Editor’s note: This review is a guest post by Brett of Black Dragon Tea Bar blog.
When my friend and business partner Cinnabar asked me if I wouldn’t mind reviewing Canton Tea Company‘s Superior Bai Lin Gongfu (白琳工夫) red tea I was quick to say yes. Phoenix Tea has been selling a selection of great teas from this company for a year now (not including this particular tea) and I’ve yet to try one that I didn’t love.
On Valentines Day, my wife Alanna and I chose the Superior Bailin Gongfu for our morning brew. I used a small gaiwan with a slightly rounded teaspoon of leaf. These beautifully twisted dry leaves consist mainly of fuzzy golden buds with occasional flecks of brown, black and coppery colors. They have a sweet, piquant aroma that is bright and spirited.
After a 2 minute infusion with ~190° F water, the liquor pours orange and fragrant. There is an interesting cloudiness swirling about the brew and a sunny yellow halo around the rim of the teacup.
We spend some time analyzing the complex aroma while taking our first sips. This tea’s color, aroma and abundance of gold tips lead me to anticipate a brisk black tea with an emphasis on the high-notes. But it turns out to be deceptive. Instead the flavor comes through with velvety smooth caramel, cacao and rosewater notes. This tea is perfect for Valentines Day. The second infusion is just as amazing as the first with delicate fruity, raisin-like flavors mixing with the caramels. Infusions 3 through 5 (our last) found the brighter aspects of the tea pushed to center stage. Little hints of citrus we’re even detected in these infusions especially as the liquor cooled. This tea may be too smooth (if that’s even possible) for some people… but we really loved it.