This tieguanyin is the top grade produced by the only family that still uses charcoal to roast oolongs here in Hong Kong. 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. This indicates the roast level isn't as high as with the other high roast tieguanyins I offer, and that 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.
This freshly roasted tieguanyin is dark and inviting in the cup. Stone fruit, berries and distinct spearmint all come to mind, and there is light background sourness as well. This tea has a lovely, full flavor. The roast has enhanced this tea, as it should, and tieguanyin are what this family have long been known for.
While I do detect some of the buttery popcorn notes from the Hong Kong (electric) roasted tieguanyin on the site, these notes are much less prevalent. Charcoal roasts seem to make for clean, crisp tea. This crispness is something I can't quite explain, but perhaps you'll see what I mean if you try this tea and compare it to the electric oven-roasted teas!
This tea left me with a nice, calm feeling, which was unexpected for a freshly roasted tieguanyin. This is a special tea and one I highly recommend you try, especially if you like the other high roast tieguanyins on offer here at TeaLife HK!