TeaSource Exclusive! Only 12 kilograms made of this one-time only experimental tea! Available in 4 oz. quantities only. Click here to buy!
The Tieguanyin Project, Spring 2021
Produced on May 2, 2021 by Daniel Hong. The material was harvested from the west side of the Bamboo Tea Garden in Lutian Village, Anxi county, Fujian. The exact translation for Tieguanyin is “Iron Goddess of Mercy” and the loose pronunciation is “tee-gwan-yin.” By definition these teas are made from the Tieguanyin cultivar. Anxi county is home to this revered and respected tea.
What is the Tieguanyin Project?
Daniel Hong is not satisfied with the Tieguanyin teas he’s been finding lately and decided to create one himself. But you can’t make a banjo roll the first time you pick it, so this is going to be a journey. He’s looking to capture what he refers to as “Guanyin Charm” - which can be loosely described as having a fruit/flower aroma with heavy body – almost like you could eat it. He doesn’t feel like he achieved that here, not even close, though we feel he did achieve a respectable fruit/floral aroma. But the point of an experiment is to test your hypothesis. It’s an invaluable lesson for us to experience the progress along the way. This is a continuous experiment, with the next round scheduled to be produced in the fall of 2021.
A few notes on this tea
Lutian village is referred to as a “high mountain” area, which means it’s elevation reaches/exceeds 3,000 feet. He used tea from the west side of the mountain, because this will provide it with afternoon sun, which should give it a better aroma. The Bamboo Tea Garden gets its name from the bamboo forest that grows nearby.
Before and after the kill-green step, he employs a “stacking” technique, which involves piling up tea leaves in a big covered basket, which increases the temperature to improve fermentation. Fermentation should be thought of as an overall agent of “change” rather than being strictly oxidation or microbial in nature.
Next time he’s going to try a different tea garden (in hopes of better material) and a factory with better equipment (to dial in those nuances). Here’s a couple thoughts directly from him:
“May 2 was a sunny day, outdoor withering goes quite well and the indoor temperature stay at 20 °C for whole night which is quite good for oolong fermentation. In order to make an experiment we divided 100kg raw leaves into two lot and apply different craft especially for the “Shaking”, one applied 8 minutes and another one 13m, the result is 8m win. I document the whole process including temperature, humidity (indoor & outdoor), wind direction etc.”
Excellent floral/apricot aroma! Fresh mouthfeel. Brisk fruity character. The flavor lingers long afterwards with many scene changes along the way.
Western Steeping: 3 grams, boiling water, 5 minutes
Traditional Steeping: 8 grams in a 150 ml gaiwan (or teapot), use boiling water and steep as follows:
- 10 second rinse (discard this steep)
- 1st Steep – 15 seconds
- 2nd Steep – 20 seconds
- 3rd Steep – 30 seconds
- 4th Steep – 50 seconds
- 5th Steep – 90 seconds
- (Or steep it however you want)