My Canton Tea Co Gold Award sampler arrived on Thursday so Friday morning I opened on the sole black tea to try. The Bai Lin Gong Fu has twisty, red-gold leaves and a strong, distinct scent. After reading the tealogs on it, I can see how others can pick out tomato in it. I steeped two teaspoons for two minutes at 176° F as recommended. The color of the resulting tea was very light for a black. The tea was weak, almost watery, but I could tell it would be a delightful tea when brewed stronger. Either I needed to use more leaf (the wiry leaves didn’t fill the space of the teaspoon well, which is why I suspect two were recommended) or steep longer.
2nd steep: 3 min.
I didn’t think I would get a drinkable second steep. I increased the steep time by a whole minute and fully expected to steep it longer once I checked and the tea was barely colored. Surprisingly, when I checked, the tea was much darker than I expected. I drank and this was what the first steep should have been, maybe a little over steeped even. Fuller, complexer, and definitely caramelly, this steep was meeting the expectations I had for this tea. It is also very different from the other plain black teas I’ve had so far.
3rd steep: 5 min.
Since the second steep was so dark, I thought I might as well try for a third, even if it ended up going down the sink. At first sip, I thought it would but as it cooled, I found it had enough flavor to be drinkable and enjoyed.
I think more leaf and different steep times will yield more even cups next time.
I am rating this tea a 85 (right in the middle of my great range, 80-90).