2009 Fall Diamond Grade Tie Guan Yin
This is our “Diamond Grade” Fall Harvest 2009 Tie Guan Yin from Anxi county in Fujian province. In my opinion, the intensity of the floral aroma is remarkably intense in Fall harvest Anxi oolong, and this holds true with this year’s harvest for sure.
The concept of different grades of this type of tea is largely Western, but, in general, the grade of this style of oolong is determined by the intensity of the floral aromas in the tea. The more intense the aroma, the higher the grade. This tea is what the producer refers to as an AAA grade Tie Guan Yin when dealing with me, which I have named “Diamond Grade” to go with the Norbu/Jewel theme of Norbutea.com…Norbu means “precious jewel” in Tibetan language.
Upon opening the package, the intense floral aroma of this tea is almost overwhelming. The dry leaves are dark green and are tightly rolled into the characteristic ball shape of Anxi Oolongs. When steeped, the leaves are an amazing deep green color…almost the color of fresh Swiss Chard or very lightly steamed spinach. The fragrance is intensely floral. To me it is like fresh cut orchids, but one friend and colleague of mine swears that it is just like Lilacs. Either way, it smells fantastic! The liquor has a moderately thick and satisfying feeling in the mouth, and the flavor has strong floral notes present in the nose especially in the first infusions. The thing that always amazes me about high grade Tie Guan Yin is the lingering bittersweet aftertaste that it leaves in the mouth, and this particular batch carries a lovely & lingering aftertaste. It is truly a treat to savor on special occasions.