Classic Bai Lin Gong Fu Black Tea of Fuding * Golden Monkey

Tea type
Black Tea
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Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Maple, Caramel, Kettle Corn, Chestnut
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Bulk, Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Casey
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 oz / 235 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Bai Lin Gong Fu Black Tea (aka Golden Monkey) is made from Fuding Bai Hao “White Pekoe” varietal tea leaves. Our Premium grade is a one leaf to 1 bud semi-tippy grade. The tea leaves are picked in sets with 1 leaf and 1 bud. The processing allows for a golden-orange furry tip complemented by a dark leaf.

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9 Tasting Notes

8177 tasting notes

so good. Finished off the last of this from Evol ving ness today. Just what i needed before going out in to the snow! More fat bike riding today – cna’t let all this awesome snow go to waste!

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196 tasting notes

For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve hated black tea. Although I grew up in a family of chai drinkers where the kettle was always whistling and strong black tea with milk was served all day long, I was the odd one of the bunch that could never stomach the stuff. The smell and taste of it literally made me sick to my stomach and my aversion to it continued well into adulthood. So after spending over 3 decades assiduously avoiding black tea, my turning point came recently when I discovered this Yunnan black.

I picked this up with my Yunnan Sourcing order for my father who enjoys Golden Monkey tea but had been paying nearly 4x as much for it at Teavana. Out of curiousity I took a whiff of the tea leaves and was intrigued by the delicious malty smell, which was nothing like the black teas I’ve experiencd. So I set aside a small sample for myself.

The first time I brewed this tea it was too tannic and it reaffirmed all of my misgivings about black tea. I stashed it away for a future tea swap and forgot about it. A few months later as I was organizing my stash, I stumbled upon it and decided to give it another go.

This time I under leafed, using a scant teaspoon of leaves for 110ml of water off the boil, steeped for 3 minutes. First steep there was rich, yummy maltiness and chocolate. A moderate amount of tannins but not too off putting and they went away after the 1st steep. The second steep had strong notes of caramel, maple syrup, and some cocoa. The third infusion was sweeter with an astonishing brown sugar like flavor. The later steeps threw off even more brown sugar and left a maple-like sweetness in the throat.

I’m very impressed by this tea. It’s robust flavor, natural sweetness, and low bitterness make it a winner in my book. It’s quickly becoming a part of my regular tea rotation and marks the beginning of my adventure into the world of black tea.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Maple

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Evol Ving Ness

This is some sort of miracle. It gladdens my heart that you have found your way back to the, potentially, glorious world that is black tea.


Haha, indeed its a minor miracle. I think low quality teas had clouded my perception of black tea. Happy to finally discover the good stuff!

Evol Ving Ness


I am putting this tea that prompted your conversion on my list of things to order the next time that happens.

Gooseberry Spoon

Now you have an entire section of YS to catch up on!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, LuckyMe, for telling us about this tea. Mine arrived the other and omigoodness, delicious delicious delicious. My addiction for this one is all on you.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s something I might want to try to, isn’t it Evol and Luckyme?


@Evol Ving Ness So glad you liked it…always happy to be an enabler!
@Daylon R Thomas I’d definitely check it out if you’re planning a YS order. It’s a pretty amazing tea and inexpensive to boot

Evol Ving Ness

Daylon, it might be a bit too strong for you, but I think you should give it a go anyway. With a light hand. Light hand, do you hear me? :)

Evol Ving Ness

And yes, LuckyMe, this one will likely be on the regular with me for some time.

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43 tasting notes

Dry leaf: (NUT, SWEET, SMOKE) wood smoke/campfire, roast pecans and chestnuts; secondary notes of bitter green/herbal (marjoram?), malt, and dark chocolate. In preheated vessel – roast nut much stronger, molasses; secondary notes of malt and cherry cordial.

Smell: (SWEET, SMOKE, NUT) brûlé, dark caramel, roasted pecans and walnuts; secondary notes of wood smoke; hint of green herbal like marjoram. Overall base of a solid, thick English breakfast tea.

Taste: (MALT, SMOKE, SWEET, NUT) malt, wood smoke, light molasses, roast pecan and chestnut; secondary dark chocolate, green leafiness, strong English breakfast tea, autumn leaves; hints of cherry cordial.

So, once again I got a tea largely due to its awesome name. I was rewarded. This tea has big flavors and great complexity. You can smell it ten feet away after you’ve brewed, and its aftertaste lingers in the mouth for quite a while. The power of the golden monkey is great!

Recommend this for someone looking for a black tea with lots of flavor and lots of personality.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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97 tasting notes

This review is for the Spring 2015 harvest. Love the insane aroma of these leaves, so malty and sweet, with a fruity-caramel-sweetness of candied haw fruit (the kind they sell candy-coated on skewers in China). Dry leaf is delicate thin rolled threads, unfurls to full leaves when wet. Brewed in my 75ml gaiwan.

1st infusion: (20s, 206˚F)
Probably 10 – 15s would have been better. Coppery orange liquor, delicious sweet caramel corn aroma, tasted bitter from overbrewing.

2nd infusion: (20s, 208˚F)
Fragrance still delicious, but still tastes bitter. Maybe needs to be brewed at 195˚F.

3rd infusion: (20s, 195˚F)
Much better, bitterness is gone. This tea is meant to be brewed around 195.

I tested brewing this tea at 205˚F, 200˚F, 195˚F, and 190˚F.

  • 205˚F was nigh-undrinkable and the sweetness was lost
  • 200˚F was still burnt, bitter, not sweet and the second infusion was super astringent
  • 195˚F was gorgeous, aromatic, not as sweet-tasting as I expected but not as burnt or bitter as the previous 2
  • 190˚F has less fragrance, duller aroma that isn’t sweet.

Verdict: The sweet spot is probably around 193-194˚F.

Flavors: Caramel, Kettle Corn, Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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92 tasting notes

Oooo, My first impression was this is “nutty” of some sort. Macadamia? No… not walnut or almond, either. But a tree nut nonetheless. Like, acorn or chestnuts. Chestnuts! That’s what I’ve decided! Haha!

Flavors: Chestnut

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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1550 tasting notes

This tea is hard to describe. It’s got some malt flavor in there. Maybe baked bread. There’s a hard to identify sweet note. Overall this is good tea. If this doesn’t wake me up nothing will. It’s a very strong tea.

I brewed this tea once with a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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1328 tasting notes

I asked Husband what sort of hot drink he would like this morning (hoping he wouldn’t say coffee because he’s under the weather and I’d have to grind the beans myself.)

Anyway, he asked for tea.

I asked him if there was a specific one he would like.

He said, “one that mysteriously cures all illness.”

Hm. Tall order…

Eventually, I decided that this would translate to one of the teas in the Life-Giving category, of which Golden Monkeys are prominent members.

So that’s what I made him. Extra strength.

“Oh, did you forget it?” he asked.

The cheek! No, I did not, in fact, forget it. I added extra leaf. On purpose.

Now, if Husband had to pick a most favourite black, I would guess he’d say Golden Monkey. Even more so, mysteriously, than Tan Yang, which is just something I don’t get. Luckily my favourite and his favourite are so similar that they are pretty much interchangable for our purposes.

As it turns out, extra-strength brewing of this one makes it sort of thicker feeling. Bit like there’s some sort of cream in it that you can feel but not taste. At this point, Husband came in and distracted me by showing me a rainbow visible through the window. A really big one too, the whole arch. I tried to take a photo through the window but don’t know how it turned out. Haven’t looked yet.

Second steep is even more extra strength, but this time it wasn’t so much on purpose as it was putting less water in the pot than I thought. That ‘invisble cream’ feeling is still there. This time it’s also more malty and a bit caramelly. It actually tastes like a darkish but still golden caramel brown colour. My head is filled with that colour when I sip. At this strength there is also a smidge of a rough smoky quality to it, but I know that’s really only just because it’s brewed so strong.

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2816 tasting notes

Yum, I love Golden Monkey teas so I was happy to see a 50g bag of this show up with my Yunnan Sourcing dark tea of the month.

I am still trying to wake up after having a deep dish pizza and wine with a friend last night, I think I was in a carbohydrate coma all night and morning. It was so good but I haven’t eaten deep dish in years and what a calorie load.

So on to the tea… I tried steeping this two ways already, both in clay teapots. The first try was Western style in a large pit for 3 minutes. The second try is via gong fu method in a small pot for 45-60 seconds.

Both were good, but I am preferring the shorter steeps as the longer one took on a slight bitterness. This is a great tea to sip on straight as it is not at all tannic or astringent. Very smooth and sweet with the shorter steeps. To me this takes on notes of chocolate and has a slight dark grain note, like that of pumpernickel bread. Honestly I am not getting much fruity or floral from this unless you steep it for a short time, like 10 seconds. Then it begins to take on a bit of a peachy quality. Anyway, this tea seems to be great any steeping time as long as it isn’t oversteeped. I would say do not exceed 2 minutes and you are good to go. ;)

Glad to have this one in my stash. Hoping it will revive me enough that I make it to the gym later today!

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

Sounds really interesting. I’ve seen a lot of “golden monkey” teas but haven’t tried any yet. I hope my experiences with them are as good.


I hope so too! :)

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