If you find a good TGY, it’s a keeper. Good Tie Guan Yins are very hard to come across. This is because with TGY, and basically any Chinese oolongs in general; there are so many steps to perfect the tea. Even if 9 out of the 10 steps involved are superbly done, if the last step is lacking or not good, the tea can easily become bad and not delicious anymore. Also, there is so much demand for TGY in the market, and so finding a top grade TGY is very difficult. In China, the word Tie Guan Yin is so famous, and is very classic. Even if the person doesn’t drink tea, they would at least recognize the name of this tea, “Iron Kwan Yin.”
Last week, I decided to try another Mei Leaf tea, and I didn’t expect this TGY to blow my mind to this extent. I really really enjoyed this one. This is some information given by Don about this tea.
“This is a very famous Chinese tea and it is in huge demand which inevitably means that it is produced in large quantities with big differences in quality and styles. Our Qing Xiang Tie Guan Yin is true Anxi Iron Goddess made in the modern Light Qing Xiang style.”
“Traditional Tie Guan Yin (Chuan Tong) is oxidised more and at room temperature, whereas the more modern light Tie Guan Yin (Qing Xiang) borrows the more Taiwanese approach of cold room withering and lower oxidation. This is why modern Tie Guan Yin tends to have a more flowery and rich aroma compared with the thicker texture traditional tea.” Mr. Don Mei
Basic info about this special tea:
- 2017 Autumn Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin
- Guan Yin Cultivar
- Up to third or fourth leaf picking
- 600 m
- From Chang Keng Village, Anxi, Fujian China
Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel (120 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 15 to 20 sec depending after infusion 3)
Number of Total Steepings: 12 infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Fresh, spring, lily orchid, grassy, layers of cream and florals.
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Honeydew melon sweetness, grassy, but not really eggy. Very clean, fresh yet creamy smelling.
Taste Profile: See Below
Texture Profile: medium to medium thick
Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling sensation towards the back of the mouth, watering huigan.
Price: 6.67 dollars/8 grams
Rating 8.5 out of 10.
The moment I placed this tea inside the hot gaiwan, I knew I was in for a treat. The tea, smelt so divine. So much going on– that my explanation won’t be able to tell you how much it can offer you. Not only was it grassy, but incredibly floral, creamy, and somewhat nutty. There was a thickness in the smell as well. Not just sweet, but dense and rich.
The first infusion was grassy, but yet also floral. The florals were like gardenia, and flowers that smell quite green yet sweet. Some jasmine, lilies, and very green florals. After you swallow, the creaminess will spread in your mouth, and the tea coats the mouth evenly.
Second and third infusions: Grassy, and creamy like butternut squash wrapped in unsweetened honeydew sauce. Clear, crisp and clean.
Fourth and fifth brew: Sweeter, nuttier and creamier. More and more of creaminess coming out through each infusion. Very minimal astringency, no bitterness. Some green apple notes detectable.
Sixth to eighth brew : Nothing much has changed in taste wise, but in fact getting better. Sweeter, rounder, and has shifted from being veggie like to honey like.
Ninth to Eleventh: Finally, the banana comes. When I breathe out, the notes of honeydew and banana are present. Very fragrant.
Twelveth: The tea has almost no taste left, but the water tastes soft and still creamy. Nice thickness.
I am very pleased with this quality of TGY, and how durable it was. Many TGY will die off after the second or even the first infusion, and turn into this broccoli and eggy kind of tea. I don’t like the taste of that. It’s too simple, and not elegant. However, Mei Leaf’s Superior Iron Goddess had it all. The floral, the cream, and the nice texture. In addition to that, the returning sweetness was incredible as well. I don’t have enough experience to talk about Yin Yun, but I felt a slight stiffness near the sides of my mouth which may be the same Yin Yun that many connoisseurs are talking about. This is a very good Qin Xiang or unroasted TGY. Good job, and thank you Don for sourcing this. It’s truly a nice tea, and is well rounded, and a satisfying TGY.
Basic Info about this special Tea From Pinglin and Muzha, Taiwan Half Tieguanyin/half Jinxuan varietals. 45 dollars/150g 500m/300m altitude. Brewing Parameters Temperature (95 degrees celsius) Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Gaiwan 90ml) Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams) Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, after the third infusion increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)
Number of Total Steeps (6)
Aroma of Dry Leaves (charcoal, ripe plum)
Aroma of Wet Leaves ( coffee, cream, chocolate)
Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
Texture Profile ( medium)
Feeling/ Aftertaste (huigan after first infusion, cherry aftertaste)
Attitude Rank: 7 out of 10.
Tea made from two cultivars intrigue me as it makes me wonder how the characteristics of the two cultivars affect each other and affect the final result. This tea, made from Tieguanyin and Jinxuan cultivars, should match very interestingly. I was excited to see how the milky aspect of the Jinxuan cultivar might affect the TGY. The results are expressed below.
Initially strong, the tea when warm smelled like wild bushes, wood, and some dry mango. The TGY cultivar probably supported the flavors and fragrance of the tea, while the Jinxuan made sure that it’s smooth and well structured. The tea has a good amount of roasting on it, and because of the style of processing being the Muzha style, the tea has a lot of depth, strength as well as richness in the mouth. The fragrance is good, starting with a nutty, roasty fragrance and slowly changing into a dry to juicy mango. Robust, and reminds me of a Shui Xian Rock Oolong from the Wuyi Mountains. Although it doesn’t have the same rock yun or Yan Yun that I associate with Rock Teas, the characteristics of this tea is very similar; without the sweet savory turn I find in a lot of Yanchas. Boiled potato is another one, after the heavy, roasted note comes that warming, potato skin aroma that I get in a lot of Jin Xuan Oolongs.
The second infusion was much more thicker, rounder, and sweeter. The best infusion, as it had everything from raisins to coffee to grains, to sweet huigan that lasted ten minutes or so. Good minerality, a little drying and nice strength. Gongdaobei smells sweet, like honey and chocolate. The lid of the gaiwan had that sourness that many Muzha TGY have, with intense veggie notes.
Third and fourth infusions in, the fragrance and aroma started to fade away, but maintains a very nice mouthfeel and huigan still persists. Nice caramel, honey, and a grainy sweetness that remains in your mouth. Very nice color as well.
Fifth and sixth infusions were definitely lighter, and by the sixth, I knew that the tea was done. There is just no flavor and thickness in the tea. Perhaps doing this tea western style might impact how the taste comes out differently. It might work better for this tea.
I think that this Tieguanyin Oolong made by Eco-Cha offers the sweetness, bite, and aftertaste that people look for in a nice dark roasted oolong. However, I expected the tea to last a little longer, and gave off a little bit more in infusions two, three, and four. It’s a good everyday type of tea, and can be enjoyed inside a larger cup or mug without worrying too much on how the taste changes on each infusion. Solid oolong for a good price!
Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin Tea from Totem Tea
Basic info about this special tea:
Tie Guan Yin varietal
– From Alishan, Chiayi, in Taiwan
– Muzha style
– Temperature ( 92 degrees celsius)
– Brewing Vessel ( Large Dehua porcelain gaiwan 100ml)
– Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
– Steeping Time ( less than 25 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 15 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings:
– 6 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves:
– Slight smoky,
– Roasted corn flakes
– Cereal like.
Aroma of Wet Leaves:
– Poached peaches with fried rice.
– Similar to a Oriental Red dan cong tea
– Honey, Ripe mango, Papaya, And lychee profile.
– Leather, Library books. Not too sticky
– More of a mouthfeel and richer taste compared with other Taiwanese high mountain tea.
– Crisp, Slightly sour taste from the Muzha. Hui gan is slow but long lasting. .
– Price: 15 USD
– Rating 7.5 out of 10.
Something triggering has happened when I tried this tea. As I smelled the flying scent of the craftsmanship, I began to recall the moments of when I really started to discover the beauty of tea. When I first had the Oriental Red Dan Cong at my friends house in Vancouver, I was lost for words. I cannot even describe the amount of significance and declaration of satisfaction I felt from drinking every sip of that golden drink. My mind felt as if I entered nirvana, and didn’t care where I was going. The scent I first got when interacting with the warm dry leaves and me bringing back the emotions from the past was great. The cornflake like, typical cereal or cookie smell was present, like how in a dan cong some of the major characteristics are like the marzipan or butter cookies .
Oriental Red was a mixture of Duck Shit and Ba Xian together. A buttery, fruity, spicy, and dry finished dan cong. Truly remarkable. But, don’t have the money to spend 8000 CAD for 500 grams. That’s 160 dollars per pot, and most people won’t pay that kind of money for the drink. I would rather buy something affordable for my budget, but not as long lasting as the dan cong. This muzha doesn’t last too long, while the mouthfeel is still consistent and the bitterness still being persistent. The sour taste becomes more metallic and I would’ve wished that the tea can last a little longer. That’s the only thing I wished was different.
The packaging is very organized, clear, and the leaves are nice and shiny. Very affordable too. 15 dollars for a package is better than any other price I’ve seen before for Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin’s out there on the western market. I must say that I am very impressed and Totem tea; you converted me to Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin. I very much was intrigued by the incredible honey and strong fragrance it carried while being very grounding and having a thick body. My final rating for this tea would be a 7.5 out of 10. Great tea for people who are looking into trying to get a very uplifting and satisfying experience at the same time, and very affordable. Thanks Phillip for this tea, and more reviews coming shortly.
Tie Guan Yin Tea from producer Zhiqiang Wang
Basic info about this rare tea:
Tie Guan Yin Varietal
2017 Spring Tea
From Anxi County in Fujian Province
600-700 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
Temperature ( 95 to 96 degrees Celsius)
Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Porcelain Gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, and every 2 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Dried Nougat, Sour Apples, Grassy Nuts.
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Soft ketchup, Orchid.
Taste Profile: Boiled Broccoli with Gardenia Stems, Bitter Grass.
Texture Profile: Soft but Astringent.
Feeling/Aftertaste: Gentle, Sweet Melon aftertaste.
Poetic Expression: “ A bull frog taking a nap under the hibiscus flower.” -An ugly beast having pretty foods, that’s what I feel from this tea.
Price: 150 dollars/500 grams
Rating 7.2 out of 10.
I will first give a brief introduction to Tie Guan Yin.
The Chinese believe in two stories surrounding the myth of where Tie Guan Yin is originally from. The first story is from Wei, where the tail saids that Wei was concerned about the local temple that had a Iron statue of the Buddhist goddess Guan Yin, who is no other than Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, while he was so poor and couldn’t even afford thinking about repairing the statue and temple. So, what he did was bringing a broom and some incense twice a month for a long time, accumulating merits for his good karma. One night, the goddess Guan Yin appeared in his dream indicating that there is a treasure in a cave nearby, and he was told to take it out and share it with others. In the cave, he found a tea shoot, and brought it out to plant in a small stream. This eventually became a great bush, providing the best tea. Later on, people in the village started to call this tea, Tie Guan Yin, The Iron Goddess of Mercy.
The second story is from Wang, as this tale goes like this. The great scholar Wang accidentally found a Tea bush underneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping, Anxi, China. He then brought the plant back home for cultivation. In the 6th year of ruling for the Qianlong Emperor, Wang visited the emperor with this tea as a gift from the local village. Qianlong was so impressed, he asked where this tea is from. From there, the name Guan Yin was started to be used for this tea.
There are three main types of Tie Guan Yin teas.
Traditional ( Charcoal roasted)
Jade or Modern Style ( Unroasted)
Medium Roast (Traditional medium roast)
The traditional-style Tie Guan Yin offers a very dark, heavily-oxidized, and was the first kind of Tie Guan Yin to ever be made. The roasting however is usually lighter and more fragrant than typical Wuyi Rock teas. The Medium Roast Tie Guan Yin offers very bright and deep aromas, compared with the Green Type, also known as Modern Style, very strong on the nose and has notes of gardenia flowers, honey butter, and melons. The market recently has shifted more attention on the Green Tie Guan Yin rather than the Traditional ones, due to the high-rise in Taiwanese Oolongs, and land, labor, and capital is actually cheaper to produce green oolongs in China than it is in Taiwan. Plus, making Green style requires less effort and is cheaper, so more people want to buy it, and the economy is rising for this.
I did enjoy this tea, but I wouldn’t say I am a lover of it, because I know the quality isn’t the highest. High quality Tie Guan Yins are very hard to find in the western Market, because of two main reasons. First, because the good Tie Guan Yins are being bought within China, and the outside market doesn’t usually get involved. Also, because the price gap between qualities of Tie Guan Yin significantly jumps from very low to high. I mean, very much. In my opinion, Pu Erh has a much more controlled and standard rate for Gushu material, while Tie Guan Yins are very skeptical and increase in price so much compared to other higher quality teas. This one I tried was given to me by Lillian Li, the owner of SpiriteaStudio, as it was given to her by her friend in Xiping, Anxi. The initial taste is very good, resulting in a deep, warm taste of broccoli, with gardenia stems. I should say this sample was not exclusive, but was not bad either. It was not a tea for me to contemplate on, and during the last 3 infusions, I experienced the typical, minerally, acidic sort of taste that comes from Green Tie Guan Yin when the session is almost starting to fade away. This gave me that look on my face of, “Is this the thing again?” Yes, so this tea is a good oolong but not a great oolong, because it doesn’t have anything unique, but very standard and fair. It is a good tea for beginners to compare qualities. For more info and to get sample packs of different grades of oolong teas, go to Spiritea Studio in Vancouver or contact Lillian at email@example.com. This was a introduction to Tie Guan Yin, more oolong related articles coming soon. Stay tuned for the next article, the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin.`