So I also requested the organic Bailin Gongfu black to compare to the other version that others have reviewed so much. I’m not sure if other folks have reviewed the organic under the other tea’s page, but I created this one to distinguish them. Perhaps because it is in a larger sample bag instead of the small serving packets, the dry dry leaf smells more intensely chocolate. I did a very short rinse and a 10 sec steep.

Mmm getting more chocolate and less rye right off the bat, yes there is still a nice grainy quality but I’m getting some really lovely spice. Oh yes spicy chocolate, oh my! While I am not a fan of chocolate spice flavored teas (Teavana’s Azteca Fire and Zocolatte Spice ::shudder::) it is wonderful to find it as a natural characteristic of the tea. This would be wonderful on a cold fall or winter day.

The second steep is more sweet and less spice, reminding more of the non-organic version (which is a good thing as I liked it a lot). I keep on thinking either of these would be such great introductions to black tea to coffee or cola drinkers (of which I am neither). I really will have to brew the two side by side and western style to determine any real differences and which I should order.

The third is more broth-like and I get a bit more rye. It reminds me of french onion soup with rye bread crumbs, only you know chocolaty. The forth and fifth were a bit mild but still enjoyable. Will update this as I have more sessions. Thank you again Angel and Teavivre, this tea made my day better, after an epic tantrum from the toddler this morning!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Dylan Oxford

This is such a good tea.

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Dylan Oxford

This is such a good tea.

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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