The TieGuanYin 鐵觀音, original from Anxi in Fujian is the king of the Oolongs in the Southern area of China. A tea with a long history.
There are several legends about its origin linked to GuanYin, the “Goddess of Piety”. The most popular one is the story of a peasant who had a revelation and it has been passed among his contemporary descendants who now own a tea museum. In this peasant’s dream, the Goddess GuanYin showed him a shrub of this variety hidden in a cave. And indeed there it was. Even today you can visit the mother bush of this variety that became known with the name as Tie: iron, referred to the soil minerality and GuanYin (Goddess of Mercy).
Originally from mainland China, this varietal made the leap from Fujian to Taiwan some centuries ago arriving to Muzha in northern Taiwan, very close to the capital Taipei. What are the characteristics of the original Tieguanyin processed in the traditional way? A tea of medium/high oxidation and high roasted over charcoal, several times and in different ways. The flavor is profound and you can taste the mineral terroir, but the deep roast gives place to a very soft sweetness. Is nothing like a strong burnt flavor, but a mellow and soft wrapping, like a candy coating.
In mainland China, this traditional Anxi TieGuanYin left its place to non roasted with light oxidation versions that mimic the Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong. Supply and demand. But the Traditional TieGuanYin is still preserved in Taiwan where the lightly processed version is not popular. But the traditional method is not easy to find because not many masters have the knowledge to create this tea. There are many “half-way” versions with high oxidation and roasting but finished in a shorter time.
This tea develops the famous GuanYinYun 觀音韻, a term created specially for Tieguanyin, a sort of aftertaste. How many teas have you seen to have an exclusive flavor descriptor? Being a roasted and oxidized tea will give you many changing brews, that will move from the sweet roasting to the greener inside of the leaves. A great tea to calm down with an aroma that remains for very long in the cup and a crisp and syrupy caramel color liquor.
Traditional TieGuanYin is the king of Oolong by
- Roasted over coal with the right technique.
- For serious drinkers.
- Easy on the stomach and very relaxing.
|Amount of tea||1st infusion||Following
|5 gr. per 100 ml||30 seconds||+10 seconds||5+|
|Western||2,5 gr. per cup||2 minutes||+30 seconds||3|