Laoshan Gongfu Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Black Tea Leaves
Flavors
Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Musty, Oak wood, Rye, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Wood, Butternut Squash, Cacao, Cloves, Coffee, Sugarcane, White Grapes, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Vanilla, Candy, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Roasted, Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Brown Toast, Char, Marshmallow, Mineral, Toffee, Oats, Sugar, Cedar
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 19 oz / 571 ml

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From Our Community

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5 Want it Want it

11 Own it Own it

18 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Well, I originally came on here to review this tea. I don’t get a chance to sit down and drink tea and review it too often anymore. Having a toddler and two other children tends to interfere with...” Read full tasting note
    83
  • “Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (1) I was inspired by Mastress Alita‘s efforts to sipdown her traveling teabox samples, so I’m going to try to do something similar with my pile of swap samples....” Read full tasting note
    85
  • “This was my first Laoshan black and it was quite tasty. Spring 2018 harvest prepared gong fu with 5g and water just off boiling, no rinse. Ten second first steep with increases of 5s for...” Read full tasting note
    85
  • “dry leaf smells like chocolate pudding, cacao powder, the edges of brownies, and warm pumpernickel rye crust 8 infusions gongfu 1 tastes of sugar cane, hot chocolate made with water, lactic finish...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

This year Mr. He decided to experiment with his hand-twisting and rolling technique developed on Pine Needle Green in making a Wuyi Gongfu Black style tea true to Laoshan. The delicate treatment makes this tea yield many infusions and brings out the roasted marshmallow and chocolate s’mores quality of fine Laoshan Black. The He family is excited to release a very limited harvest of this new innovation for us to enjoy.

About Verdant Tea View company

Company description not available.

18 Tasting Notes

83
257 tasting notes

Well, I originally came on here to review this tea. I don’t get a chance to sit down and drink tea and review it too often anymore. Having a toddler and two other children tends to interfere with having downtime to yourself.

But what this looks like it will turn into is a comment on the state of Steepster. The first thing I noticed was all the spam on the discussion page. Wow. I joined Steepster around 4 or 5 years ago, I think, and was entranced by all the constant reviews and vibrant discussions that seemed to be continually going on. Not to mention all the tea swaps and other sources of information and entertainment. I was very sad to see the state of the discussion board along. I decided to check out my dashboard and found much of the same. A very low amount of activity. Then I went to the people I’m following and checked in with their reviews and it seems a large majority who used to be super active haven’t posted much in the last year, if at all. (Hi to any of you who are still active here) I’m definitely guilty of this myself but it seems about a year and a half ago when I stopped coming on as often due to a new baby situation, everyone else decided that was when they stepped away as well.

I’m kind of sad to come back here and see the state of it. This was the first place that introduced me to the wide world of teas and all the knowledge that could be found here through reviews and discussion. But it seems no longer. I’m sure that is just a natural progression but it still makes me sad. I don’t know of another place that is quite like this one.

Le sigh.

Kittenna

There are still some people here! But yes, the spammers are kind of out of control, and there isn’t nearly as much activity as there once was. I have to wonder whether the discussion page being so spammy contributes to people thinking this is a junk site? Anyways, I’m back after a fairly long hiatus (funnily enough – new baby is the reason I’m able to be back, since I’m no longer working insane amounts!), and noticed the same thing, but as I find this site useful for personal records, I’m sad but undeterred :)

Evol Ving Ness

As for me, I am not so much on the discussion boards, so I manage to avoid all that nonsense. I spend my steepster time on tea reviews and casual chat on other reviews. And yes, not as much activity, but still vibrant in spots. I think many reviews are now coming up on SororiTEAs (but no comments afaik).

mtchyg

Thanks to you both for responding and commiserating. I’m trying to do my part to be more present and active. Be the change, right? For me it’s a balance between time and limited caffeine intake. Looking forward to more interactions and discussions.

Mastress Alita

I balance my caffeine by switching to herbal tea after 6pm. Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking through more herbals/tisanes than the caffeinated stuff!

mtchyg

Mastress, I definitely do this. Unfortunately I have to stagger days with caffeine. I have ulcerative colitis and too much caffeine seems to put me in a flare which is new as of a few years ago. Oh, getting older…

Mastress Alita

Hmm, I have been having more issues with comorbid-related IBS with my migraines over the last year but haven’t thought of limited my caffeine by staggering days, since I figure I don’t drink a crazy amount as it is and a small amount can be helpful for migraine. I may need to look into that…

mtchyg

Couldn’t hurt to try. I didn’t realize it was the caffeine until I took an extended break and saw improvement.

Kittenna

@mtchyg – Yes, being the change is what I’m trying to do, when I have time! I’ve consistently been drinking a fair bit of tea, it’s the time aspect that got away from me. I suspect when I return to work after mat leave I may slow down on the reviews again unless I start taking proper breaks at work and reviewing during that time.

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85
1528 tasting notes

Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (1)

I was inspired by Mastress Alita‘s efforts to sipdown her traveling teabox samples, so I’m going to try to do something similar with my pile of swap samples. I’m going to start out trying to sip one swap sample down each day, but that’s obviously quite optimistic so I’m not going to kill myself trying to adhere to it.

This swap sample is courtesy of Arby! It comes from the Autumn 2016 harvest.

I couldn’t remember how Laoshan black teas taste, but to me it’s a similar flavor profile to Fujian blacks. It has the distinctive caraway note that I find to be characteristic of Fujian black teas. There is also a lovely light chocolaty flavor and a lot of natural sweetness to this tea. This combined with the smooth malt and bread notes makes me think of rye toast with chocolate spread. An aromatic, oaky wood flavor rounds out the bottom nicely. I can also detect a bit of dry mustiness that makes me think of white tea.

Verdant describes this one as tasty of toasted marshmallow and chocolate s’mores. I guess I can kind of see the s’mores angle, with the strong chocolate notes combined with the malty breadiness. And there is quite a lot of natural sweetness. But I don’t think I personally taste marshmallow at all. Then again, I’ve prepared this Western style, so I’m likely missing some of the subtleties. Still yummy though!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Musty, Oak wood, Rye, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mastress Alita

Slow and steady wins the race, that’s why I’m doing one a week rather than one a day. But progress is progress! Go for the s-s-s-sipdoooown!

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85
448 tasting notes

This was my first Laoshan black and it was quite tasty. Spring 2018 harvest prepared gong fu with 5g and water just off boiling, no rinse. Ten second first steep with increases of 5s for subsequents steeps. I think I got 8 total.

The dry leaf was very fragrant, smelling of dark chocolate and fig. Wet leaf was also very fragrant with red fruit that smelled deep and full-bodied with a high note. It reminded me of the Mangosteen Skinny Tea I had last night, which possessed a very similar taste as the wet leaf aroma of this tea. I could also initially smell rum and dark chocolate with those moving into dark milk chocolate and honey as steeps progressed. The aroma of the wet leaf and liquor was strong enough to create a chocolatey ether in my vicinity.

The taste remained fairly stable throughout, lightening from the third steep on. I picked up on chocolate, wood, honey, golden raisin, sourness and brightness like an orange but not quite, malt, toast, roasted grains, minerals (limestone and iron), a light mushroom, very mild bitterness and later a hint of cedar. There was some astringency early on in the throat which faded. The mineral effect of the tea was very strong and made me salivate something wicked, which I freaking love. The aftertaste was light at first with some dark chocolate, then progressed into an incredible ball of honey sweetness that sat unmoving at the back of my tongue. The bottom of the cup retained a very strong graham cracker and thick honey scent.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with my first Laoshan black. It was incredibly fragrant and the tastes were complex enough to remain interesting, though it was a little too sweet and light-bodied for me. It’s not quite a dessert tea for me and I’d hesitate to suggest it to dessert tea lovers due to it’s woodiness but I think it’s worth picking up a sample to try. I’m looking forward to comparing the other two Laoshan black tea samples I purchased from Verdant.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Bluegreen

In my experience, Laoshan Blacks from Verdant teas were markedly better than the ones I tried from other vendors. More intense, more “original”.

derk

Intense is a good descriptor for this tea, especially in it’s persistent sweetness. This one did have kind of a rustic, unrefined quality to it but it was enjoyable. I’ll have to try another vendor’s just for the sake of comparison. Thanks for the heads up.

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8 tasting notes

dry leaf smells like chocolate pudding, cacao powder, the edges of brownies, and warm pumpernickel rye crust

8 infusions gongfu

1
tastes of sugar cane, hot chocolate made with water, lactic finish
smells like fresh pastry made with yogurt and chocolate

2
tastes of chocolate pudding, green grape, cloves
smells like sweet lamb stew and carob

3
tastes of beef stew, malt, chocolate, bread crust
smell like the leaves of undergrowth in the sun, chocolate, honey dried salmon

4
tastes of carob, with a cinnamon sweetness, and a malty, lactic finish
smells like sweet toasted bread

5
tastes of applewood, carob, with light coffee notes

6
tastes of burnt toffee, carob, salmon fat, delicata squash skin, and sweet estuaries

7th and 8th infusions dissipate into malt and warm seabreeze

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cacao, Chocolate, Cloves, Coffee, Malt, Sugarcane, White Grapes

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 1 OZ / 40 ML

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89
1110 tasting notes

Spring 2017 that was described as being:
very savory – chocolate, pastry, marshmallow, graham
fruity – goji, rasin
floral – honey, violet
And I gotta agree with Verdant’s descriptors this time. It was as chocolaty as any Laoshan teas, but it was chocolaty enough to avoid the asparagus vegetative notes while emphasizing the sweeter ones like the violet…and oh the violet was noticeable. This one was a bit more western starting at 45 sec, then a minute and a half and so on. While the profile was noticeably simpler, this tea was my second favorite of the sampler pack for its sheer sweetness. I liked that the chocolate note was picked up by goji to add a fruity edge and I liked that it was savory enough to coat my mouth.

I’d be very glad to try this again to give a fuller review because it was my second favorite black of the recent Verdant order, but I liked it for being an easy drinker or grandpa style tea that I drank rather quickly. Only let downs were price and it was not strong for more than four brews, but it was so awesome to grandpa this and not worry about it using 3 grams. I should try it gong fu again, but only problem is price.

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82
42 tasting notes

To be honest, I’ve always put off writing tasting notes about laoshan black because it’s such an understandably beloved tea, but also (in my experience) so singularly chocolately there’s not much to say about it. However, I decided to embark on and record a mindful tasting the other day, and approaching the tea much more mindfully yielded something entirely more complex than what I think of loashan black being.

The session lasted a solid 9 infusions. Following a flash rinse I started with 10 seconds and additions of 4 seconds, but gradually increased in bigger increments to a final brew of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

The aroma throughout the session was the typically strong chocolate smell of a laoshan black. However, the flavor profile started out like a mildly sweet bread mixed with chocolate. It reminded me of a chocolate chip croissant.

As the session continued I got an abundance of sweetness from honey and sugarcane notes, mixed with cinnamon and allspice. On the fourth steep I was caught off guard by a strong mint flavor at the start of the cup which faded back into the chocolate chip croissant flavor of the first infusion.

On the fifth steeping I decided to push the tea a bit more to see if I could get a round of strong chocolate flavor. I was rewarded with exactly that, but with a complimentary citrus note and a beautiful floral hit in the aromatics.

As the session ended the bitterness of the chocolate faded and I had a final cup that was sweet, creamy, and vanilla flavored. It was quite reminiscent of a sweetened steamed milk from Starbucks.

This was a really great session of a tea that’s always nice to have on hand if you enjoy a luxurious chocolate flavored cup. Clearly, as this session awakened me to, there’s more than meets the eye with this tea if you’re willing to invest yourself in the brew.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87
385 tasting notes

My review is for the Autumn 2016 version of this tea.

I found the taste and aroma of this tea very nostalgic. It brings back memories of drinking Nesquik chocolate milk growing up. It’s got a sweet hot chocolate taste with a bit of Ovaltine malt and some honeyed notes. The chocolatey-ness which is characteristic of Laoshan teas manifests itself here as milk chocolate. An interesting contrast to the smokey, cocoa-y bittersweet chocolate notes of classic spring laoshan black.

The kid in me loved the chocolate candy flavor of this tea but my adult palette prefers the richer dark chocolate taste profile of regular laoshan black tea. I would recommend brewing this gongfu or grandpa because it has no resteeping power. One 3 minute steep is all it could muster.

Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Honey, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87
47 tasting notes

Used around 4g, 90ml @ 212F.

Starting off with a really quick wash — small leaves = fast diffusions.

First off, the smell after wash was fantastic. Smelled primarily of roasted dark chocolate with cherry hints

Steep times were 5s, 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 12s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s

First steep. The smell was identical to hot chocolate. As for the flavour? hot chocolate. A tiny bit bitter but the trade off for that hot chocolate taste is absolutely worth it

Second steep. Imagine hot chocolate which has some cherry extract added to it. This is the second steep

Third steep. The dark chocolate with cherry hints remain. The bitterness is starting to change and open up with a woody flavour instead.

→Temperature is now around 190-200F

Fourth steep. Zero bitterness. No taste of the wood, but instead it tastes like hot chocolate with milk mixed in (i.e. milk chocolate).

Fifth steep. Cherry hints disappeared (probably due to lower temp), but the ‘dark hot chocolate’ taste moves towards a ‘milk hot chocolate’ taste. Quite delicious.

Sixth steep. Absolutely the same as the previous steep.

Seventh steep. Same as sixth, just much fainter.

Eighth steep. Same flavour as seventh, but getting much sweeter.

Ninth steep. Tastes like the eighth. Probably has a couple more steeps in it before going kaput.

Overall a really nice black tea. Instead of having the honey’d sweet potatoe taste that most chinese black teas taste like (at least from my experience), this brings to the table a whole new chocolate viewpoint towards black teas.

Really tasty and lasts for several steeps, highly recommend!

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Roasted, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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87
16 tasting notes

This review is for the Laoshan Gongfu Black of Autumn 2016 from Verdant Tea.

Preparation style: Gongfu in Gaiwan with 5gr of tea to 150 ml with multiple infusions in 205F water at a consistent 10 seconds each.

With notes of burnt sugar, malt, and dried currant and apple cider, the first infusions show a full-bodied tea with a darker flavor, without bitterness.

The primary aroma is a combination of burnt sugar and tart apple — think home-made candied apple and you’re close. The flavor, however, is less sweet and fruity than many (esp. Taiwanese) hong cha. I like this tea, and infused correctly it could easily become a favorite.

This tea can easily be over-steeped and the lovely fruit notes and sugar will be lost in a murky dark brew. In other tastings found 12 seconds bring out an overly dark tea, whe re the tannin profile tends toward darkly astringent without bitterness.

I would recommend this for small-pot western style brewing only with careful attention to the short steeping time and quick tea basket removal.

Flavors: Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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1112 tasting notes

I used the spring gongfu in the reblend of Chocolate Laoshan Genmaicha, so why not try the Autumn?

This has a drier feel with more of an Assamic bitterness tiving this tea the dark chocolate element over plain chocolate. The spring came out better for sure, but this is more suitable for a breakfast tea over the spring as it would pair with food beter due to the strength it has over the subtle notes the lighter stuff had in spring.

Still, such a unique and wonderful tea. Would blend up well with either a little yancha or dianhong for sure; like 20% of either added.

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