This tea sample came to me in a crisp, red and gold package with simple, symbolic instructions and the tea’s name: Huang Guan Yin or Yellow Goddess of Mercy. With a name like that, it certainly felt special to crack the seal on the red and gold foil and pour the lovely dark tea leaves into my teapot. The dry leaves smelled faintly musky, like newly-turned earth, but were otherwise very mild.
I did a little more research on brewing tips beyond the information on the package and found that this is a wuji oolong, meant to be steeped for a short period of time over a few sessions.
For the first brew, the leaves quickly turned the water dark. The brew smelled toasty and rich, like caramel and burnt sugar. I always tend to associate oolongs with the fruity, floral, green notes, but then I encounter a tea like this, heavily oxidized, and am reminded that some oolongs can be just as bold and dark as black teas.
Upon further steeping, the brew has stronger sweet rice and breakfast cereal tones among all the toasty caramel notes. The mouthfeel gets smoother with each steep, and brings out a oddly fruity note, a bit like raisins. Beneath all these flavors there is a musky depth, slightly sour and reminiscent of tobacco.
This was a delicious bold oolong, rich and full of complex and tasty flavors. Though the tea itself isn’t yellow, I still love the name, Yellow Goddess of Mercy. Have mercy on yourself after a long day and have a tea session with this oolong to help bring you comfort and solace.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Old Ways Tea
Also known as 105 this tea is a cross between Tie Guan Yin and Huang Jin Gui. The name Huang Guan Yin means Yellow Goddess of Mercy. This is the newest Wuyi oolong cultivar, having been introduced in 2003 by the Fujian Tea Research Institute.
Huang Guan Yin is interesting since in many ways it is one of the least traditional of the teas being produced in the Wuyi mountains. It is newly developed, and has genetic origins outside the original mountains. At the same time it is often packaged in a bag reading “Da Hong Pao” and processed in the same manner as the other Wuyi teas. The interplay between new and old provides for an interesting experience. Personally, I greatly enjoy this tea and when I can not decide which to brew will grab a bag of Huang Guan Yin.