Review: Teavivre Bailin Gongfu Black Tea

Black Tea, Teavivre Add comments
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Nothing like a black tea. Needs lower brewing temperatures and lacks briskness."
CJ’s Teaview: 5.5/10
Other Teaviews: Dan gave it 9.8/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10, Jamie gave it 7.5/10, Raven gave it 9.1/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »
I should have liked this tea more.  It is one of the most prized black teas on the market; picked, processed, and brewed with the utmost care.

I'm no Chinese expert, but from what I gathered on various tea and language sites, "gong fu" translates into "effort" or "care".  In other words, the very name of this tea indicates that its difficult to prepare.  So I followed instructions and worked extra hard to unearth the charms of this cha.   I brewed it three times, three different ways.  None of them produced a flavor that I would consider a true  black tea.

"Bai Lin Gongfu is a completely oxidised black tea.  It is a “gongfu” (or “congou”) type of black tea, which indicates that it is hand crafted, with the leaf buds being twisted into thin, tight strips without them being broken.  When dry, the tea has a sweet, caramel like scent and has a mix of black and golden-orange “pekoe” coloured leaf buds," reported Teavivre's website.

I smelled chocolate, and a bit of bitterness.  Because it was labeled black tea, I brewed a teaspoon per cup in boiling water.  The taste was a bit bitter, and I was going to give the tea a lower rating because of it.  But then I went to the Teavivre website, which told me to brew in 185 degrees...more of an oolong temperature.  So I tried it.

Sure enough, the bitterness disappeared.  What remained, though, was a bit too flat for my palate.  It tasted sweet at first, but finished a tad sour, with no interesting flavors in between.  It left my mouth feeling stale-an unusual sensation after a cup of tea.

I confess, I liked the bitter version better.  It had more of a bite to it, and I like my tea with teeth.  I brewed it again at the lower temperature, adding  an extra teaspoon to the pot.  I hoped this would add the robustness I crave in a black tea, to no avail.  Still, the brew was flat and uninteresting.  Not that it was bad.  It had a nuttiness, like raw almonds.

But in this case, I found the result not quite worth the effort.  I rate it a 5.5.

— To purchase Teavivre Bailin Gongfu Black Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: CJ CJ
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