Ti Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong tea has a light 'airy' character with lightly noted orchid-like hints. This is an excellent tea to start your Oolong exploration, and begin to reap the health benefits of Oolongs.
Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province - Wuyi Mountains
Shipping Port: Fuzhou
Grade: Ti Kuan Yin - Premium grade
Altitude: 2500 feet
Manufacture Type: Oolong
Cup Characteristics: A light 'airy' character with lightly noted orchid-like hints
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. Because they are more full bodied than green teas, oolong teas must not be picked too early or at too tender a stage. They must be produced immediately. Unlike leaves for green tea, those destined to be oolong are wilted in the direct sun and then shaken in tubular bamboo baskets to bruise the leaf edges. The bruising is what make the edges oxidize faster than the center. 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 premium grade - below the superior grade but have many of the characteristics of top Ti Kuan Yin Oolongs . 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 name Ion Goddess of Mercy came from a farmer named Mr. Wei. At the temple dedicated to Kuan Yin he was asked what is the name of his special tea. It must be called Ti Kuan Yin in honor of the iron statue to Kuan Yin he replied. As the name was a good one, it has never been changed since that time.
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.]