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2016 Low Oxidation Anxi Tieguanyin Oolong Silver Grade (15g)

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Description

This tieguanyin is from one of Hong Kong's oldest tea companies. I find this particular dealer's tieguanyin and liu an to be consistently good value, even though they are most famous for their pu erh (as most Hong Kong tea companies are). This is the second highest grade of tieguanyin the dealer offers--the higher grade costs twice as much, and I have yet to try it!


This dealer's tieguanyin is always better value than tieguanyin I've purchased on the mainland, which often leaves me feeling nauseous and is flawed in some way. This tea is lovely all around. It is clean and balanced and there is nothing whatsoever unpleasant about this tea. It is floral and vegetal in the first infusion, and there is no bitterness or sourness unless the tea is pushed hard, even when brewing at full boil. This tea isn't the nuclear green TGY sometimes encountered on the mainland; this tea is slightly more oxidized than the kind that is dried with airconditioners for the Mainland Chinese market.

What I find interesting about this tieguanyin is how it varies from infusion to infusion. After the first infusion, there is pronounced huigan (returning sweetness) and a fig-like note that I get from good Wuyicha. That kind of complexity is never encountered in lower-grade tieguanyin. The huigan persists into the third infusion, where I also get a balanced sour note. Tieguanyin drinkers in this part of the world expect some characteristic sourness from their tieguanyin, but too much sourness can be highly unpleasant. This tea always stays balanced and pleasant.

The fourth infusion in the pictures above gave me a fresh milk-like note like you might expect in some phenotypical expressions of the jinxuan cultivar. I found this very interesting, as I rarely encounter the milk note in tieguanyin.

This tea went six infusions in the session in the pictures. A few stems made it through sorting (perhaps intentionally). Tieguanyin stems are known to soften a brew and different producers have different methods of dealing with stems; sometimes all of the stems are removed and sometimes a few are left behind to balance things out. I got fig and almond in the last infusion, along with balanced sweet and sour all the way to the end. That kind of complexity and flavor was really very welcome and not something I expected when drinking this kind of low oxidation tieguanyin. I hope to try their highest grade of tieguanyin soon and if it meets my standards (I have no doubt it will), I will offer it here on the site.

While the leaves aren't all whole or flawless by any means, the liquor produced is excellent for the money with none of the discomfort I sometimes get from Anxi tieguanyin I've purchased on the Mainland. I don't normally drink green tieguanyin, but this vendor's tieguanyin is something I'm always happy to drink!

My brewing suggestions for this tea are to just cover the bottom of a preheated teapot or gaiwan with dry balled leaf. Rinse with water off the boil. Each infusion should be made with water at full boil. I start with infusions of 40 seconds to a minute, and increase the length of each successive infusion by 10-20 seconds from there.

Please note: most traditional Hong Kong tea merchants do not offer discounts on volume until I am purchasing several kilograms at a time, and in some cases, no discounts are offered at all, even for ten kilos of a single tea or more. For this reason, I cannot offer a discount on larger purchases at this time.

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