TI KUAN YIN Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong
Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province
Shipping Port: Fuzhou
Grade: Ti Kuan Yin
Altitude: 2500 ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Oolong
Cup Characteristics: A distinctive light cup that has hints of orchid-like flavor. Excellent for quiet moments.
Infusion: Pale green yellow liquor, tending slightly amber
Ingredients: Luxury oolong tea
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 makes 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 has 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 Iron 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.
Hot tea brewing method: Oolongs teas are best enjoyed when the leaves are briefly infused with hot water, which is then poured off. The tea is then reinfused and tea is poured to the lucky guests after about 1 minute. The leaves may be reinfused several times, with each resulting infusion yielding different liquor from the proceeding cup.
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. LE0607