Laoshan Black (Verdant Tea)

I think… I’ve found my new passion. After essentially 12 hours of non-stop reading about teas, I’ve decided to just go for one of my samples from Verdant Tea because I’m absolutely way too excited about tasting good loose leaf teas (that haven’t been sitting in little plastic baggies for a year). Also, I tried two other teas today so this final one should be a good way to end my tea taste tests (TTT) of the day. Ending on a high note.

Well, it’s early morning now. But anyway.

Autumn 2016 Laoshan Black Tea, picked 3 months ago in the Shandong Province.

laoshan_leaves_uncurled
Uncurled leaves after seven steeps.

laoshan_black.jpg
Upper left: little beautiful black tea leaf curls. Lower left: my janky tea setup, while I don’t have a basket yet. Right: my cup. (This is my uh, dorm desk setup.)

I couldn’t believe the smell when I first opened it. It smelled like chocolate to me – strong fragrance, slightly bitter, just a little sweet. Like dark chocolate. Maybe a little fruity, too?

1st – 20 sec. 

As per the package instructions, I steeped the whole bag of 5g for just 20 seconds in nearly boiling water. Wow, the smell wafts by every now and then and it is absolutely delicious. I haven’t even taken a sip yet.

Um. First sip and my first thought is: I NEED to buy more teas like this. 

Trying to think of how to describe it. It’s smooth, for sure. Sweet, but entirely naturally so – in that the sweetness is part of the flavor itself, not blended into it. I’m still trying to come up with the vocabulary for describing tea. It makes me feel warm: a sip of this wakes me up (at uh 2 AM in the morning). I love the chocolate-like hints. It definitely has its own weight to it, but there’s a lightness too. It’s unlike any tea I’ve tasted before, though since I was raised on tea bags, I doubt that’s saying much.

I thought using 5g (the whole pack) was a lot, but now I see the reason for using lot of leaves with shorter steep times.

Somehow I need to write a 2-page paper before tomorrow and I’m up drinking tea because I feel like I’ve just had an epiphany.

2nd – 30 sec.

Just smelling this tea is making me crazy. I wish I could share this tea with my mom and sister, but I’ve already used the entire pack. I guess I could buy more, but there’s a reason all of the online tea shops I’ve bookmarked are tagged when-money.

I should really just go to a tea shop. I know – next Friday, in NYC, I can try to go to T Shop in lower Manhattan. And when I’m at home, I can try to go to Oakland Chinatown. I’d really like to get a gaiwan, although if all goes well I should at least have a brewing basket by some time. I just have tea sachets right now. Oh man. I’m so excited.

Second brew is still very tasty. Unsure exactly how it’s different from the first steep but I’m just happy to be here enjoying it.

3rd – 40 sec., 4th – 50 sec.

I love how my tea bag has gotten fat as leaves have uncurled.

5th – 60 sec.

There’s a different smell to the tea bag once I took it out. The tea is evolving, but I don’t know how. A little more roast, than chocolate? Or am I just become used to the smell? Still very good tea. I just am unsure how it’s changing, and I don’t have the words to describe it.

6th – 70 sec.

I need to pee.

7th – 80 sec.

Still really enjoying this tea. I’m getting hungry though. Is it okay to eat between steeps of tea? Does that ruin the continuity of the tasting? Except I’ve been sipping for several hours already…

Stopping, at least for now. Left the tea leaves in the bag because who knows? Maybe a few hours from now I’ll try to steep again.

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