Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea

Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea

Seller DescriptionThe satisfying malty and chocolatey Laoshan Black is one of our most popular and beloved teas. We wanted to ‘reinterpret’ the flavor profile of the black tea with a citrus blend and bring out the tart notes of the tea for the summer, all while making the chocolate notes even more luscious through a counter-compliment.
Ingredients: Laoshan Black, organic: lemon peel, orange peel, rose petals, and bergamot
Directions: 2 teaspoons per 8oz of water at 212°F for 2 minutes
Website: Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black at Verdant Tea
Sample source: Provided

Gorgeous dry blend
Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

I have to admit some initial hesitancy about this tea, mostly due to the Laoshan Black base. When I first tried the base, I was pretty unsure about the smell of it and was still under the impression that I simply didn't like black teas on their own. Of course, I was making them with my gaiwan like I would a green, but while I enjoy green teas without additives, I always add sugar to my black blends. I wasn't treating this the same way, but now... well, I'm not quite eating my words... I'm drinking them. 

And no, for those of you in my grad school cohort, not the way we acted out that poem, sipping "words like wine," and savored their fine vintages - this was pure crow!

But this tea... wow. The base is rich and buttery with a slightly toasted flavor. On top of that is layered a gentle nudge of citrus and the faintest hint of rose before finishing with a slightly minty aftertaste. There is no astringency, and I'm not tasting chocolate at all, but what I do taste is smooth, silky, and just plain wonderful!

I'm enjoying myself so much that I actually have to cut myself off because I need to hold enough of the tea back for it to move forward to the next phase in the Battle of the Earl Greys. But it's sooo tempting to just brew up a ginormous pot and sip the afternoon away!

First steep on left, second on right
When I was a baby, my father taught me how to drink Pepsi, with a big "Ah!" after each sip. To this day, it's become so ingrained that I can't help but do a little of that when I drink anything (Thank you, Daddy!) but I try to keep it quiet and unnoticeable. This tea totally deserves a loud lip-smack and happy exhalation. 

Because I wanted to keep enjoying it, I attempted a second steep. I started by adding 30 seconds to the initial steep time, but after a quick check-in I let it go another 2-1/2 minutes. Even after two steeps, the leaves still smelled delicious. The tea itself wasn't quite as good as the first steep, but it still had a lot more presence than many of the black teas I attempt to re-steep. Most of that was due to the base tea, as the citrus has faded into the background and the rose has all but disappeared.

Infused leaves
I'm glad I put a little of the first steep aside to compare it to the re-steep, because I am going to take what's left and go curl up with a book and a cat. What a wonderful way to end the afternoon!

Prominent Notes: Laoshan black with buttery, slightly toasted notes. Hints of rose and citrus.
Aftertaste: Laoshan black and a slightly minty note
Overall: This is a solid contender in the Battle of the Earl Greys, and is becoming a cupboard staple!

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