Classic Laoshan Black Tea from Shandong * Spring 2016

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Bread, Burnt, Dark Chocolate, Apricot, Caramel, Char, Chocolate, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Osmanthus, Peach, Pine, Toast, Vanilla, Walnut, Cocoa, Nuts, Wheat, Candy, Sugar, Yeasty, Roasted
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Bulk, Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 6 g 9 oz / 276 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Laoshan village is near Qingdao in the province of Shandong at an altitude of just 300 meters. Laoshan village is also near a sacred mountain, and not far from the ocean. Tea has been grown in Laoshan area for many generations. We are offering this “Imperial Grade” Laoshan Black tea made from the tippiest first flush of spring 2016 tea leaves.

Our Laoshan teas are grown by the Liang family, who have a small family operation growing Laoshan tea and doing all the processing of the tea themselves as well. You will notice that the tea is grown undercover of greenhouse which are fully covered in the winter to protect from frost and also in the earliest part of spring as well just as the leaves are starting to sprout. In the middle and later part of the first flush growth stage the coverings are removed and the tea bushes grow in full view of the sun until plucking in the first week of April.

Laoshan black tea is small and tippy, it lacks white pekoe style hairs that give black teas their gold color. Instead Lao Shan black is grown from Long Jing #43 and the dry leaf is small, spindly and has a brown-black shiny look to it. The brewed leaf gradually unfolds and reveals it’s brown color. The brewed leaves have a vertical (parallel to the stem) striations as a result of the rolling they undergo. The tea soup is tending more towards gold in color with much less red than a typical black tea. The taste of Laoshan black tea is amazingly sweet with very obvious chocolate notes and the slightest hint of osmanthus. People often question whether sugar was added to the tea somehow, but it’s just naturally sweet and thick.

Laoshan Black is harvested from 1st (pre Ming) and 2nd flush material during the first week of May, and again in Autumn. The tea is picked, wilted briefly, fried (kill green), rolled and then allowed to wilt under the sun in cloth bags for 2 to 3 days (depending on ambient temperatures). After sun wilting is complete the tea is roasted in a kind of hot air tumbler (滚桶 ).

Our Classic grade, although not as small and fine as it’s Imperial counterpart it is more robust in taste and has more of a dark chocolate bite to it. It is very smooth with a golden yellow tea soup that is viscous and soupy. I recommend getting a little of each grade to start and then decide for yourself which you like best!

We feel confident you will enjoy family-sourced Laoshan teas and invite you to try them all!

Area: Laoshan village near Qingdao in Shandong

Time of harvest: early April

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

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11 Tasting Notes

2155 tasting notes

From TTB 2019/2020.

Working through some of these yummy teas and finally having a restful and enjoyable day of vacation. The days leading up to Christmas were hectic and the last couple of days I’ve been sick, so this has been my first day to just sit and enjoy some tea and a bit of reading. I’m finishing up the last of my modules for my health coach training program and then I’ll start my herbalism courses in January. Feeling super excited!

I was worried I may have steeped this too hot because the wet leaves smelled a bit like burnt bread, but the flavor is chocolaty (albeit rather thin) with no trace of bitterness. As it cools, the chocolate flavor is coming through even more. A nice cup, though one I probably wouldn’t purchase on my own.

Flavors: Bread, Burnt, Dark Chocolate

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Here’s to progress! Nothing like a box checked off to make you feel triumphant.



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1403 tasting notes

Malt. Cacao. A teeny wee bit of smoke.

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1048 tasting notes

I finally managed to finish the last of this tea yesterday evening. It was one I had been working on in my spare time for the better part of a week. It was also a rather difficult tea for me to rate, as I could find a lot to like about it despite a few shortcomings that I felt were rather obvious.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute 5 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves offered a strong aroma of chocolate underscored by hints of pine and vanilla. The rinse brought out aromas of malt, burnt toast, and honey. The first infusion brought out hints of char, spice, and caramel on the nose. In the mouth, I found mild, muted notes of chocolate that were balanced by fleeting impressions of malt, honey, and vanilla. Subsequent infusions brought out somewhat stronger malt, honey, and vanilla impressions, though I also found notes of apricot, peach, roasted walnut, cream, nutmeg, minerals, and osmanthus. Caramel, char, pine, and burnt toast also made themselves known on the palate. The tea faded fast, and by the time I got to the last two or three infusions, I was mostly noting minerals, malt, and cream underscored by occasional traces of nuttiness and chocolate.

This was a pleasant, drinkable tea with the pronounced chocolate aromas and flavors one would expect from just about any Laoshan black tea. Unfortunately, it also faded fast, even for a tea of this type (in my experience, Laoshan black teas do not always offer a ton of longevity). There wasn’t much in the way of depth, and I also found the mouthfeel to be a touch too thin for my liking. In the end, I would still recommend this to those looking for a smooth, easy-sipping black tea for regular consumption or those looking for an introduction to Laoshan black teas. Just don’t expect something particularly deep, complex, or otherwise awe-inspiring.

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Char, Chocolate, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Osmanthus, Peach, Pine, Toast, Vanilla, Walnut

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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82 tasting notes

This tea was pleasant but left me feeling ambivalent.

I could taste notes of cocoa and light malt but it was pretty much done around 3 steeps.

Looking at my re-orders I lean towards Yunnan and Fujian hongcha.

Laoshan Green tea is the original tea made in laoshan, and then they tried to explore black tea.

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1759 tasting notes

Ugh. At the boyfriend’s house. Internet is down at my place so I’ve been suffering at home. and my phone battery is dying, it isn’t charging properly. Not that it matters, as the cell towers around my place don’t reach us very well, thus the wifi on that doesn’t work either.
Also, I tripped over a cord with the just boiled kettle and fell on my knee. Already bruising. Not my best day to say the least!
Hopefully it isn’t a setback that my chiro will have to address, she ain’t cheap and I’ve got a pile of other things for her to fix. On the plus side, she made my leg pain go away last time I saw her (well, 95% of it. There is still some residual stuff going on but that should be fixed when she looks at the other things, I hope). I’ll tell you the story because I think everyone should try this method out. Seriously. I HIGHLY recommend matrix repatterning (and M.A.T. therapy but that’s another story)
My whole upper torso is slightly twisted to the left, but you wouldn’t know it unless you were trained to recognize stuff like that. As in a personal trainer or physical therapist etc. My twistedness causes muscles to pull everything in a bad way.
I was super skeptical at first. Reading online, it sounds like a hippy dippy money waster. But I was desperate as the body tension was becoming unbearable. I’m so happy I gave it a go. After two treatments, consider me convinced. It’s a super gentle process. My leg issue wasn’t something I ever expected a chiro to be the one who would fix me. It was a muscle thing, not a bone thing or so I thought. All she did was place her hands on me while I was on the table, and keep them there for a few minutes. Literally no pain or jarring movements at all. Anyone who has issues in their body that doctors can’t explain, especially those with fibromyalgia (sp?) needs to look into it. Worth every penny. Yeah I was a tad sore after, although an epsom salt bath really helped. Long story short, I’m uber excited to finally have more forward movement.
Physical therapy for an entire year before that fixed a few things but stopped helping after two months or so. I wish I’d gone to see this chiro first. To say I’m relieved, and honestly? grateful!!!! that I’ve finally found something helpful is an understatement, I guess that’s why I’m so eager to share.
OK. Story over. If anyone has questions about my experience I’d be happy to chat.

On to the tea: warm and toasty and oh so good! Just what I needed to soothe me as I deal with the aftermath of my klutz drama. My whole body has stiffened up. Sighs.
There’s a little extra sweetness today even though I’m drinking it straight. And that refreshing menthol lingering once the sip is finished. This is just the first infusion. I’m looking forward to more :)
Almost half my stash is gone but I wasn’t planning to order more for awhile, as I have so much tea in my cupboard and a few things on the way. Plus my annual black friday/cyber monday splurge coming up. So do I ration this and hope it doesn’t go stale? or binge and deal with an LB cupboard gap. Bah. What’s a tea hoarder to do???


I don’t know how chiropractors do what they do, but they always make me feel better, too! And mine recommended the epsom salt bath last time I went, when I’d pulled a muscle in my calf. It’s so soothing. Did you drink tea while in yours?


Sadly no tea during the treatment!
Ah glad to know the bath is a common suggestion. Is your chiro’s process similar to what I described?

Evol Ving Ness

Ouf! Sorry to hear about the pains of your morning. Is your chiropractor located in the city? If so, I’d be interested in her contact info. I hope you feel much much better today. It’s a good day for tea and cozying up. Also, the hoarder in me says hoard AND buy soon.


Thanks :) Feeling less shaky now.
Chiro is near St. Clair station.
Definitely check her out! there are other docs who offer the same service in Toronto and therabouts as well. You can find them here:

Let me know what you decide and how it goes!


OIC. I did my bath at home, not at the chiropractor. Mine did some gentle manipulations but he also cracked me to align my spine and neck. I always feel like a bunch of tension is released after that.


ah I didn’t mean I had the bath there. Mine was at home too (though our drain stopper broke so some comedy ensued haha)


My pleasure Evol!! oh and in the lobby of Dr. Coutts office there is another unit where the ladies speak Polish. I could understand a few bits and pieces. Highly entertaining, feeling like a spy and yet not wanting to step in and declare that I understand some parts haha


(I think it was Polish, could be any Slavic language as I only know a few words here and there)


Feel better soon!

Evol Ving Ness

Great to feel like a fly on the wall sometimes. :)

I am looking forward to seeing you at the festival. It’s become a lovely pattern.


Thank you S.G Sanders! :)

Evol – hehe tis indeed!!
Yes, I hope it turns into tradition :)

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400 tasting notes

Sample from Hoálatha

I wanted to do a Laoshan blind tasting/comparison for a while now. I’ve had this, the 2016 Imperial Laoshan (YS), and Spring 2016 Laoshan (Verdant) samples in my cupboard for a while, but I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to work on the tasting or due to the fact that I was too lazy to review.

I’ve had a love for Laoshan Black ever since I started getting into tea—beyond Teavana—at which point I started my Steepster account. Laoshan was my first black tea that stood out for me. I remember signing up for Verdant’s $5 sample pack, and I’ve been in love with the tea ever since.


The aroma: bread, nut, oatmeal and grain.

Flavor profile: Soft notes of cocoa, grain/wheat, and a touch of malt. There was a thick mouthfeel that left a dry coating through the roof of the mouth/back of the throat. It became lighter with each steep, and didn’t last as long as I hoped.

I steeped the tea three times: 15s, 30s & 60s. It was nearly complete after the third steep. Very light; the cocoa notes lingered in the front of the mouth after the last cup.

Flavors: Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Nuts, Wheat

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239 tasting notes

Once brewed, the wet leaves lose their Halloweeny smell, for which I am grateful. Trashy American chocolate isn’t really my thing in either tea or food form. The aroma is more like a burnt chocolate pudding, a scent I can definitely get behind. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys eating the skin off of a cooling chocolate pudding.

The brew is a bit thin, lacking in body and depth, for a black tea. There is a light cocoa flavor, a sugary sweetness, and a hint of yeasty sourness. That hint of Halloween candy is back on the finish. As the brew cools, it gets sweeter. There is also some slight astringency on the back of the palate.

Subsequent steepings reveal a bright, yeasty honey flavor with a wash of cocoa on the finish. Though it’s still on the astringent side, the brew definitely thickens and sweetens as it cools. I’m still getting that Halloween candy flavor out the nose.

Though this tea is perfectly pleasant, I know I’ve had better Laoshans than this.

I did a comparison on the YS Laoshans against Verdant. Full post and photos here:

Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Sugar, Yeasty

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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1758 tasting notes

Bought this tea a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting around to drinking it. It has some malt, some chocolate flavor and what tastes like a roast flavor to it. This is interesting as I don’t think it was roasted. It is overall a good tea.

I steeped this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Roasted

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

I was going to place an order with YS this week-end but I was too long deciding and the sale is over! LOL It’s just as well, since I have enough teas. This tea was one of the teas in my cart. I am so curious if his Shandong teas (and the green as well) , are as good as the ones from Verdant.

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