This review is for the Laoshan Gongfu Black of Autumn 2016 from Verdant Tea.
Preparation style: Gongfu in Gaiwan with 5gr of tea to 150 ml with multiple infusions in 205F water at a consistent 10 seconds each.
With notes of burnt sugar, malt, and dried currant and apple cider, the first infusions show a full-bodied tea with a darker flavor, without bitterness.
The primary aroma is a combination of burnt sugar and tart apple — think home-made candied apple and you’re close. The flavor, however, is less sweet and fruity than many (esp. Taiwanese) hong cha. I like this tea, and infused correctly it could easily become a favorite.
This tea can easily be over-steeped and the lovely fruit notes and sugar will be lost in a murky dark brew. In other tastings found 12 seconds bring out an overly dark tea, whe re the tannin profile tends toward darkly astringent without bitterness.
I would recommend this for small-pot western style brewing only with careful attention to the short steeping time and quick tea basket removal.
Flavors: Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Malt