I love a good oolong, and I love ti kwan yin more than most oolongs. Just to clarify for those not well versed in Chinese geography, Anxi is an area in the Fujian region of China. Ti kwan yin, or one of the other many spellings, is one of the famous teas of this area.
This tea seemed perfect for brewing with a gaiwan, so I grabbed my trusty ceramic “covered cup” and opened the shrink-sealed package of tea. The smell that wafts from the foil packaging is amazing. Bright and floral, it urges me to continue onward to the tasting. Adding a tablespoon of leaf to the bottom of my gaiwan, I pour the water across the leaves, then quickly discard this water, rinsing the tea and helping the leaves to begin to open.
Deciding to go with typical steep times for the gaiwan, my initial steep lasts for thirty seconds. The resulting cup is light, floral, and laced with vegetal notes that are so characteristic of ti kwan yin oolongs. The golden-green liquor is bright and attractive. In the flavor of this first steeping, the smell is reversed. The vegetal notes take the upper hand, accompanied by the floral smell on the edges. This tea has a smooth finish, and the flavor, especially the vegetal aspects, linger on the tongue, long after the sip is done. The flavors are not intensely strong, as expected from the first steeping.
The leaves themselves have barely begun to open. With that, a second steeping of thirty seconds is begun. I notice that, even after this steeping, the leaves remain a bit stubborn in opening fully. The tea is darker by a few shades, and the aroma is now more balanced. The flavors of this steeping are not much stronger, but they are sharper in body, revealing the source of the lingering flavors. The third steeping tastes much the same, with the flavors being a bit more developed.
The fourth steeping is rich with these same flavors, and I finally notice the almost-creamy edges. I am sure that this tea will last through several more steepings. I really enjoyed trying this Monkey Picked Oolong, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a nice, green oolong. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 89/100.