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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365 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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365 Tasting Notes

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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364 tasting notes

Aaaah, my black malty full bodied tea, how much I love you.

First time I drank Bailin Gungfu, I heard the angels singing! (Pun very intended for Angel at Teavivre!)

It was about three years ago and I was a lot less experienced with tea in general. I remember thinking that I had finally arrived, that this was the reason I kept drinking and trying new teas.

The aroma is so inviting and homey, it’s like having a sniff at fresh baked bread just out of the oven. Think crusty rye bread.

It’s malty with big cocoa notes paired with dark honey…mmm…chocolate croissant.

Everything has been said about this tea, and yet, I felt compelled to review it again.

Only the best teas stand the test of time…this is not a one trick pony, it’s one that keeps coming back to my cupboard.

As I mention in my profile, I am MARRIED to straight blacks and VERY faithful to them…Ok, maybe I do cheat a little…but I always come back!


Reading the “I heard the angels sing.” I immediately picture Angel sitting across from you while you drank this tea and serenading you…tehehe:P


That sounds lovely. :)


Haha! albertocanfly, I’ll have to invite her over someday for a real singing tea session ;-)

Arshness, if you are a fan of this type of tea, I highly recommend it, it’s a classic and it’s very accessible to any tea lover!


I’m totally unfamiliar with that kind of tea. :) Just it sounds nice. I should try it some time.


Looking forward to trying this one—especially after this review! ;-)


I have some of this on the way too

Terri HarpLady

I need to be sure & put this in my basket next time I place a Teavivre order. I’ve been out for quite awhile.


Since you mention buying this one a lot, do the harvests stay pretty consistent?


Or should I ask, did you order this recently and is it as good as usual?


Yes! The harvests are very consistent and I ordered just a few months ago. I never noticed any huge difference from one order to the next.


thanks, good to know! Hopefully more consistent than the Laoshan Black harvests. But I like the Bailin Gongfu better anyway. :D

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185 tasting notes

My first tea from Teavivre, a wonderful sample sent to me by Azzrian.

Let me say that off the bat, I’m very impressed with the quality of this tea. Opening up the sample, you get a good scent of the tea leaves themselves that is quite inviting. I opened it up to smell it, and then Missy had to go brew it up for us. She says it was so it didn’t go stale, but honestly I don’t think she could resist the aroma.

She tried something a teensy bit different with this tea, in that she brewed a first steeping in a 16 oz tumbler, and then a second steeping, and poured them into our larger pot. So consider this a review of steeping 1.5 ;)

The flavor packed into this tea is good and thick, almost mealy. I’ve thought of other teas as malty, but this truly and thoroughly blows all other maltiness, ever, away. It’s a very tasty, thick, sweet malt flavor that reminds me of a dark stout beer. Underneath that, there’s a honey-like flavor that comes out and is quite enjoyable. At the end, there’s a bit of a grainy flavor that comes out.

Its a very smooth tea, but it has a very thick mouth-feel to it. Again, I find myself likening this to the tea version of a good, dark, stout beer. It has that depth of malt flavor, and this thickness that almost makes your mouth want to chew by instinct alone. That “are we sure this is a liquid?” sense.

I think what’s interesting to me about this tea is that it’s very, very flavorful, but it doesn’t have that… aggressiveness I’m used to in black teas. It almost feels like a night time black tea, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Definitely puts the bug in my ear to go try some more Teavivre teas, especially now that they’ve added samples to roughly all of their teas, from what I’m seeing.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I think they still have an offer on their web page that if you are a member of a tea review site like this, you can provide your user name and they will send you some free samples. Mine were delicious and got me hooked on several new teas.

Dylan Oxford

Yeah, I’ve seen a couple people post about that. I don’t know, I don’t really feel like I’m a tea reviewer, you know? I’m just a slightly funny guy with a cup and a thirst ;)


Yes you ARE a tea reviewer! GO for it! Angel is a sweetheart as her name implies I am sure she will be happy to send samples! And read my review here lol it IS like beer to me too!

Dylan Oxford

Well hey, look at you… you’ve got this whole other website where you post fascinatingly in depth tea reviews. There’s a lot to this whole tea world that I think I’m missing out on ;)


Hey, if they sent ME tea, you certainly should get some tea! Go for it! I have placed one large order with them already and will be placing another soon, so the exposure they get from sending the samples works. I am buying their Tung Ting based on their sending it to someone else, whose review made me want it.


Exactly like ashmanra said – don’t be shy! Get some samples and their tea is good so they will get orders from giving them out! :)
Note though – if I DON’T like a tea … you will know that HERE. That site are only the teas I DO recommend. I post likes AND dislikes here lol. Not as in-depth perhaps but also important! :)

Dylan Oxford

Aaaah. Well then we’re the lucky ones, we get the full Azzrian :)


“Yes you ARE a tea reviewer!” Seconded.

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541 tasting notes
This one is very nice no bitter at all nice dark color with hints of caramel and malt maybe even slightly spicy notes, very good :-)
Thomas Edward(Toad)

my steepster is acting up bad today


Slap it!

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709 tasting notes

Now that my Teavivre order has arrived (huzzah!) I feel I can safely finish the samples that I have had for ages. Scarily, I ordered 100 grams of the Bailin Gongfu and Also the Black Pearls… despite only having tried them once! What?! My memory is so faulty at the best of times.

This poor sample was a bit crushed from kicking around so long so I expect a bit more malt and bitterness from the broken leaves. The steeped aroma is powerful. It is malty and yeasty and rich, it embodies dark cocoa and rich rye bread. Wow, rye bread is perfect actually. I should get myself some rye flour and make a loaf.

Anyway, the taste of this steeping is just as powerful as the smell. I used the full 7 g sample in my 12 oz Perfect Tea Mug, steeped about 3 minutes and it is intense. The liquor is dark and the tea is delicious. I’m not quite as taken with it as I was that first time (probably because I have had a tea like this a few times now) but this is just so brazen. This tea does not hide itself, flaws or otherwise. It is the “look at me, I’m GORGEOUS!” of teas. (Please picture John Lithgow saying that from his role as Dock Solomon on 3rd Rock from the Sun!)

For me, this has an earthiness and intensity that I don’t frequently find in tea, it actually does a good job of mimicking a roasted oolong, sort of like a couple Big Red Robe’s I’ve enjoyed. Perhaps it would be better to say that they mimic this tea, but that’s semantics.

This is tremendous and very special. Not a mindless tea, but one to be savoured. I think I could win over some non-tea drinkers with this baby. Mwah!


I’ve been trying for two days to do a tasting note on this tea and it just won’t work, so I’ll add a comment to say that this is the first of my teas to have my grandmother’s seal of approval. Most of them are ‘too fancy’ and ‘undrinkable’ but she liked this so much that she had two steeps and commented on it several times. Bailin wiN!

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635 tasting notes

Sipdown #61

Thanks to my husband for drinking this one (and only sharing one small sip with me I might add), this has become a sipdown. ;) I’ve had a very productive sipdown evening!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

I’m trying to get my husband to move beyond Tetley and try new teas. Someday….


He’s only started being interested in tea within the past couple months, while I’ve been drinking it for most of my life. So, don’t give up hope yet! :)

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4847 tasting notes

Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this tea.

YUM! I’m with Angrboda here, Fujian black DOES = OM NOM NOM NOM!!!

So rich and satisfying. So yummy delicious. Lovely dark cocoa notes, and a strong undercurrent of caramel sweetness. When it comes to pure black tea, it really doesn’t get any better than this. This is the stuff!


OM NOM NOM NOM FUJIAN! Second cup of Peony Tea S’ unsmoked LS is imminent over here. :9


I will watch for your tasting note, I really enjoyed the unsmoked LS that I tried from Townshend’s.


I wrote about it a couple of days ago, so you may have already seen it. :)


yes … I just re-visited it though and re-read it. I was a little down and out a day or two ago, so I was reading… but not really paying attention, if that makes sense. I was more or less just sort of looking at the screen and feeling kind of miserable. But, fortunately, it didn’t last too long.


I know what you mean. And even so, it’s impossible to keep everything in your head all the time, anyway. :)


Yes, it is. I am glad that you were able to try some unsmoked Lapsang Souchong, as I do remember you being interested in the Unsmoked LS that I tried from Townshend’s. I might have to give the one from Peony a try too.

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863 tasting notes

When I looked through my box of Teavivre samples tonight I was between this one and the Yunnan Dian Hong. This one won because it’s smell was a tinge darker and more earthy compared to the slightly brighter (maybe fruity?) scent of the Yunnan.

But I remembered that this tea had a note of smoke when I made it previously, so I decreased the steep time by about 30 seconds to avoid it. It worked pretty well, I think – the cocoa notes I got before are stronger than the smoke essence. It still retained its thick texture, and seemed very bready to me again tonight.

It is still perfect without additives, and I think because of the reduction in smoke I will raise it up a few points. A wonderfully satisfying black tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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172 tasting notes

I finally did it, I placed my first order with Verdant. I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to do it, but the curiosity has been killing me and I knew that I HAD to do it. I got an ounce of the spring harvest Laoshan green, an ounce of the cornfields shu tuo cha, and an ounce of the golden fleece black tea (which is the one I’m REALLY excited to try). For that three ounces of tea, I spent $40.00. I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around that number, I feel a bit ashamed to be honest. But if I would have never tried their tea, I would’ve always been left wondering. Sometimes you just have to live.

But anyway, I’ve spent enough time rambling completely off-topic, I just had to get that out there because I’m PUMPED. Now to the tea at hand. This stuff never disappoints me. This is possibly the most comforting tea I’ve had to date. It’s a very light-bodied tea but the flavor is there and it’s right on point. I can summarize this tea in four simple words: Malty, roasty, chocolatey, sweet. In other words, COMFORT. So for now I’ll sit here and sip on this cup of heaven while thoughts of the wondrous teas to come drift through my mind. And then I’ll spend the next week VERY impatiently awaiting my Verdant order…


I hope you love them all!


You could have had a dinner out and over fast ….the tea will last longer and be more memorable!


Hope you like them! Re: Bonnie’s comment.. that’s why my husband and I are so bad at actually buying things. We’ll be considering some purchase, but then we’ll say.. “We could get this… or we could spend that money and such-and-such tea!”

Invader Zim

lol Spoonvonstup, I do the same thing. I’ll go out shopping and think of how much something costs and if I’d rather spend money on that item or on tea. Tea almost always wins!

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