1.5 tsp for 250mL water @90C, Western style, drunk bare.

I know, that’s a lot of leaf for one cup of water. I am being greedy.

I adore tieguanyin. My three favourite oolongs are tiguanyin, Red Robe, and Quangzhou milk. I cannot pick just one of these. Oolong heaven.

1st infusion, steeped 3 minutes.

Lots of leaf and a longish steep for an oolong. The leaves are a brilliant green, as if just picked. I have never seen such bright green tea leaves in my life. The scent is potent, with that slightly sharp and floral sweetness that defines tiguanyin. The liquor is a bright pale green. The notes of grass, fruit, orchid, and even cream are ravishing.

2nd infusion, steeped four minutes.

Leaves are slightly less brilliant but still brighter than any other oolong I’ve seen. Liquor is tending more to pale yellow than green. Body is heavier, and I probably steeped this infusion too long; much more and I’d be getting that bitter, soapy edge abused oolong can give up. Orhid notes from start to finish, and a juicy, almost fuzzy mouthfeel: this tea tastes nothing like peaches, but it feels like peaches.

I cannot comment on how this compares to a spring tigaunyin, because I’ve only ever tried two other tieguanyins, and I don’t know when they were harvested. I can say this is the best tieguanyin I’ve drunk … and even bad tieguanyin is better than almost anything else.

Oh, Iron Goddess of Mercy, thank you.

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Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE. New novel this March called THIS MARLOWE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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