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83
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
64 tasting notes

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

I have mixed feelings about this one. I really love the flavor spectrum, and this is a lovely desert tea: nice and chocolaty, touches of caramel, a good helping of spices, and hints of honey and malt. Butttt, I’ve tried this tea three separate times gong fu style, using different steeping times, amounts of leaves, and temperatures of water. Every time I get an unpleasant sour and salty texture and taste, especially in the first steeps. After about the fourth, this dies down a great deal, but I can still detect it. It’s not terrible enough for me to discard a steep, but it’s noticeable enough to distract from the yumminess this tea possesses. I will say, however, that my first issues were treating it as a traditional black tea and using near-boiling water. The third time I tasted this one, I treated it more like a dark oolong with much better results. Still, this coppery taste lingered. However, I’ve added milk and sugar to some of the later steeps the last time I brewed it and it came out very chai-like and was quite pleasant. I think I’ll switch over to brewing this one Western style now.

Outside of the flavor world, the dry leaves are a delight to smell. The aroma is like sticking your face into a container of Hershey’s cocoa powder, along with hints of hazelnut and spices. The wet leaves gave off scents of mocha, roasted nuts, honey, and coffee grounds. It was very rich and dark, but didn’t knock your head back—it was smooth and unaggressive.

The mouthfeel felt a bit chalky to me during some steeps. However, for the most part it was soft and smooth, especially when the water used is cooler. The aroma of the liquor doesn’t have much to it. It gets caramely some steeps, others it just smells like average black tea.

Flavor-wise, it is really quite similar to Verdant’s Zhu Rong from August of this year as far as flavors go. This one has a bit more chocolate and the addition of caramel, the Zhu Rong had a lot more spices. During mid-steeps of both teas (around 6 and 7) I would have to depend on mouthfeel (Zhu Rong was smoother) and aroma (Zhu Rong’s liquor’s aroma was more pronounced) to differentiate between the two if drunk side-by-side. I may consider this in the future… Actually, looking back at the raw notes I took while drinking both of these, steeps 6 and 7 look nearly identical, while the rest quite different. Hmmm, something to investigate further…

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C
Bonnie

This one is in my top 5 black tea’s.

Donna A

I, like Bonnie, really appreciate this tea.

Cody

Yeah, I can understand why this one is loved by so many. I dunno, though, I like it, but to me it just feels like it’s a bit off balance.

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Comments

Bonnie

This one is in my top 5 black tea’s.

Donna A

I, like Bonnie, really appreciate this tea.

Cody

Yeah, I can understand why this one is loved by so many. I dunno, though, I like it, but to me it just feels like it’s a bit off balance.

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Profile

Bio

I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Teaware
Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.

Location

Fort Myers, Florida

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