Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: Yunnan Sourcing
Bai Lin (lit. White Forest) Gong Fu black tea is made from Fuding Bai Hao “White Pekoe” varietal tea leaves. Our Imperial grade is a tippy grade, meaning only the smallest tips and leaf budlets are picked. This picking has to be done in few short days in spring to obtain the tenderest of shoots.
The brewed tea is packed with flavor and aroma. There is a kind of dried longan fruit dark and pungent sweetness which juxtaposed against a low subtle bitterness that provides a real complex and lively drinking experience!
Spring 2014 harvest (Late April)
Learn more about this tea here.
The hot weather has finally hit the UK in full force as we experience a heat wave. It’s times like this that I tend to crave green tea and Oolong in general but lately I’ve found myself craving some black tea. That’s when I remembered about my sample of this from March – Yunnan Sourcing – Premium Club. I know what you’re thinking, “But Kitty, that was months ago!”. And yes it was, but if I’m honest I just haven’t been in the mood for black tea. I have had some in that time to try and de stash but I’m sure most of you understand what it’s like, you fall in love with one tea and similar types and before you know it your fancy has changed and you end up pushing the pre loved tea towards the back of the cupboard. So after such a long wait I am looking forward to finally trying this.
Once the tea leaves are free from their silver packet I can note some gold tips among a dark brown base tone. The leaves are rather thinly rolled and average roughly 4mm in length. A nice mixture of size to be frank, some small and some large but most being similar and meeting in the middle. This deep, Autumn feeling tea has a dry and wooden scent with a touch of sweet malt and cocoa.
Leaf – Approx 7g
Method: Gaiwan 100ml
Water: 100C – Boiling
Rinse: 5 seconds
Steep One – 30 seconds
Golden brown colour with rich sweet wood and malt scent.
Flavour is dry and sweet with wood, malt, date, brown sugar and soft leather notes. Wonderful combination of flavours there and each bowl offers more and more. They blend in very well and linger in the after taste. The only downside is the dryness which is rather thick in my opinion, especially for a first steep.
Steep Two – 1 minutes
A little stronger but still well balanced in terms of flavours, most of which remain for the second steep. The notable characteristics of this steep being: The malt is thick but seems to have smoothed out slightly and is less sweet, the dryness in the after taste has also dissipated a lot and on the whole it tastes better balanced compared to the first steep. Meaning that this steep the flavours are less surprising and less temperamental. That makes this my favourite steep from the two so far. Also the after taste is very much date and prune like, it’s delicious!
Steep Three – 2 minutes
Notes: Softer scent and colour is light golden brown.
Flavour is also softer in this steep, which cuts out a few of the previous notes. Dominance being embraced by the malt and wood tones in particular. Also the date flavour is still present but rather soft at this point. The after taste no longer lingers as such which has been replaced by some sourness. Only a touch of sourness though, nothing drastic and not enough to claim it is bitter.
Steep Four – 3 minutes
An increase in sourness and decrease in strength (as I was predicting). Though despite that the dryness is not as bad in this steep and it still has a nice malt and wood finish. Still enough flavour to be pleasing and on the whole remains fairly smooth for the most part. I would also say that with the sourness it reminds me of light tobacco notes rather than leather.
Steep Five – 4 minutes
Note – I honestly thought it would end on steep four but I felt there was enough flavour left for this steep ie steep five. A pleasant surprise 🙂
Yes, this is my final steep but it was worth having that one extra. Albeit soft and light, there is some sweet malt tones that remain with a mild sour finish and a touch of dryness in the after taste. I feel that completed my drinking experience perfectly.
This black tea had a wonderful burst of flavours at the beginning and it slowly began to soften. With the main flavours throughout being: Wood, Sweet malt and date; this made for a delicious and rather special black tea. I have tried a few sources for Bai Lin Gong Fu and I believe this is my favourite so far. Reason being that it had the wide array of beautiful notes that for the most part remained consistent and pleasing, plus I found the strength was about right for my personal liking. Not to mention that this actually went very well with the heat wave thanks to the fruit tones.
Now I regret keeping it in my possession for so long without trying it sooner! I suppose all it means is that for right here, right now this is ‘my kinda cuppa’.