This weekend I’ve been visiting my girlfriend in central Maine, where she attends school. I went up because of the holiday weekend. Unfortunately the weather has been cold and rainy, and has left us sequestered in the apartment for a few days. For this reason I drank a tea that I often enjoy on cold and dreary days– black tea from Laoshan. Laoshan is a seaside city in China’s northern Shandong Province, and is named after an adjacent scenic mountain range that houses various temples and religious sites – Mount Lao.
The tea grown this far north is the smaller leaf varietal. According to the vendor, it needs to be covered by greenhouses during the winter to protect from frost, as well as in early spring before the tea is ready to pluck. After Laoshan tea is produced the leaves are small, tippy, curled, and have a rich and savory aroma.
Laoshan Black tea brews a deep orange color, and has a very strong and unique chocolaty flavor that I haven’t encountered in other black teas. This chocolate flavor is naturally sweet, but also has a slight dark chocolate bitterness that adds depth to the brew. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and for this reason I appreciate the balance between bitter and sweet in this tea. I find the tea quite warming to the body, and even start sweating despite my body’s initial chill prior to drinking the tea. For this reason I even go outside and sit on the porch for a few minutes, in order to cool off.
The one downside about the Laoshan black tea is that it usually cannot be brewed as many times as some other teas. I find that most of the good strong qualities are gone after 3 – 5 infusions, although if one doesn’t mind lighter teas 6 or 7 brewings can be enjoyed. This isn’t too big a deal however, because the tea is very affordable.
Laoshan black tea is one of those teas that is very easy to enjoy regularly. The taste is simple, the tea is quite easy to brew. It’s always a crowd pleaser, and I find that whether I share it with friends, family, coworkers, or guests at my tea classes it is widely enjoyed! The vendor I bought this tea from was able to list it at $3.00 / ounce, which I feel is a very reasonable price for a rich, clean, & enjoyable tea.