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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TeaCuppa Bai Ji Guan

So much for updating more often, Christmas was a long process consisting of relatives visiting and small cousins (children and teapots do not mix well). Alas, my tea drinking has gone through a bit of a dry spell. On top of that, I have some disheartening news. Apparently yixing teapots dedicated to Dan Cong should be as thin as possible, contradicting the thick and heavy theory I had embraced beforehand. Thus, my heavy and stout hei ni teapot dedicated to Dan Cong has been wasted. Luckily though, heavily roasted Dan Cong are an exception so it's not a complete waste.

So this week I decided to sample some Bai Ji Guan, a type of Wuyi tea. The name literally translate to White Cockscomb, and it has a very interesting history to the name. But first, what is cockscomb? Well, it's the little red thingy on top of the rooster's head. According to legend, the name was given by a monk in honor of a rooster who died defending his baby from an eagle. The monk was so touched that he buried the rooster there, and from that spot a tea bush grew. It's also a Si Da Ming Cong, or one of the four famous wuyi tea types.

This particular tea lived up to the expectations that I had, from what I knew/read about Bai Ji Guan before. The dry leaf has a semisweet chocolate aroma, with a little fruitiness. It's not too clear from the photo, but the leaves are yellowish, typical of Bai Ji Guan. There is a faint honey-like taste to the tea, with a slight toasted flavor, very reminiscent of the burnt rice you find at the bottom of Bibimbap. As the steepings continue I notice a lingering mellow fruitiness.There is a nice copper color to the tea, which I like very much. Overall, it's a very mild tea, with a nice finish.

I think compared to the other Wuyi I've tasted this one stands out the most for its sweet, toasted taste. I'm a little bummed at how expensive Bai Ji Guan is, which is also attributed to the fact that this tea isn't as big as the other Wuyi types. At Seven Cups the 2007 harvest goes for $38 for 25 grams. I don't know when I'll get the chance to sample that. Luckily the version at TeaCuppa was a much nicer bargain, and although people say that the TeaCuppa version is not that great, the price speaks for itself.


Bryan said...

Hello, I love your blog.

I also see you're a fellow teachatter! I'm basically just popping in to say hi and tell you I'm adding you to my blog list on my site.

Austin said...

I'd be happy to send you enough to try if you let me know how. Bai Ji Guan is certainly the rarest of the rock oolongs and has an extremely limited harvest window, and is the most unstable, as well as the trickiest to make, which pushes the price high. There were only a few kilos available to us this year. It is one of the teas we carry just for the rare enthusiast. (and for myself)

Maitre_Tea said...

Thank you Austin, that would be wonderful!. Do you have a Tea Blog, or are you a vendor, or are you a fellow tea chatter?

I'll send you my address (do you have an email address I can reach you at), because I'm at home right now but I'm going back to school soon, so I'll probably ask for that sample in a week or so. Thanks so much, I really liked the Bai Ji Guan I tried, and would welcome the opportunity to sample another for comparison

Brent said...

Nice post. I've never been a big fan of Bai Ji Guan, but maybe I just haven't tried anything good yet. :)


Austin said...

Sorry, I lost track of this thread during the holidays. I am the founder of Seven Cups. You can contact me through our site.