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365 Challenge > Day 13 - Tieguanyin Oolong Tea

Dry and infused leaves of tieguanyin

Tieguanyin is also known as ‘iron goddess of mercy’ originally comes from Xiping town in Anxi, Fujian but its production has spread over other towns in the region too to address the demand by tea drinkers. Like many other oolong teas, it has a special name.

Tie means metal in Chinese and refers to the metal (or iron) statue of Bodhisattva which was worshipped by a poor/local farmer in Anxi. The legend says that the farmer dreams the merciful Goddess showing him a gift behind the temple where he discovers a tea plant. He then cultivates it and make tieguanyin out of it and name it to honour the Buddhavista.

Fresh leaves of Tieguanyin goes through the following processes:

sun withering --> fixation --> roasting with fixation --> twisting --> preliminary baking --> twisting --> drying

During the roasting phase, tieguanyin acquires an earthy aroma to complement its natural floral taste which is present in this tea. Also, thanks to the twisting process the leaves transform into their unique curly shapes. Once infused, the leaves open up so elegantly and float across the teapot/gaiwan.

Apart from Anxi, Tieguanyin is also cultivated in Taiwan (by Fujian immigrants and their descendants) in an area called Muzha. I am looking forward to trying out Taiwanese tieguanyin and telling you more about it.

My three words for this tea are light, pleasant, and floral. For me, the woodsy or roasted nut flavours were not dominant possibly because the oxidation level of this tea was on the low side.

Tea Profile:

Type: Oolong

Origin: Anxi, Fujian Province

Harvest time: 2019

Leave colour: Light green

Liquor colour: Clear and very light yellow

Tea aroma: Floral (orchid-like) and earthy

Tea taste: Mellow and light

Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.

Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)

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