Golden Needle Congou, Bai Lin Jin Zhen Congou
Bai Lin Gong Fu tea is skillfully hand-made specialty black tea from Fujian, China and the taste and liquor reflect the delicate, artisan skills involved in the production.
One day on the top of Taimu mountain, in the Fujian province, while the wise tea master Lao Cha was sipping his tea, he said to his student monk:
— To achieve such flavor from a tea is so difficult, that this tea will become extremely rare, but the value will only become higher. This tea will honor all of China! Not a word is to be uttered of this secret recipe.
History of Bai Lin Gong Fu Black Tea
The history of Bai Lin Gong Fu black tea is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The earliest documentation of Bai Lin Gong Fu black tea is in the “WuYi” historical document, written in 1851 in Fujian by a Chinese scholar, Dong Tiangong. In his document, he recorded “Gong Fu” (sometimes written as “Congou”) as the name of a type of black tea produced in the Mt. Taimu area in Fujian, indicating that this tea was being produced in the area at that time. It is very different from the machine-made black teas. Bai Lin refers to the village around which this tea is grown, and Gong Fu means roughly ‘Great Skill’ referring to the skill required to make this tea. Bai Lin is one of three famous Gong Fu teas produced in the Zheng He district. Gong Fu is also used to describe a special way of making tea, using a small infuser with many leaves and making multiple infusions.
Where is this Bai Lin Gong Fu Black tea produced?
It is a handmade, whole leaf black tea and is produced in small quantities by farmers in Zheng He County, in the Fujian Province of China. This tropical mountainous coastal area is perfect for growing teas. The area has an abundant rainfall, with many misty days in spring, and temperatures that are neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. The mountains around the farms are more than 80% forested, ensuring the soil has a high natural fertility and organic content, removing the need to use fertilizers Bai Lin Gong Fu is very rare, especially compared to machine-made black teas. Although it is rare and hard to find, it is surprisingly inexpensive.
Like many lesser-known fine Chinese teas, Bai Lin Gong Fu is a hidden gem. Mostly this is because it is produced in relatively small quantities and domestic demand for it is so strong. Only small, specialist tea companies can get hold of it.
The mass-market production and export of black tea from Sri Lanka, India and Africa all but destroyed demand for traditional whole leaf black teas from China. Although they remain popular within China, Chinese black teas have often been overlooked by international tea connoisseurs, who have historically favored green teas, white teas, and oolongs. But over the past few years, fine black teas such as Bai Lin Gong Fu have been growing in popularity in Europe and elsewhere.
It tastes quite unlike commercial black teas, which are usually processed in a method known as Crush, Tear and Curl (CTC) to produce heavy, tannic flavors. CTC teas make up about 95 percent of the black tea produced in the world. They undergo rapid and intense oxidation whereby the fresh leaves can be processed into finished black tea within an hour or so. Traditional Chinese black teas like Bai Lin Gong Fu are oxidized slowly to create more complex and subtle flavors.