This Tie Guan Yin is sourced from the region of origin for this great variety of oolong. This authentic Tie Guan Yin stands apart from counterfeits from nearby regions as well as Taiwanese variants produced according to the same methods and often given the same name.
There are a few myths regarding the exact origin of the cultivation of this tea, which is named after the Goddess of Mercy. According to legend, the Goddess appeared to a poor man in his dream. He showed the farmer a Tie Guan Yin tea tree that he could use for the cultivation of tea.
Authentic Tie Guan Yin have floral aromas that change with each infusion. This feature of the tea is intrinsically tied to the unique terroir as well as the climate in the hills of Anxi. Not only do the hills offer ideal drainage, but their proximity to the sea in a subtropical, moist climate in southern Fujian ensures advantageous conditions for growing tea plants. The most critical aspect of the cultivation of this tea, however, is the red soil which is both nutrient-rich and slightly sour.
The success story of this kind of oolong begins with the introduction of oolong production methods from Wu Yi during the Qing Dynasty. The local tea cultivars proved well-suited for oolong, and this new variant came into being. Unlike the oolong of Wu Yi, Anxi oolongs are not roasted as long and therefore develop a different kind of taste. The mildly toasted and caramel-like sweet Tie Guan Yin is also known as Chuang Tong (傳統) or traditional Tie Guan Yin.
At the end of the 1990s, a new oolong production method was introduced in Taiwan that completely refrains from the final stage of roasting. As a result, the floral and sweet aromas of the tea develop more intensely. This kind of Tie Guan Yin is known as Qing Xiang (清香) or "fresh taste", but is often translated as a "light Tie Guan Yin". Our Highest Grade Tie Guan Yin Pure belongs to this category.
For oolong teas, typically the bud and first three leaves are harvested by hand. These leaves are typically allowed to grow a bit larger than other teas such as green tea. After harvest the leaves are set out to wither in the sun, which begins the oxidation and fermentation processes as the leaves dry. Thereafter the leaves are brought indoors to continue withering where they are repeatedly moved about. Small tears in the leaves, especially at the edges, allow juice from the leaves to seep out and oxidise. During the next stage the leaves are laid out on either bamboo plates or large nets and placed in a fermentation chamber. The leaves are monitored until the tears in the leaves turn reddish-brown as a marker of fermentation.
Once the desired degree of fermentation has been reached, further oxidation and fermentation are halted with heat in an oven (kill green). Thereafter the leaves are broken up in a rolling machine so that the remaining leaf juice comes out and coats the outside of the leaves. The tea is then rolled, partially by hand and partially by machine (Ball Cloth Rolling, Baorou 包揉), to attain its characteristic half-rolled form. In the last stage the tea is placed in the oven to dry.
This tea is exclusively sourced from the above mentioned tea farm in Anxi.
Sourced directly from the tea farmer.