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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.`
Honey Scented Black Tea from producer Family Fu
Basic info about this special tea:
Qingxin Oolong Varietal
2017 Winter Tea
From Pinglin, New Taipei, in Taiwan
400 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
Temperature ( 97-98 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel (Japanese Red Clay Kyusu)
Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings: Over 5 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Hay, Dates, Chicken broth.
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Camphor, and a bit of Eucalyptus.
Taste Profile: Qingxin butteriness, Dark Cocoa with a hint of Ginseng and Rose water. .
Texture Profile: Cardboard softness but with sticky minerality. .
Feeling/Aftertaste: Short and Crispy cinnamon, with a herbal finish.
Poetic Expression: “ As the night stars shine, Darkness comes out, shining and dancing like there is the second face.” The leaves used was a cultivar intended to be used for oolongs, but used in a fashion for making black tea can show the real character or the other potential that the plant holds.
Price: ON SALE 5 dollars/25 grams
Rating 7 out of 10.
Jenny said that this tea was in fact created using oolong leaves, and making it in a traditional honey-black tea style so that the baked honey, the spices, and the special characters of the Qingxin varietal, blends out. My teacher from school actually asked me to make tea for the Foods and Fashion class, so I chose a Taiwanese black tea that may be easy for most people to appreciate. Friends told me that the soup tasted like pumpkin spice, and I kind of understood. Often at times people who are not very experienced at tea drinking can tell you more about the quality of teas because they have a very pure and clean pallet, and also their judgment is without bias or conceived ideas from previous experiences. I found that Grade 9 students actually enjoyed this tea because they prefer sweet teas, and I feel great that they loved it.
I was mainly impressed by the fact that it isn’t actually a black tea yet the farmer’s skill and determination to make quality tea made the subtle, very bright notes into something more dark, sweet, and rich. Oolong teas normally are very pungent, strong, and can be bitter, astringent, etc. However, this tea comes across very smooth, rich and fragrant at the same time. I have to say one thing, which is that this tea tends to require more time than the average Taiwanese Black or Oolong teas. I used 5 grams, and the first infusion which I did for around 15 to 20 seconds came out pretty light, but secure flavor. I actually liked the variety of different notes and characteristics that the tea can share with me, but I wish I could’ve experienced more honey, high notes, and fruits. Brown liquor, sweet, and on the spectrum of black teas, I would put this one more on the spicy side. It isn’t very malty, but is very chocolaty, and has more of a damp sweetness than is it high up on the nose. That is the only down point.
I should purchase some for next time and will be interested in brewing grandpa-style. This is when you leave the leaves inside the cup or tall glass and drink ¾ and adding water on top each time. This is because I feel that the tea doesn’t have much bitterness to it, so if its being brewed grandpa-style, we can enjoy very concentrated infusions and the thick honey aroma maybe more present. In conclusion, this tea did impress my friends and teacher, plus, I very much thought it was a very good everyday-type of Blackish/ Oolongish tea. ;p
Thanks to Jenny for letting me review this today! Visit her at www. oollotea.com