185 Tasting Notes
This tea is quite amazing. It’s also kind of strange. Let me explain.
Missy made a batch of this in one of our 64 oz Takeya pitchers (which I’ve highly recommended elsewhere, and will recommend again!) yesterday. The normal method of brewing it hot for three minutes in a pitcher full of hot water, adding some sugar, and tossing it in the fridge. Today, we drink!
I take a drink of it today, and WOW does it taste like cotton candy! Not just sugar, but honest to goodness spun sugar, with a little bit of caramelized sugar flavor in there. Behind that, way in the distance, I could taste a little bit of the tea base.
However, once it warmed up a smidge, still well under room temperature, but no longer fridge cold, the cotton candy toned down a bit and that smooth tea base had a chance to shine a little more. I don’t know if that trend would continue the warmer it got, and I never really tried the Cotton Candy black tea.
So anyway, that’s what I’d say. If you want super-in-your-face cotton candy flavor, do yourself a favor and put a mug in the freezer, and pour this tea into it. If you want a more melded experience with the black tea, pour it into a normal cup and wait until it’s ~50 degrees before you drink (anecdotal, made up number based on the fact that my fridge sits at about 40 degrees).
And that’s in Fahrenheit! So no getting confused and heating your iced tea to a sweaty 50 centigrade, blech!
Just a quick note on this one -
Missy brewed this side by side for us to taste against Teavivre’s Yun Nan Golden Tip. There is no discernible difference between the two. So, for any fans of this teas flavor profile, as opposed to the cute presentation, that tea would be a viable alternative.
Click here for the skinny:
As part of our ‘try every black that Teavivre has’ thing, we also were hoping that this Golden Tip was going to be a replacement for the discontinued Teavana tarantula tea that we had picked a couple packs of when they discontinued it.
Side by side, I cannot make a distinguishing difference between this and Teavana’s Golden Imperial Lotus (though, obviously, it’s not held together by a string in a round formation).
The tea is smooth, but with a very rich, malty flavor to it. There is a sweet, caramel undertone that really finishes off the taste. It doesn’t feel quite as thick on the tongue as say the Bailin Gong Fu, but it still has quite a bit of weight to it. It’s a very, very enjoyable black tea.
We’re definitely going to keep this one around, me thinks.
The other side of the coin, yet again my friends!
The full leaf yunnan brews into a notably lighter colored beverage than the ‘standard’ black tea (now referred to as half-full). To match, the flavor is lighter as well. Less bold than the half-full, it still has some of the same maltiness, but where the half-full leaf ends in a very apparent smoky finish, this has a light fruitiness at the end of the sip. A little sweet, somewhat indecipherable flavor that kind of creeps in while you’re drinking.
A little less economical, at about $3/oz, but could be preferable to folks that like more refinement and subtlety from their tea. We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz), so I’m not entirely sure how that would change the character.
I can’t really pick a clear winner between the two, they’re just different.
Continuing on with Teavivre Black Tea today… Yunnan! It’s like we’re taking a tour of Chinese tea, ha!
I did order a sample of basically every black tea they had at the time (they’ve added two since). It’s great of them to offer samples so you can get a good sweeping view of their product line.
This is the Black Tea, the most economically priced yunnan black they have, at a little less than $2 an ounce. The flavor is bold and malty, with a hint of smokiness to it. Not a lapsang, and probably not as strong as the keemun I tried from Teavivre, but there’s definitely smokiness to it (which surprised me a bit).
Compared to the yunnan full leaf that Missy brewed next to this one, there are striking differences. This tea is bold and malty, where the full leaf is refined and mellow. It is definitely an interesting comparison.
We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz). Made the flavor pop out good and strong for comparison ;)
Oh, the winner? Hrmm… hard to say. They’re just different.
The other end of the epic taste-off between Bailin Gongfu and Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Much like the non-organic version, this tea is very malty, with a decidedly grainy flavor and texture. It has a slightly more pronounced caramel flavor that develops into a little more chocolate-y of a flavor with a teensy bit of sugar added. It’s an absolutely delightful, earthy experience similar to a very stout, dark beer.
Compared to the non-organic BGF, I find the organic version to be a bit bolder and more flavorful, but at the cost of some of the fantastic smoothness. It’s stronger, earthier, and a bit heartier.
So who wins? It’s a very close call, but I’d choose the non-organic for myself. I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
So, in honor of receiving our Teavivre packages yesterday… we’re having our first taste-off! Bailin Gongfu vs. Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Henceforth, references to this tea will be abbreviated to BGF. Act like you know ;)
This tea is malty and smooth, a very grainy flavor and texture. Beneath it all is a caramelly sweetness, and when you add a little bit of sugar it develops into an almost chocolate kind of flavor. This remarkably interesting flavor combination only reaffirms my association of this to a good, dark beer. It’s earthy, and delightful.
So how does it compare to the Organic BGF? Well, to anyone that has drank this tea before, this isn’t going to make any sense… but the non-organic version is… more subtle. The flavor, as deep and rich as it is, pales a little bit in comparison to the Organic BGF.
However, this strength comes at the price of smoothness. The stronger, earthier organic version lacks a teensy bit of that polished, malty smoothness that the BGF has.
So, I think the blue ribbon goes to the non-organic version. As a daily drinker kind of tea, I’d choose the non-organic for myself. But, I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
Holy puckered fishface Batman!
This should come with a warning to not drink after dental work. This thing is wicked tart. I am, on occasion, very partial to sour candy. This, on occasion, could be a replacement for a good warhead or lemondrop. I’m also curious about getting a handful of these and making some iced tea out of it with 37 cups of sugar. It would be a very refreshing lime-aid tisane (which they spell teasan?), I’m pretty sure.
It also has a strangely dry, peppery smell to it. This must be the eponymous ‘desert’.
Proceed with caution, my unpuckered friends.