Mr. He's 1st Picking Laoshan Black

Tea type
Black Tea
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Almond, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Mineral, Chocolate, Bread, Cacao, Grain, Nuts, Wheat, Sour, Toasted Rice, Roasted, Sweet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 4 g 10 oz / 300 ml

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56 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I have fallen into that mode where I get so focused on drinking samples and having sipdowns that I don’t drink up the teas I have more of, which are usually my favorites. Well this afternoon I...” Read full tasting note
  • “sipdown! yeah i figured what the heck. To be honest, i like normal LB better than this version. it’s not bad, but this version has a little bit more…dirt? taste than the other.” Read full tasting note
  • “Sometimes tea is a mindful, humble, meditative practice for me, and sometimes it is a hedonistic act of self-indulgence. This afternoon it was the latter. I brewed a big pot of this precious tea...” Read full tasting note
  • “REVEW 600…time sips by when I’m drinking tea! If you’ve lost your way and can’t remember where your journey began, drink very good tea and your memory will return. Tea Tasting 1 I took the first...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea (Special)

Laoshan Black is our most popular tea, and its success has encouraged Mr. He of Laoshan Village to keep refining his process to make it better every year. This year, as an experiment, he took severlal pounds of his 1st spring picking, normally sold as a green tea for hundreds of dollars a pound to eager businessmen in Qingdao, and processed it as Laoshan Black. Mrs. He was not all too pleased to see her most valuable crop devoted to an experiment, but we are delighted with the results.

This Laoshan Black still has the trademark chocolate, honey and malt qualities of Mr. He’s other Laoshan Black teas, but its sweetness, and creamy texture are extremely refined, thick and lingering in the aftertaste. This is a quiet tea, but one that will steep out for many infusions, delivering some of the most concentrated flavor and aftertaste we have seen in Laoshan tea.

About Verdant Tea (Special) View company

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56 Tasting Notes

2201 tasting notes

I have fallen into that mode where I get so focused on drinking samples and having sipdowns that I don’t drink up the teas I have more of, which are usually my favorites. Well this afternoon I decided F that, it’s my birthday, and I’m going to drink some tea I love. A lot of people have been drinking Laoshan Black today so it was already stuck in my head, but I have the option to take it to eleven.

I actually hadn’t yet broken into the 2oz of this that I ordered… I can’t believe I have two whole ounces of this, but of course it is the only two ounces I will ever have. So glad to treat myself to this one today. Soooo smooth and honeyed. Grains, malt, chocolate, and a bit of spice, like a mexican hot chocolate almost. Deeeelish.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Happy Birthday!


Does it taste significantly different than the “regular” Laoshan Black? Sounds like a good birthday treat :)


I guess I haven’t had a cup of the regular version in a while so it’s a little hard for me to remember, but I think this one is smoother and a little sweeter, and it also has a kind of cinnamony-cayenne note that I don’t really remember from the regular version. But that’s a good excuse for having a cup of my regular Laoshan black sometime soon. :)


Happy birthday! :D


Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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15131 tasting notes

sipdown! yeah i figured what the heck. To be honest, i like normal LB better than this version. it’s not bad, but this version has a little bit more…dirt? taste than the other.


90 for ‘a little more dirt taste’ is still quite an amazing score! :-)


Haha true…I love me some LB though…and this is still laoshan black, just a little different :)

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417 tasting notes

Sometimes tea is a mindful, humble, meditative practice for me, and sometimes it is a hedonistic act of self-indulgence. This afternoon it was the latter. I brewed a big pot of this precious tea western style and ate some chocolate-covered raisins with it. I had no one to share it with, so I watched some Futurama. It was a perfect Sunday treat. Now back to work :-(

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I did exactly this,but with golden fleece and yogurt covered pretzels. Lovely sunday!


Yum. That sounds good!

Terri HarpLady

For me this morning it was multiple steepings of Golden Fleece & a baked sweet potato with cinnamon!

Terri HarpLady

I like hedonistic acts of self-indulgence!


Nothing better!


Sometimes hedonistic acts of self-indulgence are the best! Last night I stood in the kitchen for awhile eating dark chocolate salted caramel (yep, amazing) and sipping on 12 year Glenfiddich.


That sounds wonderful! I haven’t tried too much Scotch. I worry that it might become another obsession like tea!


The world of Scotch can be a slippery slope! However, I find that since I can’t drink nearly as much scotch as tea, my obsession stays limited. ;)

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676 tasting notes

REVEW 600…time sips by when I’m drinking tea!

If you’ve lost your way and can’t remember where your journey began, drink very good tea and your memory will return.

Tea Tasting 1
I took the first half of my packet of Mr. He’s 1st Picking Laoshan Black to share with my tea shop friends on a quiet Friday afternoon, just a big snowstorm descended on Old Town.
The flurries were heavy outside while I sat at the tea-bar gloating. I had picked the best time and had the Happy Lucky’s all to myself with Joe, Andy, Eric and Preston to sip tea with me behind the bar.

Eric was Gaiwan Master that evening…pouring for all of us.

We were a loud chorus of tea slurpers, spraying the liquid up and around the inside of our mouths to insure a contact to every tastebud.

Andy (who is the main tea blender and manager of the shop) was the first to comment on how much the tea reminded him of sweet, malty Brewery grains (reminder that this is a Brewery town and within walking distance of the teahouse are many breweries such as New Belgium, Odell, Equinox, Fort Collins, FunkWerks, Pateros, Coopersmiths).

These young men became very animated, curious about the flavor of the tea and the malty, grainy quality that smelled like their other favorite beverage besides tea and a dessert pastry.

I was not paying close attention to what Preston was doing with the Gaiwan, so I missed his comment that he was going to steep the tea leaves longer.

He steeped them a full 2.5 minutes! Espresso strength!!

Wow! I had no idea until I took a sip and… my eyebrows stood on end!

The flavor was fantastic! Everyone liked it!

A condensed, huge, BITE of tea packed with fruit, grain, sweet malt and caramel that lingered on and on as though I had popped a truffle in my mouth and let it melt!

Eric commented that in all his years of drinking tea, going from Black Tea to Green, then Puerh, it’s ‘Hand Crafted Black Tea’ that’s bringing him back to his first love.

I went home, intending to write a review, and got a bad cold!
I’ve been absent for the past week or so…sick, sick sick! I don’t write reviews when I can’t taste tea.

Now that I’m well, I’ve had a chance to think about Mr. He’s Tea.
One thing that I love about regular Laoshan Black is drinking it Western Style and not Gongfu (not using a Gaiwan). So, I asked myself, what if this 1st picking was better Western Style also?

Tea Tasting 2
Using the rest of my packet of tea, I prepared a small pot for Western Style Brewing.

(Laoshan Black Leaves are long and wiry,the 1st picking are almost like rolled oolong, curled up tight and smell peppery-savory)

As much as I enjoyed the previous Gaiwan preparation with my friends, I have to say that the teapot brew tasted better.
Laoshan Black is more chocolate and grainy tasting than Mr. He’s 1st Picking, which was also smoother with caramel. This tea tasted similar to Golden Fleece.

In my 600 reviews here on Steepster I’ve learned from all the people here (including the many tea vendors who so lovingly teach about their tea’s).

I could probably give up tea easier than I could give up the people I’ve met here on Steepser, and that’s the truth!

Thank you!


congratulations Bonnie! I’m looking forward even more now to cracking open my package of this tea. Not that the words i use will do it the justice that you have :)


I hear you Bonnie… and I truly believe in the last two lines of your review :-)


Congratulations & thank you!

Rob Rauschenberg

Always appreciate reading your reviews :-)


You guys are the best!


We all love you on here!


right back to you!


we love you and your reviews here Bonnie !

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3294 tasting notes

7G + 4oz (rinse) X 10sec
I know I keep saying this today about every tea I’ve drank so far, but this is just what I needed! We’re going through a little stress in my family right now, & I’m finded myself exhausted & in need of nurture. The best ways I can nurture myself (so that I have it within me to nurture my family) is by restings, eating well, doing my yoga, & keeping on track. This includes drinking teas that energize & inspire me (and also teas that help me to relax & unwind, but that’s for later).

I love Laoshan Black. It’s so good, with it’s honeyed chocolate maltedness & I enjoy trying different incarnations of it. This one is quite tasty & elegant, but I must admit, I prefer the ‘original’. Still, it makes for a wonderful Gaiwan full of goodness, & I’ll continue sipping from these leaves until they have nothing left to offer.


Every time you review one of these i’m reminded that i need to open my bags. I just don’t want to do it until i get some of my already opened bags sipdowned. bah!

Terri HarpLady

I keep reminding myself, tea is for drinking, not hoarding!
I don’t want to end up on that hoarders show!


lol i can’t drink it fast enough to not come across as a hoarder haha me other half keeps telling me i just need to open a tea shop. I told him maybe when i retire or when i have kids ;)

Terri HarpLady

I’ve actually thought about moving my teaching studio & office out of the house into a little hole in the wall where I could serve tea in the front during certain hours, & teach students in the back. It would probably make me a more effective business woman because I’d actually have to leave my house to work. The rest of my time there would be spent practicing, updating my website…you know, all the things I’m suppose to be doing when I’m hanging out at home in my pajamas, LOL.

Terri HarpLady

I drink several cups of tea everyday, & when I’m drinking by the mug I can go through several, but once I break out the Gaiwan I go through tea slowly too, since I can get so many cups of tea out of one session! I’m starting to really like my file box system for the TOMC, TOMCR, Shengs, & Shus. I just drink whatever is in the front, & then move it to the back.
Of course, if I’m craving something I can always pull it out of the lineup!

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1049 tasting notes

As those of you who read my reviews know, I am a huge fan of Verdant Tea’s He Family Collection of teas. These teas originate from Laoshan in Shandong Province, and at least in my opinion, comprise an astoundingly consistent and tasty collection of green, black, and oolong teas. While the oolongs tend to be my favorites, the black teas are not far behind. This particular black tea is is actually the first picking of the He family’s regular Laoshan Black from 2015. I picked up a 5 g sample of this tea as part of a recent Verdant order. I wanted to see how it compared to the 2015 Autumn Laoshan Black I enjoyed so much.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. For this session, I followed Verdant’s suggested brewing method to the letter. I initially steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 10 additional infusions, with an increase of 8 seconds per infusion. The steep times for them were as follows: 10 seconds, 18 seconds, 26 seconds, 34 seconds, 42 seconds, 50 seconds, 58 seconds, 66 seconds, 74 seconds, 82 seconds, and 90 seconds.

After the initial infusion, the liquor showed a clear, dark amber in the cup. I easily detected a rich aroma of cocoa underscored by cream, toasted almond, and black cherry. In the mouth, delicate notes of cocoa, cream, malt, caramel, toasted almond, and black cherry washed across the palate. Subsequent infusions saw the malt, cream, and almond notes increase in strength, as well as hints of minerality begin to emerge. The last 3 infusions heavily emphasized mineral, caramel, and cream flavors, though the tea never fully lost its nutty, chocolaty character.

Honestly, I am a little perplexed by some of the ridiculously high ratings for this tea. I just can’t seem to muster as much enthusiasm for it as a number of previous reviewers. It’s not that this is a bad tea or anything, it just seems a little bland to me. Understand that this is coming from not only a huge fan of Verdant’s Laoshan teas, but also someone who adored the regular 2015 Autumn Laoshan Black. While this tea is smoother than the regular Laoshan Black, it is neither as deep nor as complex. Again, it’s not bad, though I was expecting so much more from it.

Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Mineral

Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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661 tasting notes

Finally broke into this tea which I’ve had for quite a few months and haven’t even tried. Unfortunately , I was busy when I drank it and can’t leave a detailed review. I know it was really chocolatey and it went down pretty fast. :-) I’ll try to leave a more detailed review for next time but I do know I loved it!

Flavors: Chocolate

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31 tasting notes

This is a dark, dark black tea, pitch black shiny black small leaves. the broth is nice orange/brown and the flavor actually to me is more of a strong rock big red robe than most blacks. this one is fruity with a bite, caramel and savory fruit notes like plum and blackberry with a brown sugary roasted chestnut flavors as well. but there is a sharpness to it that’s very clean, almost mineral which vanishes quickly leaving the fruit notes on the palate. increased brewing time as usual in later steeps

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

I had this tea today too!

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400 tasting notes

Quick Review: I had the first two sessions in a teapot. I had the first session without any distractions. This tea is so perplexed (the aroma, flavor, etc.), that I felt that I truly needed to study the tea intently.

The dry leaf aroma: Cacao, nuts (pistachios?), and wheat/grain/bread.

The wet leaf aroma: Italian Bread(?)

Flavor Profile: Imagine, if you will, fresh bread with a touch of chocolate (literally a smidgen). The mouth-feel on this is nice. It “blossoms” throughout the mouth and throat.


It’s Girl Scout Cookies time, and while working on the second session, I chewed on a Tag-A-Long (peanut butter & chocolate, yes please!); which worked nicely with this tea.

However, I ran out of time to sit and contemplate this third cup, eat cookies, and really enjoy this sample. I plan on buying more to enjoy over and over again. Now I have to run…..Maybe my students will notice that whatever magical brew is in my cup, is the key to my sanity today! Ha-ha.

Flavors: Bread, Cacao, Grain, Nuts, Wheat

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

the only two black teas i like are “rose dian hong” by teavivre and “lapsang souchong” by upton tea imports


“Lapsang Souchong” is splendid. However, I’ve never had the “Rose Dian Hong.” I’m guessing it’s pretty floral? How’s the black tea notes? Earthy? Smokey?

I’d suggest this one to anyone. It’s different than a lot of black teas I’ve had. This has been a great sampler thus far:

There are a lot of new teas that I haven’t had before, but that makes this more worthy to try. If you’re open to different teas (even black teas), I’d say give it a go. You might find that you like something other than these two (although Lapsang is great tea!).


thanks for the 5 for 5 thing but ill pass :) yeah here is link for the dianhong:


I added it to my list. Thanks!

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103 tasting notes

I wish that Verdant made a Dash button for Laoshan Black. I could care less about reordering Tide from Amazon, but running out of Laoshan black is devastating.

This button would have been super helpful now that Verdant has expanded the selection of Laoshan black teas. First picking, autumn picking, gongfu black. Which is is the plain, old Laoshan Black?
I bet on ‘1st picking’, with the vague sense of 1st pickings being extraordinarily good, relating to first prizes and so forth, but hedged the bet by getting a small quantity of the others as well. Unfortunately, the autumn picking was the right one; the 1st picking merely promises the strong flavors of the autumn laoshan without delivering.
Now, after I make a cup of this, I feel perfectly tempted and prepped for the real thing. Yet, I wouldn’t say that this type of teasing is quite the quality I seek in a tea.

Flavors: Chocolate

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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