This is an excellent high fire tieguanyin from one of Hong Kong's oldest tea companies. I have bought Wuyicha from this company for years, but never thought to try their tieguanyin until late last year, when I noticed they offered four grades. I decided to try their top grade, and I'm glad I did! This tea was roasted in 2016. The vendor does not suggest attempting to age this tea because of the high roast level (at this high of a roast level, the flavor drops off with time and the tea isn't anywhere near as pleasant to drink after a few years). Tieguanyin can be aged if it is at the right roast level, but too low or too high of a roast and the tea's flavor will drop off with age.
This tieguanyin is roasted in Hong Kong to the type of level that is traditionally popular with Hong Kong's older tea drinkers. This type of roast is very uncommon on the Mainland. I've actually never encountered this kind of roast level on the Mainland, but I have seen it in Taiwan (and the quality of the tea in that case was nowhere near as good). I am surprised at how good this tea is at its price point! The tea looks and smells wonderful. It isn't as highly roasted as the other Hong Kong-roasted tieguanyin I also offer, but it is quite close to that roast level. The dry leaves still have hints of green to them, which are almost entirely absent in the more expensive High Fire TGY.
The first infusion (after a rinse) offered up lovely color. The roast was darker than I initially thought it would be from looking at the dry leaves, but considering this vendor's roast style, I don't know why I expected a lighter roast.
The tea tastes of buttered popcorn from the roast, which is well balanced with the classic, old school tieguanyin flavor. The tea is slightly sour, but at a pleasant and entirely tolerable level (like the HK-roast tieguanyin I offer, which is very popular). A hint of sourness is traditionally desirable and expected in tieguanyin, and is not considered a flaw at all. It is considered a characteristic of true tieguanyin! There is slightly more green base material character to this tea than with the Hong Kong-roasted tieguanyin, which is pleasant. This hint of freshness started to peek through in the second infusion.
There is nothing at all unpleasant about this tea, which was a great surprise since it is so reasonably priced. When I realized how good this tea was for the money, it absolutely made my day! The vendor's Wuyicha is much more expensive, but all of the vendor's teas are excellent in my opinion. The dealer is definitely known for consistent quality, and has been for almost seventy years. The surprising price-to-quality ratio of this tea makes it my recommendation for an everyday drinker for those who don't want to spend more to drink the other HK-roasted tieguanyin, or for those who just like variety. This tea costs less than half as much as the other High Fire TGY. The high fire tieguanyin is more flavorful, in my opinion, indicating better base material, but I would be happy to drink both teas every day. Try both tieguanyins and see what you think!
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.