The chocolate brownie and caramel flan undertones complimented by cinnamon-caramel aftertaste make this our most popular tea. . . .
Pictured above, the He family's tea fields in Laoshan Village
PRE-ORDER NOTE: Spring 2013 Early Harvest Laoshan Black now available for pre-order. This tea is currently in transit to our headquarters. We expect to ship this tea the week of May 27th. All orders that include a pre-order tea will ship in their entirety when the pre-order tea arrives.
Mr. and Mrs. He of Laoshan Village are gaining quite an international reputation for their Laosahn Black, from profiles in the Heavy Table, to Serious Eats. It is no surprise then that their latest harvest of the innovative Laoshan Black is an exquisite masterpiece of tea-crafting.
The He family tea fields in Laoshan Village, autumn 2012
The dry leaf aroma evokes the Joy of Cooking classic Devil's Food Cake, fresh out of the oven, in its perfectly balanced chocolate and cream aromas with a touch of spice. The wet leaf is the memory of tending a simmering pot of homemade fudge on the stovetop until the windows steam up with chocolate vapors.
Given the intense chocolate of the aroma, it is a delightful surprise to taste the first steeping and appreciate the balanced and restrained refinement of this autumn picking. Chocolate is ever-present, but it does not dominate. Instead, a cinnamon-caramel texture usually only found in Big Red Robe comes forward. The body is like the perfect flan, with all the caramelized sugar complexity and creamy vanilla notes.
Later infusions allow the chocolate to come forward. Indeed, tasting this tea is like digging a spoonful out of a brownie pan just out of the oven to taste when you are too impatient to let it cool and set. The chocolate brownie flavor is followed and enveloped by buckwheat notes and a touch of clove.
Very late infusions back off of the savory chocolate and malt, making room for the sweet, creamy citrus to come forward. Milk chocolate oranges are a good comparison to these later sips. Finally, a warm cinnamon-caramel Big Red Robe texture expands in the aftertaste, bringing this tea back to the early infusions.
Date of Picking:Autumn 2012
Location of Picking:Ocean-facing slope of Laoshan Mountain in Laoshan Village, Shandong Province He Family Farm 15-20 acre plot fed by the mountain spring running down from the rock face of Laoshan.
What Was Picked:Young leaf material with buds wilted in bamboo baskets, fully oxidized, dried over a carefully tended wood fire and curled.
Quantity Acquired:We acquired an initial harvest of 25 pounds.
Sourcing Agent(s):David Duckler, after spending months in Laoshan Village on a tea research grant.
Verdant Tea Founder, David Duckler, Brewing Laoshan Black
Western Brewing: Use one tablespoon of leaves per cup of water. Steep in a brew basket or loose in a pot to give the leaves plenty of room to expand. If possible avoid tea balls or paper filter bags. Steep for 3 minutes with filtered boiling water and remove leaves or pour off water. Save the leaves. Enjoy at least 4 infusions.
Gongfu Brewing: Use 5g of leaves for a medium gaiwan or yixing pot. Heat the gaiwan or pot with boiling water and pour out. Add leaves, rinse leaves with boiling water for less than a second. Use this steeping to heat cups and pour over yixing. Steep each round for 2-3 seconds, increasing time by 3 seconds each steeping after the third steeping. Enjoy at least 15 infusions.
An Afternoon in Laoshan Village
"Those who approach high quality tea from a business perspective first will forever have doors closed to them. Those whose relationships are based on an equal cultural exchange are welcomed...Organic and Fair Trade in the World of High End Teas
"Big plantations have been able to buy up family plots on edges of what is considered the best growing region, but farmers lucky enough to own a piece of Lion's Peak in Dragonwell are not going to give it up. Because of this, the best tea in the world comes from very small farms...Podcast #3: The Farmers of Laoshan
"Hear the stories of Verdant founder David Duckler’s first encounters with the He family growing green tea in Laoshan Village. Mr. He explains the act of hospitality behind environmental stewardship, careful hand-picking of tea and selecting the finest leaf....