Best way to enjoy Tie Guan Yin ?
I have some spring TGY in transit from Verdant tea so I am wondering: which is the best way to brew it? My problem is – I’ve always been brewing it with boiling water sometimes western style, sometimes in gaiwan… and, even though the fragrance is always good, I find the taste lacking. Which is strange, because I clearly remember drinking a really good cup of TGY at a Go club some years ago, which did not have those problems… what should I do to emphasize the taste?
Hi Zeks. I use boiling or slightly cooler than boiling water for Tieguanyin. For best taste results make sure that your water is good, either freshly drawn and filtered with something like a Brita filer (I don’t know what you have in Russia), or use bottled spring water if it’s convenient. If you use a big kettle, fill it up with fresh water when you want to brew the tea. Avoid using water that has already been re-boiled over and over many times (like left over from drinking the previous day or evening); in my experience that water will taste very flat and stop absorbing tea flavors effectively.
My favorite way to brew TGY is in a small gaiwan (3 oz.), using about 2 teaspoons of leaf, do one immediate rinse with boiling water, then for the first several infusions brew short steeps of 2-5 seconds – pouring them off into a serving pitcher to drink. I start to increase brewing time by another 2-5 seconds around the 5th or 6th steeping depending on taste, and add more time with each following steeping. I usually end up steeping it this way 15+ times, or until I don’t feel like drinking any more.
This is the way I like it, and how we typically brew it at Verdant. The taste that develops is always really strong when we brew our TGY. I would encourage you to experiment and find out what you like best. Happy drinking!
If you don’t have the time to go through extensive process, I usually use a standard oolong temperature and when I’m at work its at 180 degrees for 3 minutes. Maybe I’m missing the beauty as our friends at Verdant steep it with a very detailed process, but it’s one of my favorite after lunch teas.
When I western steep I usually go around 180 like dpspaceman, and it’s delish!
But if I have the time, I always go for shorter steeps, but never boiling water (unless I’m getting to the 6th or 7th steep and it’s losing flavour.
That;s just me, but I suggest experimenting with water temps and steep times until you find your favorite way to enjoy a tieguanyin!
Except for using Gaiwan to brew Tie Guan Yin, another way is to choose Yixing teapot. As for Yixing teapot, it doesn’t take away the aroma of the tea, on the contrary, it can absorb tea aroma with the day went on. Tie Guan Yin needs high temperature to brew it, so Yinxing teapot is a good choice.
1:prepare 5-7 grams of Tie Guan Yin tea
2:rinse the tea
3:first infusion for 5 seconds, and the second time 15 seconds, Then with an additional 5 to 10 seconds are added to the steeping each time.
Also, there is an interesting way to calculate the brewing time:
Just need to pour the hot water on Yixing’s surface, when the water disappear, then you can enjoy it!
Here are more details about how to brew Tie Guan Yin:
If you find the flavor lacking, I would not go with cooler water. Stick to the hottest temperature possible. I agree with Geoffrey, the water quality might be lacking. I’ll repeat his advice: filter the tap water or use spring water, if available.
Another problem might be your dose. Maybe try using more leaves. For my 6oz yixing pot, I use two rounded tablespoons of tea.
One more thing to keep in mind. Higher quality, lightly roasted anxi teas, such as those from verdant, are usually on the more subtle side of the flavor spectrum, in my experience. There are rarely overpowering, dominant flavors to be found. Maybe you are used to a different type or quality of oolong tea?
Certainly a gaiwan or yixing teapot is the best way to enjoy a high grade Tie Guan Yin. Typically we always brew with boiling water to achieve the best results. Usually around 7-8g for a standard 150ml gaiwan.
Our example brewing times are available at: http://www.wanlingteahouse.com/section.php/156/1/tea-brewing-guide
Tie Guan Yin is incredibly versatile and usually very forgiving. Using a mid grade it is very easy to produce a great brew even in a travel cup (US terminology: travel tumbler) or even a standard large western tea mug.
The other very practical option is one of the Piao Yi / Gongfu one press cups. Great for the office or those wanting a convenient option to a gaiwan.
My advice is to experiment with the amount of tea you use, and the brew times. I often find that when I brew tea for the recommended amount of time, it’s weaker than I prefer. So I often let it go a minute (or two, depending on the type of tea) longer than recommended — and I get the result I’m seeking. I remember with Verdant’s autumn TGY, I let it go a minute longer, and I put in one extra half-teaspoon of tea into my brew basket, and I got a perfect (for me!) result.