Tieguanyin is one of the most famous Chinese teas. Due to the special "Tieguanyin" cultivar, specific natural factors, as well as the skillfulness of the tea master, this tea has a unique aroma and taste. This cultivar is also grown in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand, however, the Anxi version is most authentic and unique. Nowadays it is very hard to find the traditional version since the 'Qing Xiang' variation became so popular. Local producers are focused on the market and each year production of authentic versions becomes less. This version brings back those noble characteristics of exquisite, elegant, and delicate. I'm honoured to present you the Traditional Tieguanyin and give you a chance to try the tea, which made this name so popular.
First of all, look at these tea leaves perfectly rolled in tiny balls. This special shape, well-known among connoisseurs of high-quality teas, is a mark of the Anxi area. After a few rinses, they will open up and showcase whole beautiful leaves. But before that, it's very important to appreciate the aroma of the dry leaves by warming them with our breath. It's hard to describe this kind of aroma as it is something between fresh vegetables and baked seeds or nuts.
The next step is to rinse your tea with water, to wash and wake up your tea. I usually use a little bit of cooled-down water and leave the tea for 10-20 seconds. This will not affect the brewing process but will prepare the tea leaves for the next infusion, as well as make the taste more distinct. The spherically rolled teas always need more time to open. Right after the first rinse, it's time to appreciate the tea leaf's aroma once again. Now, we have a completely changed fragrance profile. Bright, clear, with notes of walnut and herbs. Don't forget to smell the tea leaves after each infusion. The smell will change and will bring out new notes and associations.
By the way, when using different amounts of tea leaves, you can get a wide variety of aromas and tastes. I'm using about 5g in 100ml of water, brewing it Pin Cha style. Water temperature ~95°C. When dealing with wulongs, all nuances play a big role. The colour of the infusion is yellow-bronze. This colour is special and detects the right level of oxidation of the tea leaf. Gentle taste with honey, flowery and baked notes. Very sweet and long aftertaste. The light taste can remind of orchid aroma, which is very soft and delicate.
Tieguanyin paid a big price for its popularity. First of all, when it became very popular, producers started to simplify the process, and tea lost its uniqueness. The second reason, even more sad - due to the chemical fertilisation, in the early 2000's Tieguanyin was pronounced as the most toxic tea. Even nowadays the amount of organic Tieguanyin is very little.