Review of Classic Bai Lin Gong Fu "Golden Monkey" Black tea of Fuding

8 of 105 of 55 of 591 of 100

This was the first tea I bought from Yunnan Sourcing that was not actually grown in Yunnan province. I was a bit reluctant to order it, but also curious, because this company has been so consistently good at everything they sell, both in terms of price and quality. This tea turned out to be a little less interesting than their other offerings, but just as enjoyable.

Dry leaf is really intensely malty, with a faint hint of dried fruit, and mild toasty notes. The smell is rich and suggests a warming tea that would be good for cold mornings. It was funny trying this alongside all the Yunnan teas; the leaf is so incredibly fine, taking up much less space per weight. It's beautiful too, intensely curly and wiry, with a mix of bright orange and darker colors. The photos on Yunnan Sourcing's website capture EXACTLY what it looks like, and this is something I love about this company; their presentation of the teas is consistently honest.

Produces a cup that is really rich and thick, but smooth. The cup is not as aromatic as I expected from the leaf: it's mild, only weakly malty, but there are more dried fruit notes, and it's almost a little nutty. There are also hints of crayons, and a sort of muted burned note. Flavor is mild, quite sweet, only faintly bitter, but also savory. There is a moderate astringency that appears mid-sip but diminishes by the end, leaving this tea to feel full-bodied but soft.

So warming, it's like snuggling up in a blanket.

Easy to brew, and easy to drink. This tea was forgiving both of leaf quantity and steep time. Brewed mildly, the sweetness comes out more and the cup tastes as if it had been sweetened with honey, although it can get a little syrupy. Brewed stronger, the tea is more full-bodied but never harsh.

I like how I feel after drinking this one. It's not a wake-you-up tea, and didn't feel very caffeinated, but it felt very calming.

My only possible complaint about this tea is that it was a little boring, especially alongside all the other teas from Yunnan. Yunnan teas are weird and different, and I like that; each one tastes unique. This tea was subdued and refined. It was a little bit like a good German beer amongst a bunch of good American micro-brews.

Very reasonable price though. The only tea of this type that I thought was better, also cost a lot more. This tea was cheaper than a lot of teas that I thought were not as good!

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