Today's review features a tea, offered by a company that has never before been featured here on Built from Ink and Tea - Verdant Tea. Verdant Tea is a company based in the United States, whose unique practice of sourcing small batch harvests directly from farmers in China allows for better freshness and quality, as well as giving farmers (with whom Verdant Tea has direct contact) the chance to share teas about which they are excited to tell and spread the word. You can read more about Verdant Tea and their philosophy, here on their website. I feel compelled to also share some of the writings on their website, such as this article on transparency in the tea industry and this one on brewing tea with a brew basket. (Verdant Tea uses and sells the Finum Brew Basket, which I highly recommend.)
Today, we will be trying the Laoshan black tea from the He family. This tea has become incredibly popular over the years, and its special flavor profile comes in part from being sun-oxidized for much longer than most teas. Brewing instructions vary, based on preference and vessel, and the Verdant Tea website presents instructions for each of their teas. However, based on the recommendation of a tea chum, I steeped mine for three minutes, using just-boiled water and two tablespoons of loose leaf in twelve ounces of water. From the amber-brown brew, cereal aromas float, though I detect a hint of dark fruit along with them. My first sip surprises me. The body of the tea is strong and creamy, not overly bold and in-your-face, but maintaining strong, consistent flavors throughout. The slight fruity sweetness softens any edges, and there is little to no astringency of which to speak. In the center of the body of the tea lies a bit of smokiness, which pleasantly lingers on the tongue.
Verdant Tea's website suggests additional steepings, corroborating my tea chum's suggestion. A second steeping (this time for four minutes) brings out more honey notes in the flavors. I decide to try a third steeping for five minutes. By now, the flavors have diminished greatly. What remains are some dark fruit and cereal flavors that sit on the back of the palate like a shadow. While one would probably enjoy pairing this tea with food, I almost feel that to do so would an injustice, not allowing the tea to stand on its own, lingering aftertastes and all. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 93/100.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Verdant Tea's Laoshan Black Tea is available from their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
Text is copyright 2015, Built from Ink and Tea.