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Ti Kuan Yin

Blue Spring Oolong Tea from Imperial Tea Garden

Blue_Spring_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Description:

In rural China, Blue Spring Oolong is commonly referred to as the compassionate oolong tea.  The name stems from ancient folklore of Guan Yin the Iron Goddess of Mercy, of which this now famous Ti Kuan Yin style tea was named.  Legend has it that drought stricken villagers offered a passing stranger some water.  With the compassionate offering, Guan Yin revealed her true identity and spilled the water into the dry earth and a blue spring appeared miraculously.  In honor of their benevolent Bodhisattva, the Fujian villagers began adding blue mallow flowers to represent the crystal blue spring water.

Blue Spring Oolong’s smooth and mellow character will enhance any tea party. The compassionate nature of this tea make it suitable for gathering with old friends and making new ones.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a lovely little Oolong blend.  The dry leaf is BEAUTIFUL with the purple blossoms that are tossed along with the Oolong tea leaves.

Even though I don’t always infuse my Oolong blends in my gaiwan, I decided to go with a gaiwan brewing for this particular blend because the blend looked more like an Oolong tea than flowers to me.  I don’t know if that’s a suitable reason for my choice, but that’s the excuse I’m going with.  That and I like using my gaiwan.  I like to watch the tightly wound pellets of Oolong tea dance around in the hot water as they unfurl and release their flavor.

My first cup was the combination of infusions one and two following a 15 second rinse.  This cup was delicate with a flavor that was predominately floral with lingering honey-esque notes.  In the distance, I could taste some hints of roasted nuts, but, it was a very distant flavor in this cup.  I suspected that I’d become more acquainted with these flavors in later infusions.

Indeed!  The second cup had stronger notes of that sweet, nutty flavor, but even stronger than the nutty flavors were the intensified floral notes.  The honey-like notes were showing signs of softening.  This cup was really all about the flower!  Slightly sharp, but not unpleasant at all, it had a very beautiful character to it, something that evoked thoughts of springtime in Southern California, when the jacaranda trees are in full bloom.

The second cup was where I started noticing the creaminess emerge, and I like the way the creamy notes melded with the nutty flavors to offer a sweet, creamy taste that was slightly nutty and slightly toasted.  The floral notes seemed to give this dimension an almost vanilla-like flavor.

By the third cup (infusions 5 and 6), I noticed the unification of the nutty flavors with the honey and floral tones.  It became a very fluid, seamless type of flavor, very silky and luxurious to drink.

This tea offered a very enjoyable Oolong experience – it’s one I’d be more than happy to experience again … and again!

Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea from Ocean of Tea

ti-kuan-yinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Ocean of Tea

Tea Description:

Ti Kuan Yin is the most famous Chinese Oolong tea with a great orchid aroma and finish. This tea is nice, light and has a hint of dried apricot. 

Our tea is hand-harvested from the Wu-Yi tea bush and made by using traditional crafting techniques developed in China’s Fujian province. The leaves are tightly rolled and you can get 3-4 good infusions out of the same leaves. Affordably priced, this is a great tea to drink with company.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to receive my package from Ocean of Tea which included this Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea.  A new to me tea company!  Yay!  I’m always eager to try teas from a company whose teas I’ve not yet sampled.

This Ti Kuan Yin is very much like what I’d expect from a high quality Oolong of this type.  The leaves are tightly wound and smell lightly vegetal and floral.  The liquid produced is a pale yellow-green.  And it tastes so good!

I brewed this Oolong the way I’d normally approach an Oolong:  using my gaiwan, I steep using short steeps, starting with 45 seconds following a 15 second rinse.  Each subsequent infusion had an additional 15 seconds added on to the steep time.  I combine the results of the first two infusions to create my first cup, and my second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … and so on!

The first cup usually offers the softest flavor, but, given the flavors in this cup, I find myself greatly anticipating the cups that will follow.  There is a lot of flavor to what should be a “delicate” tasting cup of tea.  This is delightfully floral with subtle notes of stone fruit.  The description above suggests hints of apricot, and that’s what I’m tasting.  I’m surprised to taste it this soon into the tea experience, though, usually the fruit notes of a Ti Kuan Yin are slow to emerge.  This one is ready to greet you with all it’s complex flavors!

My second cup of this tea was the most flavorful of the three cups I enjoyed of this tea.  It was creamy and I could taste notes of orchid and vanilla.  It had a really pleasant smoothness to it.  The floral tones were not sharp, they were soft and silky.  The aforementioned apricot notes are sweet and add a really nice dimension to this Ti Kuan Yin.

With my third and final cup of this tea, I noticed the flavors beginning to wane slightly.  The flavors have become unified and smooth.  The vanilla notes are there but they aren’t as creamy and the floral tones are somewhat subdued.  This is a very enjoyable cup and I’m enjoying the seamless flavors.

A really good Ti Kuan Yin and a very happy tea experience with this new-to-me tea company!  I’m glad I got to try this!

Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

TiKuanYinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

Our Ti Kuan Yin is an elegant Chinese oolong that produces a light floral aroma from a pale golden liquor. When steeped, the tightly rolled leaves will unfurl into large green leaves with a rich flavor that can be enjoyed several times. Ti Kuan Yin provides a light nutty flavor with a soft, vegetal notes and a smooth, buttery end. This high-quality tea is best served hot.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

Until recently with their Organic Gunpowder Green Tea, I have only tried Simple Loose Leaf’s flavored tea offerings.  But given how wonderful that Gunpowder was, I had no doubt in my mind that this Ti Kuan Yin would be just as lovely.  And it is.

I approached the brewing of this Oolong the same way I would brew most any other Oolong – in my gaiwan!  My gaiwan sure has taken quite a beating.  I have a gaiwan a lot like this one, and I noticed recently that it has a small chip on the pour spout.  Perhaps it’s time to start shopping for a new one!

I used short steeps and combined the first two infusions (after a quick rinsing of the leaves) to create the first cup, and from the very first sip, I was in love with this Ti Kuan Yin!  It is so sweet and buttery!  It has a lovely floral tone (orchid!), but it isn’t sharp the way some Oolong floral notes can taste.  It is very smooth, as if the sharpness has been softened by the buttery notes.  I think I even taste hints of vanilla in the background, as well as an apple-like flavor.

SimpleLooseLeafMarch
Just look at this tea goodness that I received in my March Selection Club box from Simple Loose Leaf! Awesome!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) is not quite as soft and buttery as the first was, but, it is still quite lovely.  The floral notes are soft and there are some vegetative notes beginning to emerge.  The aforementioned apple notes are also coming forward, offering mostly a sweet apple note but there are hints of tart apple too, especially in the aftertaste.

Later infusions became more unified in flavor – offering notes of flower, fruit, vegetation and subtle hints of vanilla and cream, but all these flavors were subdued and seemed to meld together in a seamless way.  Still delicious – just different.

A very enjoyable Ti Kuan Yin experience, thanks to my Simple Loose Leaf subscription!  I highly recommend their Selection Club subscription program.  It’s a great way to get your tea fix!  Use this code:  SISTERSELECTION25 and get a 25% discount when you sign up for the selection club.  This discount is not applicable on the retail selection of teas, and is only good for the selection club subscription.

Organic Superfine Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess) Oolong Tea from Teavivre

organicsuperfinetieguanyin

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Tie Guan Yin tea is a type of Oolong tea, and is – deservedly – one of the most revered and sought after type tea in China. Sometimes also written as Ti Kuan Yin or Iron Goddess Oolong Tea. With a delightfully fresh floral taste. It is well-known both inland and abroad. You will certainly be surprised with the distinct orchid fragrance of this Organic Superfine Tie Guan Yin. Meanwhile the liquid of this Oolong tea is transparent and bright, which truly is a feast to the eyes. In taste, this Organic Tie Guan Yin has sweet flavor, long-last fragrance and comfortable sweet aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Organic Superfine Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from Teavivre (also known as Iron Goddess), is lovely – really lovely indeed.  Sweet, crisp in flavor, with delightful floral overtones.

The dry leaves look very much like other Tie Guan Yin teas I’ve encountered – the leaves have been tightly wound into pellets.  These pellets seem smaller than a typical Tie Guan Yin, and the color is a very vivid, dark forest green.  Beautiful!  The aroma is vegetative, reminding me of springtime when the air is filled with the scent of new, green growth and notes of flower.

Ordinarily, I combine the first two infusions for my first cup, but today, I wanted to try the first infusion on its own.  So, after a quick fifteen second rinse, I infused the leaves for 45 seconds and enjoyed the tea.  My first infusion was quite light in flavor.  Sweet, with delicate floral tones and a hint of creaminess to the taste and texture.

The second cup – the combination of the second and third infusions – is much creamier, sweeter and has a heady floral essence that says “orchid!”  I can taste a vanilla-esque note to this.  There isn’t a strong vegetative taste to this cup, but I do notice some vegetation off in the background.  Beautifully sweet, this cup!

The third cup – which is the combination of the fourth and fifth infusions – is a bit lighter in texture than the second, but not quite as crisp as the first.  There is a certain brightness to this cup, I can almost taste a hint of citrus to this.  Not quite a “fruit-like” flavor, but the acidic nature of the citrus is what I notice, and this offers a nice contrast to the sweet, floral tones.  Still quite sweet, the flavors are beginning to meld here, becoming more unified and less distinct.

This is really a lovely Tie Guan Yin … if you’ve only room on your tea shelf for one Tie Guan Yin, this should definitely be one that you consider for that coveted spot!  This one is top-notch!

Monkey Picked Oolong from Red Leaf Tea

Monkey Picked-Oolong from Red Leaf Tea
Monkey Picked-Oolong from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Deep in the forests of Southern China, tea leaves are still harvested by hand from wild tea trees. These are considered to be gourmet, premium teas among the Chinese, and there is always a light body, a delicate clarity, and an earthy nature to the brews of these leaves that is never found elsewhere. At one time, tradition says, the monks of a certain temple, desirous of harvesting more of these wild tree leaves at a quicker pace, trained dozens of monkeys to climb to the tops of the tea trees and pick the youngest leaves and pekoe buds up there! These monkey-picked leaves were then converted into oolong tea, the monk’s favored beverage. Today, Chinese tea drinkers call the very best oolong teas made from wild tree leaves, “Monkey-Picked,” even though more reliable methods of harvesting are now employed. Premium “Monkey-Picked” Oolong is rare, labor-intensive, and extremely delicate in flavor. It can be brewed for multiple infusions, with many declaring that the second steeping is the best! “Monkey-Picked” Ooloong has an extremely complex bouquet, with an earthiness in the brew usually found only in aged Pu Erh tea! Known to the Chinese as Ti Kuan Yin tea, or Goddess Tea, this ultimate oolong is a rare treasure for our Red Leaf customers! Try some today!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I am a huge fan of oolong tea. Money Picked Oolong from Red Leaf Tea is a great one! The price is more than fair for this quality tea. At 7.99 per ounce it is robust with fruity juicy flavors and deep earthiness. The aroma is intoxicating and inviting. You can taste and smell ripely sweetened berries, and a caramelized sugar flavor that is just outstanding!

There is a slight rock mineral flavor that is not drying at all, rather quenching which I find interesting because mineral flavors are generally drying on my palate. This is a welcome and unique experience .

The flavors linger on the palate for quite a long time, beckoning me to take another sip, yet as I am generally one to drink my teas rather quickly, there is something that makes me just want to sit back and allow the flavors to meld over my palate, and just enjoy the after taste.

The color of the cup is delightful, deep golden orange almost verging on an amber color. Very cheerful to look at, and even more joyful to savor.

Red Leaf Tea is my “go to” place for straight and flavored matcha, but don’t overlook their abundant selection of straight and flavored teas!

I tend to be a big fan of Dong Ding Oolong, but this Monkey Picked Oolong from Red Leaf Tea my just be winning my top spot for oolong love!