If anyone is curious, Tie Guan Yin Oolong is by far my favorite tea. I first discovered it my freshman year of high school when I worked at a coffee and tea shop, but at that time it was sold as Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong and it took me a year or two to realize they were the same tea. Tie Guan Yin has the amazing properties to soothe my spirits and body whenever they are off, which is perfect because today I am certainly not on top of my game.
When I find a new tea store the first thing I do is look at its Oolongs ‘does it have Tie Guan Yin…does it have Tie Guan Yin I can afford?’ are the questions I ask. Alas I am but a poor tea lover and Tie Guan Yin is the most expensive tea in the world. Today we are exploring the ins and outs of Upton Tea Import’s Tie Guan Yin First Grade (not to be mistaken for their second grade, special grade, seasonal, and black) from China (and I am assuming Fujian). One of my biggest complaints with a lot of tea companies (Upton is sadly included in this one) is lack of information, what time of year was this picked? What region? Traditional or Green? It is the little things that my information obsessed mind craves and without these facts I have to try to solve the puzzle on my own.
The aroma is wonderful, a mix of orchids and chestnuts mixed with a gentle warmth and spice. The spice is not strong and is more of a memory of an aroma after the others have faded. The chestnut aroma gives the tea a sweet and roasted quality that is intoxicating when mixed with the floral notes. Overall the aroma is heady and lulls me into a relaxed state.
Once brewed the aroma just fills up the area…and I was sitting outside when I brewed this tea! In all seriousness I popped inside for a moment and when I came back the whole porch smelled of roasting chestnuts, orchids, honeysuckles, sweetness, and a hint of almonds. The roasted notes gave it an almost Hojicha quality. The liquid smelled much the same with more floral and less chestnut, and the liquid is beautiful.
The taste is ever so slightly honey sweet with a gentle floral touch. There is also a very vegetal taste to the teas as well, especially as it cools, similar to the way green bean water tastes. Only very mildly roasted tasting which was a tiny bit disappointing since I prefer my Tie Guan Yins to be roasty more than green, but the teas is still very good! It is also noticeably mild and relaxing, which is perfect for me at the moment. I think my biggest over all opinion is it reminds me of late spring time with blooming flowers and the air is warm, giving everything that sun kissed taste. I certainly recommend and look forward to trying all the other Tie Guan Yin Oolongs from Upton Teas.