For my final review of the day, I’m going to dip a little further into the backlog than I did with my last two reviews and look back to my last sipdown of October. The Classic Bai Lin Gong Fu Black tea of Fuding is always one of Yunnan Sourcing’s regular offerings that I look forward to every year, primarily due to it almost always providing a great drinking experience. This spring 2018 offering proved to be no exception. It was a fantastic Fujian black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. For my review session, I set the water temperature at 194 F and neither raised nor lowered it over the course of the session. After quickly rinsing the loose tea leaves, I started off with a 5 second infusion. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, cinnamon, baked bread, cedar, chocolate, and raisin. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first proper infusion introduced aromas of honey and sweet potato. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented me with notes of malt, chocolate, cedar, cream, baked bread, and sweet potato that were balanced by subtler impressions of roasted almond, roasted peanut, raisin, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, brown sugar, earth, plum, butter, grass, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth alongside earth, orange zest, mineral, vanilla, butter, and roasted walnut impressions. I also detected hints of plum, pear, smoke, red apple, green bell pepper, and grass. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, cream, malt, earth, and roasted almond that were chased by lingering brown sugar, honey, grass, vanilla, roasted peanut, chocolate, and raisin hints.
This was a very smooth, sophisticated Fujian black tea that remained very approachable despite its complexity and depth. It also displayed tremendous longevity in a fairly extended drinking session. Since Yunnan Sourcing has batted 1.000 with offerings of this type, and this one did not buck that trend, I fully expect that the two most recent productions of this tea were also more or less just as good as this one. If you happen to be looking for a great and versatile Chinese black tea that is both easy and fun to drink, look no further.
Flavors: Almond, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Walnut