Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Norbu Tea
Our Shade Grown Tie Guan Yin is a green style Anxi Tie Guan Yin that was harvested and processed* in the Spring of 2011, but the way it was grown makes the mouthfeel and particularly the aftertaste quite different from traditionally grown Tie Guan Yin. Our Shade Grown Tie Guan Yin was grown very much like Japan’s Kabusecha (a partially shade-grown green tea). It was grown in full sun like a regular Tie Guan Yin until 2-3 weeks before harvest. At that point, a cover/net was rolled out directly on top of the tea plants to block about half of the sunlight. The reduced exposure to sunlight increases amino acid & chlorophyll levels in the leaves, resulting in a finished product with a fuller mouthfeel and an exceptionally rich, penetrating and mouth-coating bittersweet aftertaste.
Norbu Tea has an excellent collection of high quality teas, and I’ve always been very impressed with teas (and especially their Oolongs!) that I’ve received from them. So, when I received this Shade Grown Tie Guan Yin in my Oolong October Steepster Select package, I was thrilled. I had very high expectations, and again, I find that Norbu Tea has not only met those expectations, but exceeded them.
The brewed tea smells beautiful. Very floral! Hints of lilac that remind me of my gramma’s backyard in the springtime. Orchid. Honeysuckle. It is a very lush floral fragrance.
The flavor is sublime. It tastes sweet and floral, and the mouthfeel is thick and rich. Creamy. I want to say “buttery” but it really isn’t quite like butter, it is more like sweet cream. The aftertaste is sweet, but with a slight savory tone to keep it from coming across as too sweet. It is a very luxurious tea to sip.
Generally, you would find me recommending Norbu Tea’s Ali Shan Oolong (and my preference is for the spring or fall harvest Ali Shan) … and I still do! But, I now need to include yet another onto my list of recommendations for Norbu Tea: Shade Grown Tie Guan Yin! If you are a fan of Tie Guan Yin, you MUST try this one. It is likely to become your favorite!