After checking the top rated Ti Kuan Yin’s in Steepster, I decided to give this one a try. I ordered the tea from the website and received it just a few days later packed in a nice airtight tin.
The dry leaves were tightly curled into big dark jade “balls.” The leaves felt slightly oily to the touch and had a very flowery smell to them.
I prepared the tea using a gaiwan following the suggested brewing guidelines of 30 sec steep time and using 195F water.
The resulting brew gave me a light yellow-green cup with a seaweed-floral aroma. The taste was very light during the first 3 cups with a clean fresh green taste, subtle floral flavor, and a hint of creaminess. I increased the steep time from 30 secs to 2-5 mins for each subsequent steep, this gave me a more flavorful cup and a darker green-yellow brew. The taste remained almost the same but just more pronounced and slightly creamier.
Overall, you can tell this Ti Kuan Yin is of very high quality; the wet leaves are mostly complete with few signs of damage (I would guess about 90% of the leaves are almost intact, while the rest are either broken or contain stems) and the tea gave me many consecutive steepings without losing any flavor (I steeped it 7 times then discarded the leaves, but I’m sure this tea can be infused even more than that). Flavor-wise I wasn’t very convinced with this tea as it was too “green” for my own taste. I also felt this tea was pretty straight forward and could not find any of the complexities others have raved about. On a positive note, I was impressed on how many cups I made with a single teaspoon of leaves and even after all those steepings, the flavor was still there without any signs of fading. I’d recommend steeping this tea longer than the recommended 30 seconds for a more flavorful cup. While not my favorite of the TKY’s I have, it is quite unique and I will give it another chance using longer steep times.