Formerly reserved for the Imperial Court, Tie Guan Yin Chinese oolong nonetheless holds sway as one of the crucial extremely prized teas within the world.
Also often known as: Tieguanyin; Tie Kwan Yin; Iron Buddha
Pronunciation: TEE-yeh gwa yin
Origin: The Anxi County area of Fujian province, in southeast China. This tea is now additionally produced in Nantou, Taiwan, amongst different areas.
Type: Chinese oolong tea
Appearance: Leaves are heavy, darkish inexperienced, and tightly rolled; the brewed tea ranges from a light-weight gold to a jade inexperienced.
Taste: Full, balanced, barely floral taste with a candy, long-lasting end and velvety texture. Often has hints of stone fruit, caramel, or chestnut.
Aroma: Floral, usually described as smelling like orchids.
Varieties: Tie Guan Yin may be categorized in a number of methods: by roasting stage or by season. Spring tea is taken into account the very best high quality, adopted by autumn, which has a stronger aroma; summer time tea is the bottom high quality of the three. Production of winter-harvested tea is so low that it’s not usually mentioned. Jade varieties are solely frivolously oxidized and are nearer in character to a inexperienced tea, whereas completely and reasonably baked teas have full, roasted notes Tie Guan Yin varieties may be referred to by type or area. Anxi is often solely frivolously oxidized, and is nearer in character to a inexperienced tea; Muzha has usually been baked and has nuttier tones.
Steeping Tips: Oolongs may be steeped a number of occasions, and lovers usually say that subsequent steepings are extra nuanced—some even use the primary infusion merely to heat the cups.
Western Style: Start by steeping 2 teaspoons of tea per eight ounces of sizzling water (roughly 190 levels Fahrenheit) for 1-2 minutes. For later steepings, enhance the time primarily based in your private taste. Three to 5 infusions are attainable.
Gongfu Style: Start with 5 grams of tea per 4-5 ounce teapot or gaiwan and make sure to heat the pot and rinse the leaves with water simply off the boil; steep in sizzling water (roughly 190 levels). Steep for 20- 35 seconds for the primary few infusions, rising the time for later steepings primarily based in your private taste. Six to eight infusions are attainable.
Teaware: While you should utilize your favourite Western tea instruments, Tie Guan Yin is greatest brewed within the conventional style, utilizing a gongfu set. Try a Yixing or porcelain teapot or a coated gaiwan, and use a tea pitcher to decant for the most constant taste.
A Monkey’s Tale
The most esteemed kinds of Tie Guan Yin are sometimes known as “monkey-picked tea” or “monkey-picked oolong.” Legend has it that Buddhist monks in Fujian wished to assemble tea leaves from the wild crops rising on the steep, rocky cliffs of Wuyi Mountain there; as a substitute of risking their very own necks, they patiently educated monkeys to select the tender prime leaves for them! A lesser-known story claims that these monks aggravated the native monkey inhabitants, which retaliated by ripping branches off the tall tea bushes and pelting the monks with them— conveniently giving the monks entry to the youngest, most prized leaves. In actuality, there’s no proof that monkeys ever performed an element in “monkey-picked” tea. The story in all probability originated, as so many do, in subterfuge— the Chinese had no intention of making a gift of the secrets and techniques of tea, and informed gullible English diplomats no matter story sprang to thoughts. After one “tea mission” in 1793, on which Earl George Macartney was charged with acquiring the secrets and techniques behind tea manufacturing, an English author, Aeneus Anderson, began telling the wild story of tea-picking monkeys…and the remainder is historical past.
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