Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Tie Guan Yin tea is a type of Oolong tea, and is – deservedly – one of the most revered and sought after type tea in China. Sometimes also written as Ti Kuan Yin or Iron Goddess Oolong Tea. Apart from its amazing taste, this tea also has great health benefits, being high in amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants.
more about this tea here.
Lord this tea smells so very good! That is in the dry leaf state! Don’t even get me started on the steeped leaf! I am weak in the knees at the aroma of this tea.
It has almost a brown sugar, or maple like essence. Oh my!
When steeped however it also develops some more notes such as floral, but not overly so, and vegetal, but again its not so vegetal that those who are not fond of green tea would be turned off.
To me, the predominant notes are of dessert-y, baked good aromas.
This is a tea that not only can be steeped many times, but deserves to be steeped many times! Having a gong fu session is best with this type of tea as each steep releases different notes, different characteristics, different elements trapped within the tea. It is our duty to release each and every one to be enjoyed fully.
Now it is no secret that I adore Teavivre teas but this specific tea is one of my favorites from them.
The first steep provides a light infusion of crisp floral and vegetal notes that are only slightly buttery. There is a slight yet noticeable lime note in this infusion but it is not tart, just juicy and bright. The lingering after taste is that of steamed greens, almost a celery flavor, very fresh from the market tasting.
Now if you are not using a gaiwan or yixing pot be sure you are using a large enough brew basket as these leaves really expand, a lot! Seriously, lol even my Gaiwan was a bit too full with this leaf! This however is not a bad thing.
Steep two is very similar to the first steep, however providing a slightly more buttery and nutty flavor. The mouthfeel is also slightly thicker and heavier. Drinking this tea makes me want to reach for some butter cookies. It just seems to be the perfect pairing! I only wish I had some.
Steeps three and four are where the flavor profile really begins to shift, with new notes emerging. There is a fruity essence coming forth and that all to well known to me flavor that most all oolong have is really forefront. A flavor that is difficult to describe and only those who have sipped a good oolong can understand.
Oolong is my favorite type of tea. I love the earthiness of it similar to puerh, the sweet vegetal notes like that of green tea, the fruity notes that you can find in many teas types, the boldness of a black. With the delicate nature of a yellow or white tea, with distinct flavor notes all of its own. Everything I love about all other teas can be found right here in an oolong, and this oolong is top notch.
Steeps three and four become more buttery with a more rich mouthfeel, savory from herbaceous notes, the floral has relaxed a little but is still an undertone to the cup. The vegetal is not as strong either but is replaced by a nuttier flavor yet in the after taste evolves again! I will get at least two more if not three or four more steeps out of this leaf and I look forward to each one!
Such a delightful, expressive cup.