This slender, curled and slightly twisted, tippy black tea from Fujian Province in eastern China is classified as a gong fu tea: which is, tea that has been skillfully made and exhibits excellent crafting. This particular leaf is a Gong Fu Grade AA, so features large, late-spring plucked leaf that provides the abundant sweetness of an earlier pluck without the astringency often found in mature, later-spring plucks. Because of the early spring this year, this large-leaf Bai Lin is a stunner and breaks most of the traditional assumptions regarding the flavor profiles of the various spring plucks.
Bai Lin tea that is of this excellent quality is extremely difficult to procure. We here at Tea Trekker have been tasting samples of Bai Lin for many, many years, and because of our reliable sources are able to find supplies that are to our standards, hoping to have better and better tea every year (which is quite difficult after a certain level of quality has been attained!). For 2021 we are again happy to offer two very different Bai Lin teas: this incredible version that has very little contrasting tip, from the late spring of 2021 and our selection of a tippy Bai Lin tea, the 2021 Extra-Tippy. If you are not familiar with Bai Lin tea you should make it a point to try these while they are available. And, there is double happiness in the news that the price for both of these excellent teas continues to be very reasonable.
This is a Chinese black tea for tea enthusiasts who enjoy the style of fruity black teas, Yunnan old tea bush varietals, and slightly malty, estate-grown Assams. Bai Lin has the soft-flavor profile and underlying sweetness that is characteristic of only a few premium Chinese black teas. This generally soft, full-bodied tea also has a bit of pull and astringency, which gives it a soft, full-bodied, and slightly ‘chewy’ mouthfeel and bright, clear flavor. The aroma offers clarity, but with a raisin-y, cocoa-y complexity that makes it hard to pin-point as to what tastes will follow in the cup.
The tea producing town of Hu Lin makes old-style black teas that are processed in a similar fashion to our Golden Monkey teas from the neighboring town of Panyang. This was one of the first regions to make black tea back in the 17th century, and several of the other teas from this small region have gone out of production due to Fujian’s need to increase production of oolong and white tea.
Sip it neat (plain) and you should find that no milk or sugar is needed. However, if you add your usual accompaniments, that will be fine too.