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For my final review of the day, I’m going to dip a little further into the backlog than I did with my last two reviews and look back to my last sipdown of October. The Classic Bai Lin Gong Fu Black tea of Fuding is always one of Yunnan Sourcing’s regular offerings that I look forward to every year, primarily due to it almost always providing a great drinking experience. This spring 2018 offering proved to be no exception. It was a fantastic Fujian black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. For my review session, I set the water temperature at 194 F and neither raised nor lowered it over the course of the session. After quickly rinsing the loose tea leaves, I started off with a 5 second infusion. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, cinnamon, baked bread, cedar, chocolate, and raisin. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first proper infusion introduced aromas of honey and sweet potato. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented me with notes of malt, chocolate, cedar, cream, baked bread, and sweet potato that were balanced by subtler impressions of roasted almond, roasted peanut, raisin, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, brown sugar, earth, plum, butter, grass, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth alongside earth, orange zest, mineral, vanilla, butter, and roasted walnut impressions. I also detected hints of plum, pear, smoke, red apple, green bell pepper, and grass. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, cream, malt, earth, and roasted almond that were chased by lingering brown sugar, honey, grass, vanilla, roasted peanut, chocolate, and raisin hints.

This was a very smooth, sophisticated Fujian black tea that remained very approachable despite its complexity and depth. It also displayed tremendous longevity in a fairly extended drinking session. Since Yunnan Sourcing has batted 1.000 with offerings of this type, and this one did not buck that trend, I fully expect that the two most recent productions of this tea were also more or less just as good as this one. If you happen to be looking for a great and versatile Chinese black tea that is both easy and fun to drink, look no further.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Martin Bednář

I am always saying to myself it must be curious to meet you in person and listening to you how you notice all those notes. It’s amazing as always and it is always a pleasure to read them. Thank you for your amazing job.

eastkyteaguy

Thank you, but I assure you I am a very boring person. There are way more interesting people out there to meet.

Martin Bednář

Well, you know, I am boring as well. Maybe you don’t think so, based on my tasting notes. We all are kind of boring :)

Leafhopper

I think I got the spring 2019 version of this tea based on your recommendation. I’m glad to know its 2018 sibling is promising. I had a lackluster experience with the imperial version of this tea, which I thought tasted a lot like a generic teabag, but that was several years ago when I was less experienced.

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Comments

Martin Bednář

I am always saying to myself it must be curious to meet you in person and listening to you how you notice all those notes. It’s amazing as always and it is always a pleasure to read them. Thank you for your amazing job.

eastkyteaguy

Thank you, but I assure you I am a very boring person. There are way more interesting people out there to meet.

Martin Bednář

Well, you know, I am boring as well. Maybe you don’t think so, based on my tasting notes. We all are kind of boring :)

Leafhopper

I think I got the spring 2019 version of this tea based on your recommendation. I’m glad to know its 2018 sibling is promising. I had a lackluster experience with the imperial version of this tea, which I thought tasted a lot like a generic teabag, but that was several years ago when I was less experienced.

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Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

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