This is my first experience with any Tie Guan Yin. So what happens now? Do I get inducted into the Brother and Sisterhood of Tea? Am I knighted, given the Order of the Dragon? Any of that? No?
Well, I like this anyway. I was surprised opening my oolong sampler pack from Teavivre when this one was vacuum-packed amongst the other regular-looking samples in the normal Teavivre large zip pack. Another surprise as I opened the sample itself: it was in yet another smaller clear plastic pack inside the foil pack! You can tell they wanted to take care of this tea. It already has a scent of cooked vegetables, artichoke, I think, and that’s when dry! I can also pick up a little sweet floral and a roasted/fired scent.
As usual, I followed Teavivre’s recommendations of using the whole sample (7g) for 200-250ml of boiling water and steeps of 1, 2 and 3 minutes.
1st steep: The wet leaf is strongly scented: buttery vegetables (artichoke and long-cooked greens), vanilla and orchid. In the cup it’s a light yellow-green and has a broth-like feel to it with a slight astringency. I get flavors of buttery vanilla and orchid with notes of vegetable and mineral.
2nd steep: The leaves pretty much filled the normally generous-sized infuser basket in my teapot, so it was a little tough to judge how much water I was pouring in. As it turned out I poured just right. It’s now a golden color in the cup and feels lighter. The astringency is stronger this time, but not too strong. I don’t get vanilla this time around, but it’s still really buttery with orchid and vegetable flavors. The mineral note is quite a bit stronger too, taking over much of the middle and finish of each sip. That’s not something I’ve had so strongly before, at least not that I’ve noticed. This is a mentally-awakening cup of tea, and that’s always a good thing!
3rd steep: Check it out! I actually got to a 3rd steep! I actually turned over the leaves in the strainer, moving the ones on top to the bottom so that the water would reach them better. I think as a result, this cup was very much like the 2nd steep.
4th steep: I can hardly believe I’m writing this. A fourth steep! Thanks, ashmanra for the commission comment below. :) But everyone, given my track record for not being able to take teas to even a third steep, I think I deserve at least a “Most Improved” ribbon! I had this cup with dinner, so I wasn’t focusing on it so much. But it was still noticeably floral and buttery with the mineral center, even though it had a thinner feel this time.
I liked this. I had read about Tie Guan Yin before, and notes of iodine, mineral, salmon and flint were mentioned. It didn’t sound too appealing to me, but everyone and his dog has had several different TGYs in their tea logs, so I had to try it. Since I got Teavivre’s oolong sampler, I chose to have this organic version first because the “Monkey Picked” version looks like one I’ll like even more. Now I’m really looking forward to it!