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Hong Kong Charcoal Roasted Special Reserve Tieguanyin (50g)

Hong Kong Charcoal Roasted Special Reserve Tieguanyin (50g)

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This tieguanyin is a special reserve grade produced by the only family that still uses charcoal to roast oolongs here in Hong Kong. This Teochew family have been roasting tieguanyin since the 1960s, and I was honored to meet with the patriarch of the family yesterday. This tea is NOT available at retail level from the company and is only sold to those in the know, who can truly appreciate this kind of tieguanyin. This tea is considerably more expensive than the excellent Top Grade Tieguanyin I also offer, and the difference between the two grades is staggering!

This family have been continuously roasting tieguanyin in Hong Kong for over sixty years. This premium grade is for serious gongfu cha sessions, and like my other high roast tieguanyins from Hong Kong, is a taste of Fujianese tieguanyin culture from before the Cultural Revolution! 

I have purchased this tea in the past, and it aged surprisingly well for a high roast tieguanyin. The roast level isn't as high as with the other Hong Kong high roast tieguanyins I offer, and the leaf has enough durability to sustain both a high roast and several years of storage. My aged tieguanyin from this family is now truly lovely, and something I reserve for special occasions. The families that produce the other high roast tieguanyins I offer do not suggest aging their tea as the flavor will drop off over time due to the high roast level.

This freshly roasted tieguanyin is dark and inviting in the cup. The tea has lovely and subtle sweetness and bitterness on the palate, along with buttery roast notes, and classic medium oxidation tieguanyin flavor. This tea is much smoother than the top grade tieguanyin, and even has the almond notes I detect in the best Wuyicha and tieguanyin!

The first infusion of this tea was light: the second was much stronger, so make sure you adjust your infusion time accordingly as the tea needs time to wake up! The first infusion presented me with clear longan notes, which was very pleasant, and there was subtle and pleasant huigan with no sourness.

In the second and later infusions, much more complexity comes to the forefront, as well as some pleasant and balanced classic tieguanyin sourness. The mouthfeel is thicker and the tea liquor gets much darker! Spearmint notes arise, which are also present in the top grade tieguanyin. Both teas are from the same farm in Anxi, but are different grades. Some green tieguanyin notes come to the forefront as well, but you can tell the base material was excellent as the flavor is lovely! The almond is present after the swallow, and becomes more prominent in the liquor as the liquor cools.

The pictures are of the roasting arrangement: baskets of tea are placed on charcoal. The radiant heat from the charcoal was intense, especially on a very hot summer day. The baskets contained shuixian, which the family also produce, but unfortunately their shuixian pales in comparison to their tieguanyin!

Brewing suggestion: Full boil, with water of low hardness (15-35 mg/L, with 1-3 mg/L of magnesium). Rinse once. I like to fill my teapot or gaiwan up to 50% volume of dry leaf. Start with flash rinses, and extend the length of infusions as needed.

Volume discounts are available on this tea. Please contact me for details!

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