Review: Canton Tea Co. Superior Bai Lin Gong Fu

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co. Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I'm gonna have to side with the lesser maiden this time 'round - only by a hair, though - and that doesn't discount how excellent this was."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.7/10
Other Teaviews: Dan gave it 9.6/10
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Canton Tea Co. mentioned that they brought this tea back into circulation due to repeated requests from friends and customers. It was a Fujian province-grown black tea; a fully-oxidized offering that was made from the same leaf varietal used for white teas such as Fuding-borne Silver Needle. Canton's headman even teased me with having this black tea in his possession, going so far as to say that it far surpassed their normal Bai Lin Gong Fu (which I loved).

I invented a new adage when judging good Chinese black teas: "The more gold in the batch, the better." I had wondered how they could top the normal Bai Lin Gong Fu...and now I know the answer. They made it pure gold. This batch was all buds, like a Yunnan Jin Cha but smaller and curled. The peppery, honey-sweet smell was also there.

Canton Tea recommended a brewing temp of about 176F (80C) with a two-minute infusion. None of that sounded right. Sure, it seemed like a delicate brew, but I believed it could take more - just like the regular Bai Lin. I went a full 195(-ish?)F degrees and practically a four-minute steep.

The liquor was bordering on burly red but still maintained a lightness of character to it. The scent was all sweetness with a malty follow-up. The taste was just as excellent as regular Bai Lin Gong Fu, except for one key difference. It was a much lighter, more subtle taste - likely a trait imparted by the leafy contents being so young. All the excellent earthy sweetness was there, but it also possessed flutteriness that demanded attention. Not exactly floral, but flirting with flowers.

I'm hard-pressed to say this was better than the regular Bai Lin Gong Fu. That one had all the earthiness of a Yunnan Dian Hong and much of the sweetness of a Keemun. I adored it to death. This was a more nuanced cup but also softer on the tongue. One would think - given my prediliction for lighter, high altitude black teas and white teas - that this would be a clear favorite. I'm gonna have to side with the lesser maiden this time 'round - only by a hair, though - and that doesn't discount how excellent this was. Try both and see what you think.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Superior Bai Lin Gong Fu, 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.

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