Bai Lin Kung Fu Red Tea from Shang Tea


Classic_Red_TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Shang Tea

Tea Description:

Hearty and flavorful, this brew has a complex flavor, crisp finish, and a deep traditional red tea hue. This tea is harvested from a white tea plant, which offers a smooth finish to a fermented tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

OH what a lovely tea this is!  So rich and flavorful – robust and truly … amazing!

I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this Bai Lin Kung Fu Red Tea from Shang Tea because I’ve tried several teas from this company in the past and enjoyed every single one of them.  I have come to associate the name “Shang Tea” with teas of extraordinary quality.  And this tea is no exception!

The flavor is sweet, reminiscent of sweet-tart plums with smooth, chocolate-y overtones.  And then I notice a sweet, honey-esque tone, but not so much a flowery honey … more like a honey that has been cooked down into a caramel.  It has a deep, concentrated sweetness.  And there are notes of wood in the background, with a hint of smoke.  As the tea cools, the smoky tones seem to diminish somewhat as the fruit tones seem to emerge.

A delicious and vigorous tea – one that has enough gusto to get one going in the morning … I find this one also makes a great afternoon tea.  This Bai Lin Kung Fu Red Tea from Shang Tea reminds me very much of the dearly “departed” tea – Dawn from the Simple Leaf.  Those of you who have been fortunate enough to taste this tea know just how special it was and why I call it a dearly departed tea.  For those of you who miss Dawn as much as I do, I recommend trying this one … you might find the loss a bit easier to bear!

Bai Lin Gong Fu Black Tea from Canton Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Other names: Golden Needle Congou, Bai Lin Jin Zhen Congou, Ju Hong

One of the earliest Chinese black teas ever to be produced, this Bai Lin Gong Fu is made from young wild white tea buds, twisted into tight elegant gold-streaked curls. The liquor is reddish-brown and has a full-bodied, robust flavour with distinct notes of caramel. This is a wonderful example of whole leaf black tea. It it is a glorious breakfast tea and very reasonably priced for a tea of this calibre. An everyday affordable luxury.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually steep black teas in my gaiwan, mostly because the porcelain gaiwan gets very hot, very quickly and I don’t want to burn my fingertips when I try to pour the tea from my gaiwan.  However, for this particular tea, I decided to make an exception.  I brought the water to a slightly lower temperature (195°F instead of boiling) and infused for one minute for the first infusion, adding 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  What I have now in the cup sitting in front of me is the combination of the first two infusions.

At first, I wondered if one minute would be long enough, but, as it turns out, the tea tastes incredible after steeping for just one minute, so I am glad I decided not to steep it longer.  The flavor is rich and robust and has the most delightful caramel-y undertone to it.  Earthy and a little biscuit-y, this tea is very full-flavored and has a nice, rounded taste to it.  Very enjoyable, indeed!

After sipping on this for a little while, I start to notice some spice notes emerging.  Not strong or what I’d consider spicy, really, but hints of pepper sit off in the background, providing some interest for the palate.  Subsequent infusions provided a smoother taste and texture.  I noticed some fruit-like tastes in the background by infusions three and four.  Still earthy and bold in flavor, the flavors are becoming more unified now.

A truly glorious black tea – bold and invigorating enough to start the day, as well as make a very welcome pick-me-up towards mid-afternoon.  This is lovely!