Brewing Hints: Brew for three to five minutes in water up to 85 degrees.
Leaf: Large Leaf – Rolled into tight green balls
Origin: Anxi Province in Fujian
Characteristics: A pleasant, aromatic, refined and excellent example of a high-quality green tea
Serving Suggestions: A mellow tea that can be enjoyed at any time of day, with or without food
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Tie Guan Yin is an exceptionally fine quality Chinese Oolong green tea, which has a cleaner liquor than most other Chinese green teas. In our opinion, this is a stunning example of a green tea and one of the best available. Like many Chinese teas, the origin of Tie Guan Yin is steeped in legend. Guan Yin is the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and legend has it that a tea grower in the area would walk past an iron statue of her on his way to work each day. The tea grower began to take care of the statue, cleaning it and lighting incense. One night, in a dream, the goddess told him to look in a cave behind the temple for a treasure hidden there. The next day he looked and found a single tea shoot which he nurtured and cultivated. The tea that grew from this shoot became Tie Guan Yin (source: Jane Pettigrew)
Tie Guan Yin is a premium Oolong Tea which originated in the Anxi County in Fujian Province of China in the 1800’s. Its wonderful and delicate flavour is due to the way in which it is rolled and processed. The leaves are picked, sun-withered, cooled slightly, tossed to allow air to get to the leaves, hot-withered, ‘fixed’ (a process which stops oxidisation), rolled and then dried fully. This gives Tie Guan Yin its wonderful leaf type, and the classification ‘Top Fancy Oolong’. It’s one of my personal favourite teas.
There are two legends relating to Tie Guan Yin Tea, the Wei and the Wang legends. Wikipedia describe these two legends very well and the stories are as follows…
Deep in the heart of Fujian’s Anxi County, there was a rundown temple which held an iron statue of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Every day on the walk to his tea fields, a poor farmer named Mr. Wei would pass by and reflect on the temple’s worsening condition. “Something has to be done”, thought Mr. Wei.
Being poor, he did not have the means to repair the temple. Instead, the farmer brought a broom and some incense from his home. He swept the temple clean and lit the incense as an offering to Guanyin. “It’s the least I can do,” he thought to himself. Twice a month for many months, he repeated the same tasks.
One night, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream. Guanyin told him of a cave behind the temple where treasure awaited. He was to take the treasure and share it with others. In the cave, the farmer found a single tea shoot. He planted it in his field and nurtured it into a large bush, from which the finest tea was produced. He gave cuttings of this rare plant to all his neighbours and began selling the tea under the name Tieguanyin, Iron Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Over time, Mr. Wei and all his neighbours prospered; the rundown temple of Guanyin was repaired and became a beacon for the region. Mr. Wei took joy in the daily trip to his tea fields, never failing to stop in appreciation of the beautiful temple.
Wang was a scholar who accidentally discovered the tea plant beneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping. He brought the plant back home for cultivation. When he visited Emperor Qianlong in the 6th year of his reign, he offered the tea as a gift from his native village. Emperor Qianlong was so impressed that he inquired about its origin. Since the tea was discovered beneath the Guanyin Rock, he decided to call it Guanyin tea.