The Tea Table: Fine Ti Kuan Yin
(Today’s Post is a guest post is from Wes Murdock, editor of Tyros Of Tea)
Ti Kuan Yin (Ti Guan Yin or Iron Goddess of Mercy) is lightly oxidized oolong tea, that is characterized as being close to a green tea. While the descriptions on the packaging and the website differ (with the packaging being a better description), one thing is for sure: this tea tastes like a Ti Kuan Yin.
The reason I make that statement, is that the website I bought this tea from had me leery of their product. The prices of their loose leaf teas are generally quite low. The prices of the teas is also determined by how much you buy, the more ounces of tea you buy, the cheaper each ounce is. Because of the low prices, I decided to buy many teas I have not tried, as well as teas I knew well. As Ti Kuan Yin is one of my very favorite teas, I felt that it would be a good gauge of quality.
To brew the tea, I used the same process as I do with the rest of my oolongs, using a glass gaiwan, poured into a small glass pitcher, and drank it with a porcelain tea cup. The water was filtered and heated with an electric kettle to 180 degrees, and brewed for 2 and a half minutes for the first steep, and 3 minutes for the second.
This tea didn’t knock my socks off, but it was good. It did not have a flavor that lingered for a long period of time, nor did it have quite as round and beautiful flavor as many other I have had. The tea though gets extra points for being so inexpensive ($1.75 for an ounce). The tea is a wonderful way to introduce someone to Ti Kuan Yins and oolongs, as it has the base flavors without all the complexities that can get lost through improper brewing or treatment. They also offer more expensive and higher quality Ti Kuan Yins such as a “Monkey-Picked” ($16.80 per ounce) and their “Superior” ($4.25 per ounce).