more than two little sample bags. I feel that Verdant Tea has spoiled me for other things, especially when it comes to black tea and inherently lush flavours.

Edit: a little more spice and mineral sweetness on later steepings.


I ended up ordering a bit of this. So excited to see what I think of it, especially with these incredible descriptions. :)

Terri HarpLady

I originally got this with the TOMC, but also ended up ordering it. I started some this afternoon, and I’m still drinking the resteeps right now. Very enjoyable.

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300 tasting notes

I tried this for the first time last week but words were escaping me, the only things I could think of were chocolate, raisin, rum and a bad pun: I like this tea “fo sho”, yeah…

I love these little one-two serving packets, so convenient and unintimidating. Oh well if I mess this up I still have a dozen more! I feel like this tea, Verdant’s Yu Lu Cha and Mi Lan Dancong Black all need a side by side brewing. They all have this oolongy Laoshan Black thing going on, though I’m sure each is quite unique, its hard to find them just based on memory.

The first time I tried this I could not find any hints of Anxi Tieguanyin, but there are some lovely honey orchid notes present in this first cup steeped a bit longer than my first gongfu session (15 secs instead of 3-5). I also get Big Red Robe, which I love and miss. I really liked Laoshan Black and Big Red Robe together, so this is a winner.

I’m going to steep it out through the day and I hope to find some of those single malt scotch notes. I really love Bonnie’s tasting note on this and completely agree that the raisin notes are golden raisin and the chocolate feels very raw at the beginning. Already this session is yielding a much fuller bodied tea and I’m looking forward to brewing this western style for the husband who will have none this sparkling mineral nonsense (aka how I love my teas). Also, yay 275!

Invader Zim

I’m glad I’m not the only one to think “fo sho” when I see this tea!


Annoyingly enough so do I.


I just got mine today and can’t wait to try it but waiting because I just had hot sauce on pizza and I don’t want my palate to be disrupted by that when I sample this tea!

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I also was trying to think of a ‘fo sho’ comment, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s mind is twisted that way! :D


Haha, me… four?

Anyways, I was also thinking that I need to do a comparison of chocolatey blacks, including this one, Yu Lu Cha, Laoshan Black, Zhu Rong…. However, as I think the only one stably available to order will be Laoshan Black, which I find highly satisfying, I suspect I will never get around to this. (Yet I will still be curious about the subtle differences, so I encourage you to do it! Haha)

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525 tasting notes

Brewing this for the first time yesterday was a bit of a disaster. It tasted so weird! Sour and harsh and somehow underleafed all at once. I gave up after two steepings. Today, I decided to change things up a bit and see if it made a difference. I used the remaining half of the packet, but only half the amount of water as yesterday. I also used unfiltered water from my tap since I had used filtered last time. Result? Much better! So does this mean some teas taste better with unfiltered tap water? Or is my brita messed up? Water tastes fine… meh. Oh well. Now I know! And I can review this tea!

First, the dry leaves smell like a delicious chocolate truffle. mmmmm….

The first steep is luscious and dark chocolatey. Also mineraly, like hot rocks. Tasty!

Second steep tastes more like burning rocks and dry fall leaves. This is good. There is a sweet aftertaste. And something undefinably fruity. Still have that dark chocolate quality.

Going for a third steep! This is a nice mellow one with a lovely sweetness. I can definitely taste its oolongy origins here. Reminds me of forest soil, like many dark oolongs do.

This is a very tasty experiment indeed! I’m glad I got an ounce of this to play with. :) Next time, it’s going into the gaiwan.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Have a green day!


I’m getting sourness from some of my teas as well, and i recently changed my Brita filter. Thanks for the idea! I’ll use plain tap water tomorrow.


It will depend on the tap water too. Good luck!


Much better today! Our tap water is actually really good, just sometimes heavily chlorinated. I need to filter it before drinking it plain. :)


Yay! Glad it worked out for you! Wonder why Brita makes sour tea?


that’s weird. i use my brita all the time. so must be something to do with the water + brita


I just changed the filter, so it must be something to do with that. I was thinking of cleaning my kettle, but now I’m scared to disturb the balance. :)

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1779 tasting notes

I only had a sample of this, so I decided to save it for my 1-Year Steepster Anniversary: THAT’S TODAY! :O

I can’t believe it’s only been a year – this site, and the people on it, have become such a big part of my life. I’ve said this before, but I’m generally on here before facebook or twitter and I try to constantly stay up to date with it. I’ve learned so much, met a lot of great people and tasted roughly 480 teas. Wow. That’s… more than one a day. :O

So I thought I would take the time to do this one properly, and steep the entire pack in my little gongfu for 10 seconds as advised.

It smells amazing. Rich cocoa notes, malt and a bit of caramel sweetness. It tastes pretty similar as well! I’ll see how many steeps I can go through of this throughout the day and add to this as I go.

1-3: Very strong cocoa notes, with malt and caramel. It dominates my mouth – almost makes me think I’m eating something instead of just drinking.

4-6: Still good, but far less cocoa with each steep.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Happy Steepster anniversary!


YAY! Happy Anniversary!


Congrats on 1 yr! happy anniversary :D


Happy Steepster anniversary!


Happy anniversary!


Happy anniversary!


Woo! Happy anniversary! :)


Thanks! :) You guys make this place worth coming back to. (multiple times a day)


Happy one year! :D

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409 tasting notes

New verdant monthly order! I’ve gotten pretty bad about logging my teas lately, but it’s been a lot of laoshan green at the office, mostly. This is a lovely experimental black tea, more robustly flavored than the Yu Lu Yan Cha (my only complaint there is its subtlety), but a similar flavor profile to both than and Laoshan black – chocolate, caramel, cream, but also a roasty flavor like dark ooolong to give it strength where those others fade away.

Anyone who likely Wuyi oolong and black teas should give this a try, or if you like Laoshan black but just wish it had more staying power.

My gaiwan is tiny (I was gifted with a pair for Christmas, both hold about 3oz)so I only used half a 5g packed on this, and plan to mix the other shortly with the chai spice mix that was this month’s 3rd tea. This is a lovely warming, hearty trio for the cold winter!

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2815 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea for about a month and keep waiting for a slow day where I’m not busy to really sit and do a proper tea tasting gong fu style. Unfortunately I don’t really have too many of those days lately.

I decided to just try the whole thing Western style so I brewed it up for 2 minutes and it is definitely an intriguing tea this way. I’m getting the mineral notes of a wuyi oolong with cocoa flavors. Also there’s a slight smokiness with the woody/leathery sort of flavors that some other tasters noted. I imagine the latter might be a lot less pronounced if you had shorter steeps. This definitely reminds me of raw chocolate but I’m getting the raisin notes too, especially as the cup cools off. Overall a very intriguing tea with lots of interesting flavor, I would probably order more of this in the future. It’s pretty yummy.

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Terri HarpLady

I usually brew the whole little packet in 8 oz cup for 3 min, 4 min, then 5 min. Love it!


i so want this to come back. nao!


Terri – good to know!
Sil – I didn’t know it was gone!

Terri HarpLady

Sil, I’ll send you one… :)


I actually really just need to drop verdant a line and ask about this tea AND the rewards program. only the gift certificates are up now…and i’m hoping this is a sign of new things to come!


Yeah, I saw that too! I’m hoping it’s a sign, too…


+1 on the hopes that verdant updates its reward catalog

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408 tasting notes

I have the chance to write this note thanks to Sil – thank you so much for sharing.
You know I’m not a plain tea person. It means I don’t get all the natural flavours you mentioned in your notes.
It’s a medium bodied tea, quite malty but no so much. What I get much is a smoky burnt taste. I feel a little like if the tea itself was hidden behind this flavour. It is mineral too to my opinion.
It’s doesn’t taste chocolate to me or maybe the grilled cocoa beans.

I’ll try a second steep to see how the tea evolution is

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

But you tried it! And that’s important :)


absolutely ! I am trying to have more plain teas to develop my palate. I know I love keemums and orange pekoe types…more reticent with plain assams, but depends on the teas really. I need to continue experiencing plain teas


ah yes me too, i don’t have a good tasting machine in my mouth either. not for the subtleties. just your saying this helps me feel a little less malfunctioned.
and i keep trying too. having fun all along the way of course!


yep drinking more and more teas is really fun !


This one gets better through the steeps. It gets a tieguanyin creamy floral aspect to it.

It took me a while to like plain teas. But once you get use to them you can get hooked.


Ysaurella, this is great that you are trying. I know this analogy is mentioned quite often, but it is true, straight tea does compare to wine and the more you have it, the more you get to appreciate it in your own ways :-)


thank you all, I keep trying :)

Terri HarpLady

You will also get to try this one again, along with the caramel vanilla assam & a few others, as I have once again sent you a box. Hopefully this one will not get stuck in customs!
Keeping my fingers crossed!

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