96

Tea of the morning……right after a cup of Gong Fu Black from Zhi Tea.

I decided that these two teas were incredibly similar, and needed to check them out together. They have an incredibly similar look as dry leaf. Some golden leaves among long, twisted darker leaves with a bit of a sheen. The color is pretty much the same, if not exact. I did not brew them up in a side by side comparison, but I did brew one cup right after the other. They taste incredibly similar, again, if not the same. As far as my senses can tell, the only differences are vendor, price, and packaging _(and one is the organic version…). I know the tea from Zhi is not a great resteeper as I usually add just a little more leaf to sweeten the pot, and I will try resteeping this one to see if the results are similar. (Resteep info is in the comments section….)

Edit to add: I am not really comparing apple to apples, here….it is more like apples to organic apples, so if the product being organic is of importance to you, Zhi Gong Fu Black would be a similar priced option with the Organic Bailin Gongfu from TeaVivre. The Zhi is a better price in amounts around 1 lb, but similar in amounts of around 100 grams. I am not really concerned with the tea being organic, though.

This makes me wonder if Zhi might source from a similar place as TeaVivre for their Gong Fu Black. I am not that concerned about it, but will probably purchase mine from TeaVivre in the future as it is closer to the source, they offer more information on origins, and the price is considerably less. Other things that weigh in, I prefer the packaging from TeaVivre as I feel the tins from Zhi, while pretty, are not very functional. I would rather spend my money on tea than fancy packaging. It might be possible to get the prices similar if there is a sale at Zhi, but I know I can order this tea (as well as a few others that pique my interest!) for a good price any day at TeaVivre. I know it is always good to support your local tea vendor, so those in the Austin, TX area might want to consider shopping at Zhi.

EDIT TO ADD (March 30, 2012): Zhi’s price has gone up considerably since I reviewed this….

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

Very interesting comparison, especially since, as you know, Zhi’s Gong Fu Black is one of my very favorites.

Regarding the price difference, though, it’s worth noting that the Zhi Gong Fu Black is USDA-certified organic, and this particular Bailin Gong Fu Black from TeaVivre is not. If you compare apples to apples — Zhi’s organic Gong Fu Black and TeaVivre’s organic Bailin Gongfu Black — the Zhi product is priced lower ($49.95 for 16 oz., vs. $62.40 for 17.5 oz. of the organic TeaVivre).

If the organic certification is not a priority, then the lower-priced TV option is certainly attractive. And TV asserts that it meets the strictest “European low pesticide residues standard,” so that’s good.

As for packaging, I don’t generally buy tea in tins unless I’m giving it as a gift. And I love this particular kind of tea so much that I buy it by the pound, so a tin is not even an option!:)

SimplyJenW

It being organic was not of issue to me, personally. I will add that into my review….

SimplyJenW

Prices of Zhi GFB and the organic version are similar in small amounts. It is much easier to hit the free shipping for TeaVivre, but it will take a bit longer to get to the US.

LadyLondonderry

It’s not always top priority for me either; it’s more of a “nice to have” than a “must have” quality. I only brought it up in this case because it was relevant to the cost comparison.

SimplyJenW

I agree that all the information should be as accurate as possible, which is why I added it! Thanks for pointing it out. I just wish Zhi would offer bags in around 4 oz amounts. I really dislike their tins……

ashmanra

Great review! Let us know how you feel about that resteep!

SimplyJenW

Resteep info: I had about a half tsp of tea left in my inner sample packet, so I added it in….results were very similar to Zhi as that is what I do to get a resteep out of it…. Resteep of Zhi without adding that half teaspoon is good, but weaker and not as satisfying. Adding the half tsp makes it just as good as the first.

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Comments

LadyLondonderry

Very interesting comparison, especially since, as you know, Zhi’s Gong Fu Black is one of my very favorites.

Regarding the price difference, though, it’s worth noting that the Zhi Gong Fu Black is USDA-certified organic, and this particular Bailin Gong Fu Black from TeaVivre is not. If you compare apples to apples — Zhi’s organic Gong Fu Black and TeaVivre’s organic Bailin Gongfu Black — the Zhi product is priced lower ($49.95 for 16 oz., vs. $62.40 for 17.5 oz. of the organic TeaVivre).

If the organic certification is not a priority, then the lower-priced TV option is certainly attractive. And TV asserts that it meets the strictest “European low pesticide residues standard,” so that’s good.

As for packaging, I don’t generally buy tea in tins unless I’m giving it as a gift. And I love this particular kind of tea so much that I buy it by the pound, so a tin is not even an option!:)

SimplyJenW

It being organic was not of issue to me, personally. I will add that into my review….

SimplyJenW

Prices of Zhi GFB and the organic version are similar in small amounts. It is much easier to hit the free shipping for TeaVivre, but it will take a bit longer to get to the US.

LadyLondonderry

It’s not always top priority for me either; it’s more of a “nice to have” than a “must have” quality. I only brought it up in this case because it was relevant to the cost comparison.

SimplyJenW

I agree that all the information should be as accurate as possible, which is why I added it! Thanks for pointing it out. I just wish Zhi would offer bags in around 4 oz amounts. I really dislike their tins……

ashmanra

Great review! Let us know how you feel about that resteep!

SimplyJenW

Resteep info: I had about a half tsp of tea left in my inner sample packet, so I added it in….results were very similar to Zhi as that is what I do to get a resteep out of it…. Resteep of Zhi without adding that half teaspoon is good, but weaker and not as satisfying. Adding the half tsp makes it just as good as the first.

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Bio

My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

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Ohio

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