Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2006 Tie Guan Yin

For information on the religious/spiritual and mythical background of Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess/Bodhisattva of Mercy), take a look here.

Before we get started, let me just say, oh my Bodhisattva this tea, the second sample from Just4Tea, was good. I have hitherto been disappointed with TGY; I have brewed samples some from various places and from various price ranges, but it always left me wanting.

The bouquet was complex, layered. The dry leaf aroma was of roasted sugar cane with a fruity presence. After I rinsed the leaves the smell of chocolate was so strong I could taste it, feel it on the sides of my tongue. And after the first infusion a charcoal tang emerged, confirming that this was indeed a high or higher roasted TGY.

I use 6 grams/150 ml, 5 s rinse, 35 s, 45 s, 70 s, 100 s.

The first infusions are as elaborate and effervescent as the bouquet. The first steeping has a familiar fruit I can't place at first. Lots of cacao a la shuixian, and I check the package and sure enough this tea is Fujian. There are also traces of a greener TGY present. On the last sip I place the fruit, peach, similar but not as strong as what you would find in a dan chong. The second infusion has more chocolate, but the peach is gone. I can taste a bit of the charcoal. A hint of the peachiness returns in the third and the fourth, while the charcoal and cacao diminish. I think there was enough life left in the leaves for a fifth and sixth steep, but this was my third tea session for the day, so I called it quits.

The wet leaves feel thick, coarse, not as supple as other rolled oolongs.

As I said in the beginning, I liked this tea a lot, the different flavors that would shift back and forth or come at you all at once, one after the other. Its similarities to other oolongs that I love while retaining its own TGY character, make this a sort of "best of..." tea. This is the first free sample I've received that I like well enough to buy more of.


Brent said...

Mmm, that sounds good. I have yet to try a high-fire TGY, aside from aged ones. Maybe I'll try out this bad boy...

Thanks for the review,

Anonymous said...

I've been lucky enough to be treated to a few infusions of this tea, and it is now one of my favorites. I highly recommend it. I agree with everything Alex described so much better than I could. (Normally I just say "Mmmmm!") Great review for a great tea.

Maria Goodavage,
San Francisco

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you got a good TGY. If you can aged for another 2 years, the coal/fire should mellow down. And you might have a great surprise! Enjoy - Toki

Salsero said...

Generally I have trouble with roasted oolongs, but in a fit of exhuberance, I ordered 8 oz of this with the idea (as Toki suggests) of aging it for 2 years or more. The tea arrived today and I was crestfallen when I opened it and saw the burnt, dry leaves. Nevertheless, (after drinking a bowl of matcha for courage) I brewed up a mug following Alex's parameters.

As determined as I was to hate the tea, it was really pretty nice. I am even thinking of getting a little more to drink while the rest ages! I never would have ordered were it not for your review.

Space Samurai said...

Excellent Sal!