Bai Ji Guan


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Bai Ji Guan

Postby Salsero » Jul 12th, '08, 17:10

OK, I've been wondering about Bai Ji Guan -- one of the Wuyi Si Da Ming Cong, sometimes called White Cockscomb or White Rooster Crest or some other unfortunate English formulation. The few offerings I have tried seemed very roasted compared to the printed descriptions I have read, which refer to it as a light Wuyi. I ordered some from TeaCuppa, Jing Tea Shop, and from TeaSpring to compare them side by side. Here they are:

    Image
(click on the photo for a larger image)

Clearly, the TeaCuppa has the p*ss roasted out of it and is therefore a specialty offering of Bai Ji Guan rather than a reprentative average ... just like a roasted Pouchong is not a typical example.

The prices vary quite a bit. The TeaCuppa cost 35¢ per gram and the other two about 55¢ a gram. I didn't get Hou De's 2005 Bai Ji Guan, but it runs 66¢ per gram. At this rate, the 6 fl oz cup of TeaSpring I made semi-western style with 6 grams of leaf cost me $3.24! That's approaching the cost of Starbucks -- course Starbucks doesn't give free refills while a good Yancha will go many steeps. Still, at those prices (and more if you include shipping) I'm not sure I am that interested in tea.

A little over a year ago, I had Hou De's then-current 2004 Bai Ji Guan at 57¢ a gram, the one of which Hobbes said, "drinking this tea is a privilege." My notes suggest that it was fairly roasted and judging by the amount of leaf I managed to squeeze into small vessels, it must have been much more broken than any of these three.

Anyone else have Bai Ji Guan stories to share? I found a great review (as always) by ABx on the TeaSpring site.
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Re: Bai Ji Guan

Postby hop_goblin » Jul 12th, '08, 17:39

Salsero wrote:OK, I've been wondering about Bai Ji Guan -- one of the Wuyi Si Da Ming Cong, sometimes called White Cockscomb or White Rooster Crest or some other unfortunate English formulation. The few offerings I have tried seemed very roasted compared to the printed descriptions I have read, which refer to it as a light Wuyi. I ordered some from TeaCuppa, Jing Tea Shop, and from TeaSpring to compare them side by side. Here they are:

    Image
(click on the photo for a larger image)

Clearly, the TeaCuppa has the p*ss roasted out of it and is therefore a specialty offering of Bai Ji Guan rather than a reprentative average ... just like a roasted Pouchong is not a typical example.

The prices vary quite a bit. The TeaCuppa cost 35¢ per gram and the other two about 55¢ a gram. I didn't get Hou De's 2005 Bai Ji Guan, but it runs 66¢ per gram. At this rate, the 6 fl oz cup of TeaSpring I made semi-western style with 6 grams of leaf cost me $3.24! That's approaching the cost of Starbucks -- course Starbucks doesn't give free refills while a good Yancha will go many steeps. Still, at those prices (and more if you include shipping) I'm not sure I am that interested in tea.

A little over a year ago, I had Hou De's then-current 2004 Bai Ji Guan at 57¢ a gram, the one of which Hobbes said, "drinking this tea is a privilege." My notes suggest that it was fairly roasted and judging by the amount of leaf I managed to squeeze into small vessels, it must have been much more broken than any of these three.

Anyone else have Bai Ji Guan stories to share? I found a great review (as always) by ABx on the TeaSpring site.

I have been studying oolongs more lately and have found it to be somewhat intimidating. But from what I have gathered thus far gives me impression that oolong varities refer more to region and the plant itself. I did a little research on white combes cock and have found out that white combes cock refers to the type of tea plant it is made from. When compared to the others e.g. Da Hong Pao, shui Jin Gui, Tie Luo Han, it is very clear that this particular tea plant is very different from the others. Although the tea plants appear different in nature, they will additionally have differences in color and flavor which can be attributed to the processing itself. Of course you will find subtle differences from plant to plant, at any rate, each farmer or tea producer will determine how and when their product will be processed making each example different from the next.

Jings tea seems to be more on par with what I have researched thus far. For the most part, Bai ji Guan should have the fragrance of mushrooms. Also, from what I have seen of Bai Ji Guan in person and in books, sites, mags, it never appears heavily roasted and they try to exemplify the unique yellowness of the buds which makes Bai Ji Guan different from other Wuyi cha but should still have a degree of roasting to it.
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Postby Space Samurai » Jul 12th, '08, 17:49

This is the only one I've tried, and I can't remember where it came from:

http://anotherteablog.blogspot.com/2008 ... -guan.html

It may have been the Tea Cuppa. Victoria, do you remember?
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Postby Salsero » Jul 12th, '08, 19:01

Space Samurai wrote:This is the only one I've tried, and I can't remember where it came from:

http://anotherteablog.blogspot.com/2008 ... -guan.html

It may have been the Tea Cuppa. Victoria, do you remember?
Looks like TeaCuppa.

Here are the half-spent leaves of the TeaSpring model. They look quite consistent with Hop's research. Very little oxidation evident and an unusual yellow color to the leaf.

    Image

Also, Space, in the comments to your most excellent review, a Mr or Ms Anonymous said:
    Me thinks the leaves look too dark for a Bai Ji
    Guan. Of Wuyi Oolongs, Bai Ji Guan is the one that
    should be the lightest in roasting. It smells almost like
    one or 2 kinds of Provence herbs and very fresh.
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Postby Victoria » Jul 12th, '08, 19:17

Space Samurai wrote:This is the only one I've tried, and I can't remember where it came from:

http://anotherteablog.blogspot.com/2008 ... -guan.html

It may have been the Tea Cuppa. Victoria, do you remember?


Yes, it was the TeaCuppa. Although it is a darker roast, the flavor I thought was very good. I really enjoy this one. I have not tried the other two, but this one I keep in my rotation.
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Re: Bai Ji Guan

Postby chrl42 » Jul 12th, '08, 23:56

hop_goblin wrote:they try to exemplify the unique yellowness of the buds which makes Bai Ji Guan different from other Wuyi cha

Indeed, and that reminds me An Ji Bai Cha - green tea from Anhui province, sources tell me that they are in fact mutant trees that are born with lighter leaves and contain twice more of amino acid, polyphenol than normal tea leaves.


Image
Bai Ji Guan

Image
An Ji Bai Cha

Image
normal Wuyi teas (tie luo han)

I've found Bai Ji Guan tend to be 'absurdly' expensive than other Si Da Ming Cong (An Ji Bai Cha, too) due to rarity of species, and even faking those teas is hard..
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Postby Salsero » Jul 13th, '08, 00:42

Wow, Charl42, thanks for this hard info and the great pix.
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Postby hop_goblin » Jul 13th, '08, 18:55

Yes, it is expensive. I guess what one should look out for is a slight yellow ting, never heavily roasted and when the leaves are wet, there are "teeth" on the sides of the blades of the leaf. Also, some vendors try to pass off cheaper wuyi cha as Bai Guan.
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just my 2 cents worth.

Postby orguz » Jul 13th, '08, 20:37

I read abou bai ji guan in this cha dao blog dated june of 2007 scroll down to the pictures where you'll see a photograph of how yellow the spent leafs were. Read his article on bai ji guan only 40 to 50 lbs harvested each year. I think most of which is reserved for the domestic market. What is exported probably is not the real mccoy.

http://chadao.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html
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Re: just my 2 cents worth.

Postby Salsero » Jul 13th, '08, 21:11

orguz wrote:I read abou bai ji guan in this cha dao blog dated june of 2007 scroll down to the pictures where you'll see a photograph of how yellow the spent leafs were. Read his article on bai ji guan only 40 to 50 lbs harvested each year. I think most of which is reserved for the domestic market. What is exported probably is not the real mccoy.

http://chadao.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html
Thanks for the link. those are much more yellow and much more oxidized than the TeaSpring leaves in my photo. The actual leaves may be a bit more yellow than the photo, but nothing like the Cha Dao leaves.

Thanks. You've got quite a memory! I think I read this post last year, but I had completely forgotten about it.
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