Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province - Wuyi Mountains
Shipping Port: Fuzhou
Grade: Ti Kuan Yin - Superior grade
Altitude: 2500 feet
Manufacture Type: Oolong
Cup Characteristics: A light 'airy' character with lightly noted orchid-like notes
Infusion: Pale green yellow liquor, tending slightly amber
Oolong tea is semi fermented which is one of the reasons it has such a unique character. The semi fermentation gives the tea a little bit more body than a green tea but less body than a black tea ... and interestingly it gives the flavor a very unique twist. You will see (particularly in the infused leaf) that the edges of the leaves are slightly bruised (brownish). The reason for this is that the leaves are lightly bruised to start the oxidation process. During this process the characteristic 'curly' leaf is also created. After 15-25 minutes (depending upon ambient temperature and humidity levels) the tea is fired, locking in the special flavor profile.
There are several grades of Ti Kuan Yin (a.k.a Iron Goddess of Mercy). This particular type is the top nbr 1 grade. When comparing to other Ti Kuan Yin's, you will see a better leaf presentation which results in a more refined character - and hence the special moniker - PHOENIX #1. It has been written that Ti Kuan Yin is at first bitter, then sweet and finishes with a fragrance which lingers on your palate. We find this particular grade is sweet with a fragrant finish and has no bitter notes.
The legend of Ti Kuan Yin is that a certain Mr. Wei, a tea grower in Sand County, Fujian had a dream in which a spirit advised him that a treasure was awaiting him behind a temple dedicated to Kuan-Yin. Upon his discovery of the treasure he was to share it with his neighbors. The next day he diligently searched for the treasure but could only find a tiny tea shoot. Even though he was disappointed, he took the tea shoot home and cared for it extremely well for the next 2 years. At the end of the 2 year period the tea bush yielded 1 kilo of tea. He brewed some in a lidded bowl and noticed an unusual fragrance plus the fact that the flavor remained pure and strong even after several additions of water. To ensure his good luck and to follow the spirit's guidelines he took care of the bush with renewed enthusiasm. Within a few years the original tea bush fathered hundreds of trees and shrubs which he shared with his neighbors.
Hot tea brewing method: Use 2-4 teaspoons of tea per 4 cup tea pot (you vary the strength by the amount of tea used); pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn. (Do not overboil the water as this will de-oxygenate the water and affect the flavour of the tea). Steep the tea for 2 minutes (or longer depending upon the strength of the tea desired). Pour. Leave the tea in the teapot because the leaves can be used again - up to 3 times. This tea should be enjoyed 'straight-up' without milk or sugar.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]