Updated: Mar 3, 2020
This was the tea that opened the door for me to the fantastic world of Chinese teas. For this reason, I especially appreciate this tea. I wrote about Tie Guan Yin on Day 13 of this challenge. Also, another Tie Guan Yin post was written by my tea friend Annika on Day 21. Both of them were light roasted forms, very light, floral and mellow. This one is not.
To me, it has a fuller body and it offers a more sophisticated tasting profile. With the first sniff, you feel the smokiness coming from the heavy charcoal roasting. The smell is elevated with the woody flavour with the first sip and consecutive sips add to this by offering floral, nutty and even sweet tones.
As I mentioned in the first Tie Guan Yin post, this tea has the biggest market shares amongst Oolongs. However, some farmers and tea makers had difficulty selling it in 2012 (and the following year) when Green Peace published a report listing the pesticide residues found in some Tie Guan Yin samples sold by big retailers. This has caused a change in consumer’s demands who became more cautious about the farming conventions. Some farmers found that without obtaining an organic certificate, they would not be allowed to sell their teas. Later they also realised that with the certificate they can charge higher prices.
Well, as this is a tea that I love I am willing to pay more for a natural product that is cultivated without pesticides. Are you?
Origin: Fujian Province
Harvest time: 2018 (vintage)
Leave colour: Dark reddish brown rolled leaves
Liquor colour: Amber
Tea aroma: Smoky
Tea taste: Mellow, sweet with long smooth woody finish
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 85°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 5 years or more if stored appropriately (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)