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….