Ingredients From: China
Region(s): Fujian Province
Shipping Port(s): Fuzhou
Grade(s): Ti Kuan Yin Special
Growing Altitudes: 1500 – 4900 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type(s): Semi fermented, Traditional process, Small batch crafted and formed.
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
Luxury Ingredients: 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: Traditional method (see note below): When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly – about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180°F/82°C**. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon in your cup, briefly infuse with freshly boiled water and then pour off. Re-infuse the tea and pour after about 1 minute or longer to taste and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment – do not remove the leaves from the cup. Adding milk and sugar is not recommended. Once the water level is low – add more water, and so on and so on – until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.
Modern Method: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz/200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Adding milk or sugar is not recommended.
**Note: Traditionally, the recommendation has been that oolong tea be brewed at 180°F/82°C. Regretfully, modern society makes it necessary to consider that water may not be free of harmful bacteria and other impurities. Therefore you need to boil water to kill bacteria. If you wish to use traditional brewing temperatures bring the water to a boil and allow it to cool to the desired brewing temperature – it’s the food safe thing to do!
Iced tea brewing method (Pitcher): (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves or removing the tea bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
Iced tea brewing method (Individual Serving): Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea into a teapot for each serving required. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 6-7oz/170-200ml per serving over the tea. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the leaves or removing the tea bags. Not all of the tea will fit, allowing for approximately an additional ½ serving. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
Ideal Brewing Temperature: 100ºC/212ºF. Minimum Brewing Temperature: 90ºC/194ºF.