Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Teavivre: Bailin Gongfu Black Tea, A Tea Review

Today was a Minecraft sorta day. I woke up not feeling the best (copious amounts of tea later and I feel a bit better) and decided to devote my time to the craft of the Mine. Ben and I devised some malicious traps and I set up a new farm, good times.

For today's Teavivre tea, we are looking to Fujian, for a famous Fujian Red (or black) tea. Bailin Gongfu named after the region of Fujian it is grown and the fact that it is made with great skill. These specific leaves are from Mt. Taimu, harvested April 25th, 2013. The aroma is strong, blending roasted peanuts and sweet potatoes. It is not very sweet, but it is very rich, the leaves have body and depth. Sniffing them certainly will make you pay attention!

The wet leaves smell very similar to their dry counterparts, a nice blend of roasted peanuts and sweet 'taters (I am Southern, taters is what we eat, Precious) but with a faintly sweet cocoa finish. Key word is faint, the tea still very much so is not a sweet smelling tea. The liquid, on the other hand, is very sweet, blending stewed plums and sweet potatoes with a gentle touch of cocoa. Still very rich and quite tantalizing.

Rich is certainly the catchphrase with this tea, because upon first sip I was struck with richness. It has a boldness that I usually associate with Indian teas, but with all the subtleties and sweetness you expect from a Fujian Red. The taste starts with stewed plums and sweetness then fades into roasted peanuts and cocoa. There is a delightful finish of sweet potatoes that adds to the richness.

The aroma of the second steep is no longer just stewed plums, but rich dark cherries as well as a hint of sweet potato. The taste is very sweet, a mix of fruity and sweet potato (or maybe yams, not too sure I can tell the difference) with a bold finish of cocoa and roasted nuts. I really enjoy how it starts delicate and sweet and fades to a bold presence.

The third and final steep I have notes one starts off with the same stewed plum and dark cherry aroma, but instead of sweet potato there is cocoa. Holy Batman this tea is rich, this steep really brought out this tea's true colors. It starts malty and rich with a strong flavor of roasted peanuts. For its next trick it fades to intense sweetness, it is a fruity sweetness that blooms in your mouth, flooding it with rich cooked stone fruit. There is a surprising floral finish that was hard to pin down, it is more the idea of flowers and not really the taste. Perhaps this tea dreamed of flowers. Something odd happened, I remember drinking more of this tea but there are no notes in my notebook. I am pretty sure this tea hypnotized me and made me a bit tea drunk.

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