The wet leaf of this Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black has a beautifully addictive aroma of salted caramel and fresh baked brownies. The complexity of the aroma follows through beautifully in the early steepings with caramel chocolate candy flavor, a perfect balance of sweet, slaty and savory. Later infusions yield more dark juicy fruit flavors, especially raspberry. The famous Laoshan malty quality comes through in the aftertaste to complement the chocolate.
This one came to me by way of a swap. I definitely got the better end of the trade. This particular offering from Verdant has reached near mythic legendary status with the Steepster crowd. That always makes me nervous. Can it live up to the hype? What if I don't like it? Ahhh, pressure!
Opening the bag, the first thing I notice is the picture doesn't tell the story for once. It makes it appear to be big bulky leaf when the reality is it is thin wiry twists. That must be one tiny bowl. It is very dark in color. The dry aroma is mildly roasted. I wasn't expecting that.
I used 1 tsp of leaf with 8 oz of water heated to 208 F steeped for 3 minutes per my tea swap friends recommendation. Verdant says to use 4 g and steep for 30 seconds. The result is a light orange/amber cup. The length and bulk of the leaf has increased dramatically after brewing. The wet leaf aroma is baked brownies as mentioned in Verdant's description. Usually I don't get a vendor's notes. This one is spot on.
With my first sip I am drawn into another dimension where time stands still in the world around me and the cup begs me to linger, which I willingly desire to obey. It turns out this is really as good as all the hoopla and marching bands declared. Seriously good.
This is chocolate. It is roasted caramel drizzled with honey. The aftertaste is rich malt.
I am reminded of a time a couple years ago when I received my first samples from Teavivre. One of those samples was Bailin Gongfu. Maybe memory fails me and these taste nothing alike but it was a turning point for me. I discovered there is so much more to black tea than the Assam and Ceylon teas I had experienced before this time. Laoshan black is one of those experience changing teas.
This is Verdant Tea's most popular tea and from what I can tell, for good reason.
Visit the Verdant Tea website.