This is an ancient tea whose first claim to fame was that it was rumoured to be loved by Emperor Qian Long (18th Century). Tie Guan Yin is a celebrated Chinese tea and it is in huge demand. This inevitably means that it is produced in large quantities with big differences in quality and styles.
Our Tie Guan Yin comes from Anxi County in Fujian Province, the birthplace of this very famous and popular tea. This particular Tie Guan Yin is an “Anxi-style” tea, which means that it is lightly oxidized, retaining many of the delicate floral aspects that are a closer to a light green tea without the grassiness or astringency. This type of oolong has become known as a “jade” or “green” oolong due to the light appearance and colour that is reflected both in the leaves of this tea as well as the light coloured liquor.
The tea is named after the Chinese name for the bodhisattva known as Avalokiteśvara, Guan Yin. Guan Yin is a Buddhist bodhisattva usually associated with compassion. There are a couple of origin stories for this tea. One is that a farmer passed a rundown temple of Guanyin and took it upon himself to tidy the temple. As a reward, was given a vision in his dream by Guanyin which led him to find a tea plant growing in a cave behind the temple.
The other story involves a scholar who discovered the tea plant by Guanyin rock and presented the resulting tea to Emperor Qian Long who declared that it has the weight of iron and the appearance of Guan Yin.
The tightly rolled, light green, jade coloured leaves of this Tie Guan Yin oolong have a slight green floral aroma. When brewed, the leaves unfurl, producing a pale golden clear liquor with a floral scent. The taste is light, with a pronounced floral profile and refreshing flavours of fresh green vegetables with a buttery note and a little sweetness reminiscent of red peppers. The lasting aftertaste has more floral flavours. This is a light and refreshing tea with a smooth and balanced flavour and no bitterness or astringency.