Laoshan Gongfu Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Dark Chocolate, Raisins, Bread, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Musty, Oak, Rye, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Wood, Butternut Squash, Cacao, Cloves, Coffee, Sugarcane, White Grapes, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Vanilla, Candy, Cherry, Roasted, Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Brown Toast, Char, Marshmallow, Mineral, Toffee, Oats, Sugar, Cedar
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 19 oz / 571 ml

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From Our Community

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5 Want it Want it

13 Own it Own it

22 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Sipdown! Love Laoshan blacks. Deliciously chocolatey and rich. I don’t know that I’d ever be able to tell the different ones apart without having them side-by-side though.” Read full tasting note
  • “Eating a brick of Walker’s Hazelnut Toffee and sipping on this has been quite a treat this morning. Fruity cherry and raisin notes are followed by sweet cookie and caramel flavors. Holds up very...” Read full tasting note
  • “My package says this is from Autumn 2018. Feeling a little intimidated by all the love for this tea but it didn’t do it for me. I mean, yeah, I made this while at work so it didn’t get the love it...” Read full tasting note
  • “Well, I originally came on here to review this tea. I don’t get a chance to sit down and drink tea and review it too often anymore. Having a toddler and two other children tends to interfere with...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

This year Mr. He decided to experiment with his hand-twisting and rolling technique developed on Pine Needle Green in making a Wuyi Gongfu Black style tea true to Laoshan. The delicate treatment makes this tea yield many infusions and brings out the roasted marshmallow and chocolate s’mores quality of fine Laoshan Black. The He family is excited to release a very limited harvest of this new innovation for us to enjoy.

About Verdant Tea View company

Company description not available.

22 Tasting Notes

6106 tasting notes


Love Laoshan blacks. Deliciously chocolatey and rich. I don’t know that I’d ever be able to tell the different ones apart without having them side-by-side though.

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1810 tasting notes

Eating a brick of Walker’s Hazelnut Toffee and sipping on this has been quite a treat this morning. Fruity cherry and raisin notes are followed by sweet cookie and caramel flavors. Holds up very well over many steeps, and gets progressively more rich with subsequent steeps.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Dark Chocolate, Raisins


Ohhh, I LOVE pairing sweets and good blacks! I find it incredibly satisfying (and delicious).


Yes! So very satisfying and tasty.

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90 tasting notes

My package says this is from Autumn 2018. Feeling a little intimidated by all the love for this tea but it didn’t do it for me. I mean, yeah, I made this while at work so it didn’t get the love it maybe needs. And while I knew one of the teas I bought could go through multiple steepings, I could never remember which it was (it was this one). But regardless of all that, it was too dirty for me. Not earthy, but dirty.

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258 tasting notes

Well, I originally came on here to review this tea. I don’t get a chance to sit down and drink tea and review it too often anymore. Having a toddler and two other children tends to interfere with having downtime to yourself.

But what this looks like it will turn into is a comment on the state of Steepster. The first thing I noticed was all the spam on the discussion page. Wow. I joined Steepster around 4 or 5 years ago, I think, and was entranced by all the constant reviews and vibrant discussions that seemed to be continually going on. Not to mention all the tea swaps and other sources of information and entertainment. I was very sad to see the state of the discussion board along. I decided to check out my dashboard and found much of the same. A very low amount of activity. Then I went to the people I’m following and checked in with their reviews and it seems a large majority who used to be super active haven’t posted much in the last year, if at all. (Hi to any of you who are still active here) I’m definitely guilty of this myself but it seems about a year and a half ago when I stopped coming on as often due to a new baby situation, everyone else decided that was when they stepped away as well.

I’m kind of sad to come back here and see the state of it. This was the first place that introduced me to the wide world of teas and all the knowledge that could be found here through reviews and discussion. But it seems no longer. I’m sure that is just a natural progression but it still makes me sad. I don’t know of another place that is quite like this one.

Le sigh.


There are still some people here! But yes, the spammers are kind of out of control, and there isn’t nearly as much activity as there once was. I have to wonder whether the discussion page being so spammy contributes to people thinking this is a junk site? Anyways, I’m back after a fairly long hiatus (funnily enough – new baby is the reason I’m able to be back, since I’m no longer working insane amounts!), and noticed the same thing, but as I find this site useful for personal records, I’m sad but undeterred :)

Evol Ving Ness

As for me, I am not so much on the discussion boards, so I manage to avoid all that nonsense. I spend my steepster time on tea reviews and casual chat on other reviews. And yes, not as much activity, but still vibrant in spots. I think many reviews are now coming up on SororiTEAs (but no comments afaik).


Thanks to you both for responding and commiserating. I’m trying to do my part to be more present and active. Be the change, right? For me it’s a balance between time and limited caffeine intake. Looking forward to more interactions and discussions.

Mastress Alita

I balance my caffeine by switching to herbal tea after 6pm. Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking through more herbals/tisanes than the caffeinated stuff!


Mastress, I definitely do this. Unfortunately I have to stagger days with caffeine. I have ulcerative colitis and too much caffeine seems to put me in a flare which is new as of a few years ago. Oh, getting older…

Mastress Alita

Hmm, I have been having more issues with comorbid-related IBS with my migraines over the last year but haven’t thought of limited my caffeine by staggering days, since I figure I don’t drink a crazy amount as it is and a small amount can be helpful for migraine. I may need to look into that…


Couldn’t hurt to try. I didn’t realize it was the caffeine until I took an extended break and saw improvement.


@mtchyg – Yes, being the change is what I’m trying to do, when I have time! I’ve consistently been drinking a fair bit of tea, it’s the time aspect that got away from me. I suspect when I return to work after mat leave I may slow down on the reviews again unless I start taking proper breaks at work and reviewing during that time.

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4070 tasting notes

Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (1)

I was inspired by Mastress Alita‘s efforts to sipdown her traveling teabox samples, so I’m going to try to do something similar with my pile of swap samples. I’m going to start out trying to sip one swap sample down each day, but that’s obviously quite optimistic so I’m not going to kill myself trying to adhere to it.

This swap sample is courtesy of Arby! It comes from the Autumn 2016 harvest.

I couldn’t remember how Laoshan black teas taste, but to me it’s a similar flavor profile to Fujian blacks. It has the distinctive caraway note that I find to be characteristic of Fujian black teas. There is also a lovely light chocolaty flavor and a lot of natural sweetness to this tea. This combined with the smooth malt and bread notes makes me think of rye toast with chocolate spread. An aromatic, oaky wood flavor rounds out the bottom nicely. I can also detect a bit of dry mustiness that makes me think of white tea.

Verdant describes this one as tasty of toasted marshmallow and chocolate s’mores. I guess I can kind of see the s’mores angle, with the strong chocolate notes combined with the malty breadiness. And there is quite a lot of natural sweetness. But I don’t think I personally taste marshmallow at all. Then again, I’ve prepared this Western style, so I’m likely missing some of the subtleties. Still yummy though!

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Musty, Oak, Rye, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mastress Alita

Slow and steady wins the race, that’s why I’m doing one a week rather than one a day. But progress is progress! Go for the s-s-s-sipdoooown!

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1569 tasting notes

This was my first Laoshan black and it was quite tasty. Spring 2018 harvest prepared gong fu with 5g and water just off boiling, no rinse. Ten second first steep with increases of 5s for subsequents steeps. I think I got 8 total.

The dry leaf was very fragrant, smelling of dark chocolate and fig. Wet leaf was also very fragrant with red fruit that smelled deep and full-bodied with a high note. It reminded me of the Mangosteen Skinny Tea I had last night, which possessed a very similar taste as the wet leaf aroma of this tea. I could also initially smell rum and dark chocolate with those moving into dark milk chocolate and honey as steeps progressed. The aroma of the wet leaf and liquor was strong enough to create a chocolatey ether in my vicinity.

The taste remained fairly stable throughout, lightening from the third steep on. I picked up on chocolate, wood, honey, golden raisin, sourness and brightness like an orange but not quite, malt, toast, roasted grains, minerals (limestone and iron), a light mushroom, very mild bitterness and later a hint of cedar. There was some astringency early on in the throat which faded. The mineral effect of the tea was very strong and made me salivate something wicked, which I freaking love. The aftertaste was light at first with some dark chocolate, then progressed into an incredible ball of honey sweetness that sat unmoving at the back of my tongue. The bottom of the cup retained a very strong graham cracker and thick honey scent.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with my first Laoshan black. It was incredibly fragrant and the tastes were complex enough to remain interesting, though it was a little too sweet and light-bodied for me. It’s not quite a dessert tea for me and I’d hesitate to suggest it to dessert tea lovers due to it’s woodiness but I think it’s worth picking up a sample to try. I’m looking forward to comparing the other two Laoshan black tea samples I purchased from Verdant.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

In my experience, Laoshan Blacks from Verdant teas were markedly better than the ones I tried from other vendors. More intense, more “original”.


Intense is a good descriptor for this tea, especially in it’s persistent sweetness. This one did have kind of a rustic, unrefined quality to it but it was enjoyable. I’ll have to try another vendor’s just for the sake of comparison. Thanks for the heads up.

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8 tasting notes

dry leaf smells like chocolate pudding, cacao powder, the edges of brownies, and warm pumpernickel rye crust

8 infusions gongfu

tastes of sugar cane, hot chocolate made with water, lactic finish
smells like fresh pastry made with yogurt and chocolate

tastes of chocolate pudding, green grape, cloves
smells like sweet lamb stew and carob

tastes of beef stew, malt, chocolate, bread crust
smell like the leaves of undergrowth in the sun, chocolate, honey dried salmon

tastes of carob, with a cinnamon sweetness, and a malty, lactic finish
smells like sweet toasted bread

tastes of applewood, carob, with light coffee notes

tastes of burnt toffee, carob, salmon fat, delicata squash skin, and sweet estuaries

7th and 8th infusions dissipate into malt and warm seabreeze

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cacao, Chocolate, Cloves, Coffee, Malt, Sugarcane, White Grapes

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 1 OZ / 40 ML

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1707 tasting notes

Spring 2017 that was described as being:
very savory – chocolate, pastry, marshmallow, graham
fruity – goji, rasin
floral – honey, violet
And I gotta agree with Verdant’s descriptors this time. It was as chocolaty as any Laoshan teas, but it was chocolaty enough to avoid the asparagus vegetative notes while emphasizing the sweeter ones like the violet…and oh the violet was noticeable. This one was a bit more western starting at 45 sec, then a minute and a half and so on. While the profile was noticeably simpler, this tea was my second favorite of the sampler pack for its sheer sweetness. I liked that the chocolate note was picked up by goji to add a fruity edge and I liked that it was savory enough to coat my mouth.

I’d be very glad to try this again to give a fuller review because it was my second favorite black of the recent Verdant order, but I liked it for being an easy drinker or grandpa style tea that I drank rather quickly. Only let downs were price and it was not strong for more than four brews, but it was so awesome to grandpa this and not worry about it using 3 grams. I should try it gong fu again, but only problem is price.

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42 tasting notes

To be honest, I’ve always put off writing tasting notes about laoshan black because it’s such an understandably beloved tea, but also (in my experience) so singularly chocolately there’s not much to say about it. However, I decided to embark on and record a mindful tasting the other day, and approaching the tea much more mindfully yielded something entirely more complex than what I think of loashan black being.

The session lasted a solid 9 infusions. Following a flash rinse I started with 10 seconds and additions of 4 seconds, but gradually increased in bigger increments to a final brew of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

The aroma throughout the session was the typically strong chocolate smell of a laoshan black. However, the flavor profile started out like a mildly sweet bread mixed with chocolate. It reminded me of a chocolate chip croissant.

As the session continued I got an abundance of sweetness from honey and sugarcane notes, mixed with cinnamon and allspice. On the fourth steep I was caught off guard by a strong mint flavor at the start of the cup which faded back into the chocolate chip croissant flavor of the first infusion.

On the fifth steeping I decided to push the tea a bit more to see if I could get a round of strong chocolate flavor. I was rewarded with exactly that, but with a complimentary citrus note and a beautiful floral hit in the aromatics.

As the session ended the bitterness of the chocolate faded and I had a final cup that was sweet, creamy, and vanilla flavored. It was quite reminiscent of a sweetened steamed milk from Starbucks.

This was a really great session of a tea that’s always nice to have on hand if you enjoy a luxurious chocolate flavored cup. Clearly, as this session awakened me to, there’s more than meets the eye with this tea if you’re willing to invest yourself in the brew.

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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676 tasting notes

My review is for the Autumn 2016 version of this tea.

I found the taste and aroma of this tea very nostalgic. It brings back memories of drinking Nesquik chocolate milk growing up. It’s got a sweet hot chocolate taste with a bit of Ovaltine malt and some honeyed notes. The chocolatey-ness which is characteristic of Laoshan teas manifests itself here as milk chocolate. An interesting contrast to the smokey, cocoa-y bittersweet chocolate notes of classic spring laoshan black.

The kid in me loved the chocolate candy flavor of this tea but my adult palette prefers the richer dark chocolate taste profile of regular laoshan black tea. I would recommend brewing this gongfu or grandpa because it has no resteeping power. One 3 minute steep is all it could muster.

Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Honey, Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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