Level One Oolong

Level One Oolong, Tie Guanyin.

Level One Oolong, Dark Roast, from Yin xiang hua xia tea. Origin: Anxi; Season: Autumn; Harvest elevation: 1200-1500m.

Working my way through green teas, it seems I cannot resist the siren call of Oolong!

There are different types of Oolong, but the most well known is called Tie Guanyin, also sometimes called Iron Goddess of Mercy. According to one of the legends of this type of tea’s origins, a humble tea farmer in Anxi County, Fujian, China, noticed a local temple had fallen into disrepair. He took it upon himself to clean it up, sweep it out, and then offer some incense to the goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. Shortly thereafter, the Goddess appeared to him in a dream. She told him that in the cave behind her temple a treasure awaited that he needed to share with others. When he investigated, he found the shoot of a tea tree. He planted the shoot in his field and nurtured it, the tea it produced was amazing! He gave cuttings of the tree to his neighbors far and wide. When all the tea trees came to fruition, they began selling it under the name “Tie Guanyin” to honor the goddess.

Whenever I’ve seen “Iron Goddess of Mercy” tea on a restaurant menu, I order it, I mean, who could resist such a name?

So I’ve sampled a few over the years.

But, I can’t say I’ve ever had any that even comes close to this one from
Yin xiang hua xia tea.

This is a darkly roasted Tie Guanyin. The base of the flavors and smells are similar to dark roasted grain, a bit like a dark beer or Japanese roasted barley tea. On top of that are layers of sweetness and orchid fragrance which perfume the tea pot and cup. The fragrance/taste of the tea is long lasting and haunting, but the perfume is not overpowering. Super elegant and incredibly well balanced.

Easily among the best Oolongs I have had so far.

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