Saturday, January 21, 2012

Teavivre, Bailin Gongfu Black Tea (Bai Lin Gong Fu) - Fujian

This sample is one of 15 provided by Teavivre, a tea distributor located in China.

I haven’t even tasted this yet and I am loving it. I used half of one of the 4 sample packets. The dry leaf looks small but smells amazing. First, I noticed malt. As I waited for the water to heat, I keep wondering where is that chocolate scent coming from? Oh yeah, it’s the tea. Steeped 2 minutes (increasing on later steeps) with below boiling water per instructions furnished on the sample label. The brew has a slight caramel aroma and is a deep reddish golden color. The wet leaf has a bit of a coffee edge and swollen leaf reveals small broken pieces.

I tried this without sweetener and thought is was a bit beige. So as is my custom, I used sweetener. Now the sip is what I would classify as medium bodied. You don’t have to work at tasting it, but it doesn’t grab you by the throat and kick your teeth in either. Nice. Smooth caramel taste, lightly malt, and creamy. The aftertaste lingers without being offensive. A civilized cup for when you have the time to enjoy it. Three infusions from the leaves.

I don’t normally drink a lot of straight black hot tea. This is my third black from Teavivre. These teas are really winning me over. I honestly didn’t know a black tea could have this much depth. Only problem is my cup keeps going empty! Very nice tea.

Revisit - Had this with sour dough bread today. I was a little concerned the tastes were too similar but it turned out to be a good combination. The wet leaf brought to mind cocoa, or bakers chocolate, heating on the stove. The bread enhanced tasting notes I hadn’t caught before. The main being a cucumber taste. Under that was a sweet fruity something that I couldn’t place but made me think of jelly – kind of went with the whole bread thing I guess. As the cup cooled the malt became more pronounced. The aftertaste pleasantly lingers. There is also a dry mouth feel with this combination. An exceptionally good tea.

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