Bailin Gongfu Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea
Caramel, Fruity, Sweet, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Drying, Malt, Smooth, Astringent, Leather, Bitter, Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Sweet Potatoes, Wheat, Floral, Perfume, Raisins, Cocoa, Tea, Baked Bread, Grain, Tannic, Yams, Coffee, Molasses, Smoke, Cream, Cannabis
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Edit tea info Last updated by TeaVivre
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec 6 g 21 oz / 627 ml

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354 Tasting Notes View all

From Teavivre

Origin: Fuding, Fujian, China

Ingredients: Made from tea buds and leaves with black and gold coloured pine-needle shaped appearance

Taste: A rich, full bodied sweet tasting tea with a hint of caramel

Brew: 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 185 ºF (85 ºC) for 2 to 3 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: Black teas contain antioxidants, which help in the prevention of some cancers and help reduce the effects of aging caused by free radicals. They can also reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks due to natural chemicals that reduce cholesterol.

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354 Tasting Notes

676 tasting notes

Thank you ME for buying this tea!

I broke down and paid for Teavivre tea! Hee Hee!
So I have to thank myself for doing the right thing and buying one of my top 5 Black tea’s of all time (Truely this and Verdant’s Laoshan Black are #1 and #2 but I’m not telling in which order)!

My tea cupboard is awesome! Filled with bins of tea from the great to the wanna be great’s. I’ve become emotionally attached to some tea (hate to say this, but I’m a tea hoarder when it comes to some’d better not touch some of them…I’ll jump all over your…)
to the point that letting them go is almost out of the question. Sinful!

Writing reviews about some of the lesser quality tea’s can get to drag me down. UH! Burn out!

After awhile…I my jewels, those beautiful special tea’s I can always count on for relief. Oh yes! Great tasting tea again! My precious! (I couldn’t resist!)
I am saved!

Today, I needed saving from the bad tea blues. My Bailin Gongfu Black could save anyone from the blues. It’s the best of Black Malty, Cocoa, Rich and Smooth, Bready, Golden Goodness!!!!!

Slurp, Gulp, Sweet or with Cream! Exceptional!



I completely understand and empathize.

Charles Thomas Draper

And I too also finally ordered from Teavivre. And I’m glad I did.

Dylan Oxford

This is a gem of a tea. Have you tried the organic version? Our Teavivre order just got here today, and we got a sample of the organic to compare to the 100g bag of not-organic that I bought.


Oh I await the verdict on that Dylan!


I thought about it but this go around bought the pearls and a puerh …awesome that $30 in tea gets you free signed UPS shipping!


Good deal! One day I’ll (fly away) make a real order too!


I’m going to buy this one, too! I love it so much.

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335 tasting notes

Despite having stayed up much too late last night and moving more slowly than I’d like today, I am feeling significantly better than I was the other night! I mean, I still have to go to work today, but I have tomorrow off and I don’t feel mopey and stressed like I have been.

Mmmmm. Earthy smoky goodness. Just what I was looking for. The more I try them, the more I start to like earthy flavors. Perhaps this will become a staple after all…


I think this may become a staple for me as well. :-)

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, I need to get more of this one…


Oh, I knew I should have brewed this up this morning! /0\

Terri HarpLady

OK Cavo, what is this suppose to mean? /0\
I have no clue…

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2401 tasting notes

Thank you so much Teavivre! My order and contest winnings have arrived. I was very excited to win a pu-erh cake from that awesome contest, and I figured I might as well order with all my reward points I’ve accumulated so that the pu-erh cake didn’t have to travel through the mail so lonely. haha. (I ordered this one, the Keemun #1 which won in my taste test of all four keemuns and the review that won Teavvire’s contest and a bunch of samples, mostly oolong!)

I wanted to try this one right away. My previous sample of this one was almost two years old, so the harvest was bound to be different. It is. I tried to steep using similar parameters. It still has the distinctly bailin gongfu flavor, but it’s lighter than it once was. The flavor before was deep dark chocolate. This is still chocolate, but not dark chocolate! Still no astringency. I will probably find I love it more every time I steep this one, just like the previous harvest. I think this is the tea I’ve written the most tasting notes for.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // 20 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min steep


So much love for this one…and congrats again for your winnings :-)


I really need to bust this out again. I remember loving it when I tried it but I haven’t touched since.


Mine haven’t arrived yet but I am so excited to get them!

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119 tasting notes


This is a landmark for many reasons:
1.) THIS IS MY 100th tasting note! I can’t believe I’ve made so many!
2.) I have exactly 70 followers now! Thank you to everyone that puts up with my incoherent ramblin’s!
3.) This is my first 100 on a tea! Ironically on my 100th tasting note! Whuddathunkit?

So, thank you to everyone that’s stuck with me this whole time, I’ve already grown exponentially in my tea experience and I look forward to growing even more! Sorry that I haven’t been on for a few days, I’ve had a lot to do this week AND I wanted to make this note special because, it is afterall a landmark post. Also, I am sad to say that I most likely won’t be on for the rest of the week/weekend because I have the Vermont AllState Music Festival tomorrow through Saturday and then we are having a family dinner for Mother’s Day because my family from out of town are here visiting! Super exciting! You best believe that I will be drinking tea though!

So, onto this tea! Thank you very kindly to Angel and the rest of the Teavivre team, this tea is without a doubt one of the best blacks I’ve ever tried. I know that this will be a repeat of what I have said in the past and what other’s have said, but I love it so much. Last time I reviewed this I was going through a “moody I’m questioning what I like and how I like it” phase, but now I’m back and I can say fully that I love this one to death.

It has all the perfect characteristics that a Fujian should-it’s got a very nice, fresh baked bread taste (rye perhaps?). Alongside that is an extremely dark dark chocolate note that adds…… Not necessarily sweetness but rather a nice accent to the bread. Like a Pain au Chocolat, but a little bit of a grainier bread and a really dark chocolate.

In the second steep (unfortunately all I got to with this session today, although I know for a fact that it could have been steeped AT LEAST one or two more times) a realllllly yummy caramel taste came out. The grain started to back off a little in this one, though it was still definitely there. There was absolutely no astringency in either of these steeps!

This one is definitely going on the repurchase list! Thanks again to Angel and Teavivire for this sample as well as to all of my lovely followers for supporting me and reading my rambli-I mean reviews! Happy Drinking!

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Hooray for you! Today you are a man (well not exactly but you are on the way!).
I think you’re taller also! Yes, I see it! Taller and with a glow about you! Fine chap that IAN! Congradulations fine Ian! Hear Hear for you’re a jolly good fellow!


Congratulations Ian! Nice choice of tea for a milestone BTW.


Hahahaha Bonnie! Thank you very much! I am very flattered :D


@kOmpir: Thank you so much! I love this one so much!

Daniel Scott

Taking note, I will look into this one!


I agree – this is really good!

Joshua Smith

Ah, I remember this tea. Good times. If I didn’t have such a large stockpile, I would buy some, but alas, that will have to wait until July…



Dylan Oxford

I got a sample of this from Azz (and now a sample from Teavivre), and I’m pretty impressed with it as well. I’m torn between drinking this second sample, and sharing the love for someone else to try, since I know I’m going to buy a mount of it later!


Congrats! This is definitely a milestone worthy tea, and I love reading your reviews. Keep ’em coming!


I should have this tea at my door step very soon! can’t wait to try it!!

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464 tasting notes

HOO YEAH! This sample sent me to to Tea Heaven! Best Teavivre tea I received by far! The darkest of black teas- Its roasty, almost ashy foretaste feels like silk in the mouth. It then overwhelmed me with roasted green beans (yes, I’ve been obsessed with beans lately) and was tantalizingly tangy in the aftertaste. That last bit made the impression on me of apple cider vinegar on a green bean salad.

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110 tasting notes

1 rounded tsp for 8 oz

Really liking this today. 3 minutes better than 2. It is smooth and rich. I wouldn’t say it is a complex flavor… kind of “generic” black tea, but the smoothness is what makes it special. Good stuff.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Doug F

This is another one of those “all star” teas I have yet to try.

Rachel J

It’s not that special, but I like how smooth and non-astringent it is. The only tea I’ve had that has made me really freak out is the Butiki Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black.

Doug F

I’ll hope to be freaked when they get some more in this summer.


….if I don’t buy it all before anyone can get to it! Bwahahahaha

Rachel J

Haha… We will all be falling all over ourselves. Hope Stacy can get enough to satisfy us. ;)

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3229 tasting notes

Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for my wonderful second batch of samples, which generously included this one which I requested specifically since everyone here has been raving about it!

Like the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls, this tea smelled quite deliciously chocolatey when I opened up the package. It may have leaned a touch moreso towards malty/yeasty, but there was definitely chocolate there. I probably used about 2 tsp for 8 or 10 oz. water.

The result is pretty tasty, very little astringency, a rich, malty, hay-y flavour with chocolatey flavours emerging more slowly. I stupidly finished the other cup of tea before even trying this one (clearly not in the right state of mind for tasting tea right now. Not at all.) but I think I preferred the pearls :)

ETA: Very interesting second infusion, especially after just drinking that of the Fengqing Dragon Pearls! I can’t really taste much of anything chocolatey, but there’s a surprising sweetness! No astringency even though I think it was steeped a good deal longer than the pearls. I think this is a black tea I could actually drink regularly with no additions (along with the pearls, the Laoshan Black…. I see a trend here!)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

You just drank two of my favorite tea’s back to back in an unsettled state of mind! You should be drinking something low caffeine and take a bubble bath to relax!!!


I should have…. but the drama’s all over now, so I’ve calmed down (even though the answer wasn’t what I hoped for :) )


Ah sorry. I’m proud of you for trying!


Thanks :) I’m proud of me too – I’ve realized lately that I need to stop sitting around waiting for good things to happen, and need to work at making them happen myself! This was a big step :)


Good for you! Next time will be easier.


I’m going to have to take lessons from you Krystaleyn!

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1184 tasting notes

I wanted to steep this tea with my gongfu pot to see if I could bring out a little more of the chocolate notes and less of the grainy feeling to the tea.

Using my little gongfu pot. One note here: the leaves don’t get very large so make sure you use a straining device or else there will be leaves in your cup.

Quick rinse

I did four steepings at 30seconds, 40seconds, 60seconds, and 75seconds

I found with the gongfu steeping, there was a milder grainy aspect, which I enjoyed. It still wasn’t as sweet as I was hoping it would be. However, the chocolate did seem to come out a little more. I am pleased with this method and will continue to steep using this method with this tea.

Or if I continue to western brew this tea, I will take the first steeping as a rinse because I enjoyed the second and third steepings much more.

185 °F / 85 °C

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212 tasting notes

This is a sample from Azzrian, Thanks! Brewed this up as the first cup of the day. Not a bad cup of tea, but not my favorite either.

It’s a very grainy, malty tea. It really reminds me of the smell a friend’s house had while he was making beer. The end of the sip is sweet, reminding me of honey. Very thick mouth feel to it. It isn’t bitter or astringent at all, good marks for that.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

EXACTLY!! read my review on this here! I said the same thing BEER!
I loved it though haha


Hehe I’ve never been a beer drinker. Dylan says the tea is too thick for me and he’s probably right. Once I sampled a mead that was most excellent though. Nice review you have there. Pretty awesome that you used to make beer!

Azzrian I think Dylan is just down playing it to you so he gets it all haha. But yeah it is different for a tea – not like any tea I have had yet anyway. Yeah another life time ago I made beer with the ex all the time. That is the only reason I miss drinking HOME BREW :)

Thanks for the compliment on the review! :)


Wait I lied … I miss good wine too.


Your welcome. I’m keeping my eye out for a good wine like tea. The best one I’ve had so far is from teavana. Their opus rouge is good I think.

Autumn Hearth

Opus Rouge with Joie de Virve is good a nice balance of sweet red with dry white. But I really want to try the tea you just reviewed, I like malty beer :)

Autumn Hearth

Oh and I’ve been curious about what your icon is Missy, it looks like a knotted dragon on a pouch or sporran. Also I think its awesome to see a couple on Steepster. My husband would never join, though he enjoys a good cuppa. His logs would be “I like this”, “This was tasted off”, or “Meh tastes like tea”, the last one would apply to any white, green or oolong I hand him. But I sometimes log him and our toddler’s impressions.


It is a dragon drinking tea. It amused me because I’ve started in on my fascination and my Chinese zodiac is the dragon. It’s hard to see it because the picture is small but that’s his tail curled below him.
I do enjoy reading Dylan’s tasting notes. I have a general idea of what they are going to be like since we talk about the tea we are tasting. It’s also a pretty good way to gauge what we should keep around. We talk about the tea but some times we are less specific than in our tasting notes. I think we assume the other just knows. I would log more of my daughter’s impressions but they are all the same. She loves a tea or it tastes like butt. That is the current phrase for her. Teenagers….


@Missy, love your daughter’s tasting notes! If it were a puerh she might say both wilst and at the same time.

@Autumn, I have seen Tommy the Toad use less words than your husband and it still makes the point. He should join.


Haha K S excellent point!

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160 tasting notes

I am ashamed to admit that I still have samples untasted that Teavivre sent to me. Tonight, after a productive work day, I decided that it should also be a productive tea day. So, on to tasty Teavivre samples! This particular one was one of the ones I was most excited to try.

The smell of the dry leaves is a mix of malt and hay. I get a hint of chocolate, but mostly I get malty notes and even a bit of molasses. The leaves are a beautiful mix of black, brown and golden.

The brew is a dark burgundy brown. It smells thick and inviting. I can see how it reminds some people of chocolate. I get sweet molasses notes and a hint of creaminess. The flavor is malty and still holds hints of hay. There is a strange sour flavor that lingers at the end of each sip. I added a little rock sugar and it helped smooth it out a little. It did taste quite a bit like malted chocolate balls! (or Milo which is malted chocolate milk that they have here in Ecuador!)

Sadly it, isn’t quite what I wanted but I recognize that it is very very good. I can see how it could be some people’s favorite. :)

3 min, 0 sec

I love this one dearly. Oh, and Teavivre will remind you if you fall behind on your reviews, haha.


I think this is a really good standard black tea also. I agree that it’s best sweetened and I add milk for morning tea. This pairs with the maltiness very well.


Tabby – Hmm… I guess that means that I am not as far behind as I thought! :)

Bonnie – I will have to try it with milk! :)


I have several untasted Teavivre samples as well, so don’t feel bad. So much tea, so little time!

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