Nonpareil Anxi Qing Yiang Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea by Teavivre . . . . .

I steeped about half the sample packet (or a little over half) in about 10 ounces of water at 212 degrees for about 6 minutes.

It smells indisputably delicious as it starts to brew. Buttery, creamy, smooth, and rich. Also a tiny bit seaweedy/vegetal/grassy, but that’s subsumed by the butteriness.

The packet says to brew 4-10 minutes, which means it’s probably great for resteeping since you only need to steep it about 5-6 minutes in my experience (and with a little less water it would be less). So if you’re in the mood to re-steep, this might be a good choice for you. (As opposed to when you’re on the road or something and resteeping isn’t convenient.)

I started out using a tea ball to contain the leaves, but after a couple of minutes it became clear that wasn’t going to work out because they were just expanding too much so I let them out. Next time I’d just put them directly in the water or use a brew basket. That way I’d be able to watch them unroll too, which is always fun.

After steeping, I ended up with a nice light yellowish-green liquid (hard to say the exact shade though because I was using a green mug). It smells the tiniest bit flowery in addition to the buttery flavor.

The combo of green and creamy flavors reminds me a bit of matcha actually, although it’s gentler here and less vegetal in flavor. This is a very well-rounded flavor profile, with the bright, floral, and creamy notes complementing each other in a balanced and enjoyable fashion. Each sip is amazing. The floral bit catches your nose as you go to take a sip; the creaminess is there the whole time, and you taste the green/vegetal bit during the sip, and afterwards there’s even a slightly sweet aftertaste. And I don’t even prefer unroasted oolongs as a rule, so I’m extremely impressed with this tea and how much I enjoyed it! Teavivre has done an amazing job with this one as usual!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Teavivre

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are available.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

An Interesting Take on a Oolong from Verdant Tea. . . .

Did you ever try a tea and it doesn’t taste like the description? So you aren’t sure if you’re crazy?



This tea, 1995 Aged Tieguanyin, is supposed to taste like cream, caramel, marigold, and cherry. I am getting spicy (!) and nectar. So I guess the nectar/slightly flowery taste could be the marigold and the caramel? But there’s definitely a little bit of a hot zing in here.

The flowery nature is definitely in there. According to this tea’s (very frou-frou) description, “Master Zhang’s terraced fields on the cloud-enveloped peaks of Anxi are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water.”

I see the combination of the flowers, the spice, and the aging as a movie in which a woman gets kidnapped by a salty old pirate (hot). He tries to woo her with flowers (flowery) on his creaky boat (aged). She comes to realize that her old life, with its cross-stitching and frills, was stuffy. She comes out as gay and spends the rest of her life being platonic best friends with the pirate and mastering the sea. The credits roll on her climbing up into the rigging to do some sort of, you know, adjusting the sails thing or whatever. At sunset.

This tea wasn’t what I thought it would be. But if weren’t for the tea, we wouldn’t have that nice pirate story, now would we? Sometimes you have to take an unexpected adventure.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

This 1995 aged Tieguanyin varietal harvest already has over twenty years of aging. Master Zhang’s terraced fields are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water. The natural complexity of his tea makes it a perfect candidate for careful aging, which involves yearly re-roasting and sealed storage. The result is a classic rich dark profile that brings out the rich fruity creamy notes in Tieguanyin.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Anxi Tie Guan Yin from Teasenz

I can’t remember the last time I drank a Tie Guan Yin, which is something of a surprise as it’s become one of my favourite oolong varieties. I was more than pleased when I came across this one, not least because it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself. This particular Tie Guan Yin is from the Anxi Nature Reserve in Fujian Province, a major Chinese tea growing region (although one I seem to associate more with black tea than with oolong, strangely enough!)

tie_guan_yin_wulong_tea_1I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water slightly cooled from boiling. The resulting liquor is a clear, pale green with a light yellowish tinge. The leaves are beautifully variegated, encompassing pretty much all shades of green from the palest to the darkest, and just a hint of brown. It’s like walking through a forest in the sunlight! The leaves are rolled, and after three minutes they haven’t entirely unfurled, suggesting that this one might be good for at least another couple of steeps.

The scent of the brewed tea is light but noticeably floral. It reminds me primarily of orchids, lilies, and jasmine – heady, scent-heavy flowers. This carries through into the taste, which initially is very heavily floral. So floral, it almost tastes thick. It doesn’t cross over into territory that’s too perfumey or cloying, but it’s definitely distinctively floral. The mid-sip brings a green beany sweetness that helps to freshen up the overall flavour profile, and towards the end of the sip there’s a hint of nuttiness that puts me very much in mind of hazelnuts. It’s an interesting flavour combination, but one that ultimately works well.

I’m also pleased to find that it very smooth in terms of mouthfeel, with an almost-silkiness about it. There’s no bitterness or astringency at all,tieguanyin_tea even though the water was quite hot and the brew time reasonably long. As the cup cools, it develops a creaminess that complements the flavours (and particularly the lingering nuttiness) beautifully.

This reacquaintance with a Tie Guan Yin has reminded me why I enjoyed these teas so much in the first place. I’m impressed with the quality of this tea, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Teasenz’s offerings in the future. Impressed!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teasenz

An all-time favorite of Chinese oolong tea lovers. This beautiful emerald green tea is named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin. Poets of the Middle Kingdom have described this premium tea for its purifying taste, bringing you into a peaceful, meditative state of mind.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong Tea from Teavivre

anxi_qingxiang_tieguanyinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

This year, the tea is made of fresh tea leaves in higher quality, and is produced in better place with better crafting method.

When mentioned Anxi County, people will spontaneously think of Anxi Tie Guan Yin, “Iron Goddess”. It is well-known both inland and abroad. This Tie Guan Yin is close to forest green in color, has a pure aroma. Meanwhile the liquid of this Oolong tea is transparent and bright, which truly is a feast to the eyes. In taste, this Tie Guan Yin has sweet flavor, long-last fragrance and comfortable sweet aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know that I’ve said it before, but it’s something that bears repeating:  Teavivre has some of the very finest teas that I’ve ever tasted!  There’s a simple reason why it’s one of my favorite tea companies:  their teas are top-notch!

And this Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong is no exception!  This is lovely.

Having tried their Nonpareil Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong a couple of months ago, I found myself wondering how this tea would differ.  I was able to spot one big difference immediately upon opening the package and examining the leaves.  The dry leaf for this tea is bright, emerald green while the Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin were darker in color:  greenish brown!

That’s because the Anxi Yun Xian is a roasted Oolong and this hasn’t been roasted.  The roasting process seems to cut some of the floral notes and they become more of a roasty-toasty, nutty flavor.  I like both teas.

To brew this tea, I used my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of leaves into the bowl of the gaiwan.  Then I added enough water (heated to 180°F) to cover the leaves.  I let them steep for 15 seconds and discarded the water (this is the rinse).  Then I filled the gaiwan and let the tea steep for 45 seconds for the first infusion.  I strained the tea into my cup and then repeated the process, adding 15 seconds onto the next steep.  I combine the brewed liquid of two infusions for each cup – so my first cup was infusions 1 and 2.  My second cup was infusions 3 and 4.  You get the picture, right?

The sweet floral notes here are really nice.  They aren’t sharp, they’re soft and sweet.  Orchid with notes of vanilla!  That’s how I’d describe this first cup.  It’s sweet and creamy, but not creamy like a milky type of creamy or a buttery type of creamy.  This is distinctly vanilla!  So smooth and sweet and yummy!

The second cup has stronger, more defined orchid notes with less of a creamy, vanilla tone.  The flavors are a more focused.  The description on the Teavivre website says:

Tastes fresh and lovely. The fragrance of orchid will be tasted from first sip. It feels clean and mellow in mouth, has sweet aftertastes and long-lasting flavor.

I think that this is especially true of this second cup.  The orchid was immediately identifiable.  With the first cup, I noticed the strong, creamy characteristics first.  Now, the creaminess has tapered somewhat and I’m tasting the fresh, beautiful flavor of orchid.  It’s a strong and forward flavor, but I like that it’s not too sharp tasting.

The third cup was almost identical to the second cup, with a beautifully perfumed cup with notes of orchid, light creamy notes in the background.  Sweet and mellow!  I am loving the orchid notes in this tea because they never get particularly sharp, they stay mild and lovely.  A real pleasure to sip.

This is a really lovely TieGuanYin.  If you’re a lover of Oolong teas that is looking for a top notch TieGuanYin – you really should try this one.  It’s truly a remarkable tea.

Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from Teavivre

Anxi Monkey KingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

TeaVivre brings you the fresh Monkey King Monkey King Tie Guan Yin which has no heavy roasting flavor. It is from the origin place of Tie Guan Yin, Anxi in Fujian Province. The twisted dry leaves are tight and strong in dragonfly-like shape. Dry tea has the light refreshing fragrance of vegetables and fruits. After brewed, the characteristic fresh scent of Tie Guan Yin comes. The tea liquid tastes sweet and its fragrance lasts long.

Tie Guan Yin has two different kinds of making method, Zheng Chao (正炒,) and Tuo Suan (拖酸), which was introduced in the description of Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin. This Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin belongs to zheng chao Tie Guan Yin tea, has comfortable brisk and smooth flavor without the sour taste on your tongue, just like the Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a lovely Tie Guan Yin – it’s a little different than the ‘typical’ Tie Guan Yin, at least, those that I’m used to.  The leaves above look greener than the leaves that I found when I opened the sample pouch, these appear to be a chocolate brown color with notes of a deep forest-y green.  They look as though they might have been lightly roasted or at the very least they appear as though they were oxidized a little longer than the typical green Tie Guan Yin.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of leaf into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I rinsed the leaves for 15 seconds in 180°F.  Then I discarded the liquid and resteeped the leaves for 45 seconds in 180°F water and strained the liquid into my teacup.  Then I repeated the process, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.  I combined the first 2 infusions to create my first cup, infusions 3 and 4 combined made my second cup, and so on…

And after tasting the tea, I think I’m correct with the ‘roasted’ guess because I taste a nice roasty-toasty flavor to this.  It’s sweet and nutty and very pleasantly smooth.  There is very little astringency to this first cup.  It’s creamy and this creaminess develops as the cup cools.  I found the first few sips to be crisper, brisker than the sips that followed as the cup cooled somewhat.  As the tea cooled, the brisk flavor became more subdued and the creaminess came forward.  While I liked that brisk note, I am liking the creaminess even more.  I like the way it melds with the nutty flavors.

The second cup was not quite as creamy as the first but I found it to be even smoother.  The roasty-toasty notes remind me of notes of charred wood and freshly roasted, still warm chestnuts.  The toasty flavors lend an autumnal taste to the cup, evoking thoughts of a walk on an afternoon when the weather is crisp and the fallen leaves are crackling beneath your feet.  You can smell hints of smoke in the air from a nearby chimney.  It’s a very cozy and comforting flavor.

The third cup almost seemed like a different tea entirely!  It’s still smooth, but this tastes brisker and cleaner.  I’m not getting as much a nutty tone as I’m getting a fruit-like flavor.  Hints of peach with the charred wood notes that I experienced in the second cup.

This third cup is a very refreshing tea – my palate feels clean after sipping it but don’t mistake that for a ‘cleansing astringency’ because I’m not experiencing that.  What I’m experiencing is a crisp, clean flavor that isn’t inundated with a heaviness.  It is gentle and soft on the palate and doesn’t weigh it down with flavors.  It’s an invigorating taste.  As the cup cools slightly, some of the nutty flavors start to emerge and these meld beautifully with the peachy flavors.

A really lovely Tie Guan Yin.  If you are familiar with the greener Tie Guan Yin, I strongly recommend trying this one for something a little different!  This is yet another example of why I love Oolong teas so much – the word “Oolong” can mean a vast number of different tastes and just when you think you’re familiar with one type of Oolong, something comes along like this Monkey King and offers something a little different and makes you fall in love with Tie Guan Yin all over again!