2009 Fall Diamond Grade Tie Guan Yin

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Oolong Tea
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Butter, Flowers, Milk, Vegetables
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Edit tea info Last updated by Pamela Dean
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190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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14 Tasting Notes View all

From Norbu Tea

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.

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14 Tasting Notes

4846 tasting notes

Oolong! It’s been a couple of days since I’ve enjoyed Oolong – I’m overdue!

So to make up for it, I chose one of my favorites. This Oolong is amazing. Buttery, rich, floral. Almost jasmine-esque but not quite… maybe like a cross between jasmine and orchid, and maybe even honeysuckle. So… amazing.

And… already gone. I need to steep again!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Norbu = LOVE


Yes… Norbu has the very best Oolongs… I think when I die, I want someone to stuff my coffin with Ali Shan Oolong. LOL


Oh yes! I’m with ya there!!!!

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114 tasting notes

(TTB 1.2)

Pretty tasty, good classic oolong aromas and flavors. Kinda floral and vegetal. The liquor is much lighter than I expected and I’m not getting as much flavor as I expected or would like. Although, the lightness can be kinda pleasing since it isn’t too overwhelming. Even though, I think I may try another infusion to see what else I can get from it.

BTW, I have been drinking tea since my last tasting note, I’ve just been really bad about logging them. More to come + probably some backlogs…

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

2nd steep was pretty similar to the first, except a little less flavorful and a little more “watery”. I’m not sure how long it steeped because I forgot about it…I think it was about 4 mins.


I LOVE Norbu!!!!!

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58 tasting notes

TTB strikes again!

This smells like heaven and tastes twice as good. I’d almost be tempted to chew the tea leaves, if I didn’t know that I could resteep them at least a few more times and have more of this lovely, lovely tea.

The smell is intoxicatingly ethereal. It’s a bit vegetal and floral, as everyone has said…but what they haven’t noted is that it smells like a lush night-blooming garden in the heat of deepest summer. It’s not cloying, but it does surround you and infiltrate every sense. It may even permeate your skin, I’m not sure. Since I’ve been sniffing at it ever since I opened the bag, I’m hardly an objective judge! ;)

The taste is light, full, and tantalizing. It’s a bit like you’re drinking summer.

Norbu is apparently having a sale right now on this tea, too. End of Vintage sale, 25% off any quantity. Oh holy monkey, do I need some. .


WOW – if any post can make a sale, this one can! Beautifully written and persuasive, too! Enjoyed it, lots!


This sounds like a tea dream-come-true! Nighttime blooming garden? Awwww yeah!


I sooooooo LOVE Norbu!

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161 tasting notes

A big thank you goes to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me this sample. Sorry, I’m just now getting around to tasting it.

This is a very intriguing oolong. The liquor is a very light yellow and has a sweet, vegetal smell. The flavor is initially vegetal, then very floral…mostly of orchids. Nice! On an odd note, I swear I’m tasting a light cabbage flavor…and not in an awful way. I like cabbage. The aftertaste is sweet and lingering. Not too shabby overall. I am, however, encountering that familiar musty smell and taste that I tend to do with rolled teas of any sort. This is the main downer for me.
All in all, this tea is quite pleasant…but I think I prefer darker, less green tasting oolongs. This was really nice to sample!


I can totally understand the cabbage thing! :P

Pamela Dean

Lena, to get rid of the musty notes, rinse the rolled-up dry tea before steeping. Pour just enough hot water to cover the leaves, count to ten, pour off and discard the rinse water, or use it to warm your cup. You may opt to let the rinsed leaf sit a minute at this point, to give the leaf a chance to begin it’s journey of unfolding. Then proceed as usual. The rinse has given me improved results with some oolongs.

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1328 tasting notes

It’s been a long long time since I last had a Tie Guan Yin of any sort, so when I was looking through the sample basket for something interesting, that’s what I decided to do. After all, I need to drink all these samples so that there are less stuff to move with. :D

The dry leaf had a sort of floral aroma to it, sort of scented and bizarrely a not of something curry-ish. I don’t know where that came from, but it’s possible it’s just one of those floral notes that are showing up weird to me.

It’s a fairly pale yellow cup, but the aroma after steeping is strong. It carries significant notes of steamed spinach and again something floral-y sweet. Like a bouquet of wildflowers.

The flavour is heavy with asparagus notes. It has asparagus notes to the point where I went O.o and double-checked the sample wrapper. I’ve found this sort of green vegetable note before many times, but this particular tea is extraordinarily strong on the asparagus. A person who didn’t like asparagus would not like this tea.

Once the worst of the asparagusness has dissipated, ever so slightly dusty floral notes are coming out again. I could almost believe that this had been lightly scented with something. They’re not jasmine-y or rose-y, they’re sweeter than that, but it’s definitely floral.

I’m not getting a huge amount of aftertaste on this one, but I suspect it might be one of those that will build up as one drinks. At the moment what I am getting is thankfully free of that sourness that typically bothers me in non- or lightly fermented teas.

This seems very nice for its type, but somehow I’m not sure I’m really that into TGYs anymore…

(Also, looks like someone’s tasting note has become mixed up with the product description. If you’ve posted about this tea before, you might want to see if it’s yours)

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247 tasting notes

Finally, yesterday, I bought a gaiwan! I had to do some shopping at the Asian grocer (Vietnamese food tonight!) and I peeked around in the tea area. I fell in love with a cute little blue and white gaiwan and snapped it up. Also, during this time, I bought some teas on TeaTrade from LiberTeas and Rachanac. (Thank you, both!) This tea is from LiberTeas.

I chose this one because of the mellow, leafy scent in the packet. I was hoping for just a nice, mellow cup this morning. So, I heated the water to 195 and took the gaiwan on it’s inaugural steep. 30 sec. I burned the heck out of my fingers when decanting it. Then, I couldn’t wait to try it and took a sip. Too hot. So, I transferred it to another cup and started the second steep while I waited for the first to cool. 45 sec. Ouch. Burned my fingers again. I decanted it and went back to the first cup, which had cooled considerably by that time. Mmm… it smells very, very light. I can taste a faint toastiness, very slightly floral (less than I had hoped.) It’s good and mellow, as I had hoped. Okay, on to steep two… I take a sip… and burn the heck out of my tongue and upper lip. (Forgot to transfer to another cooler cup.) Now, I’m hurting and irritated. My fingers are turning red and my lip isn’t far behind. (Did I mention that I need to go for passport photos today? Grr…) The second steep is better, the leaves have opened more, slightly more floral, although the taste is still really light. I think I’ll go for a full minute or two on the next steep and see if I can bump up the flavor again. My lips, tongue and fingers, however, are all screaming no more. Hrmph. Hopefully the next go won’t be so painful.

Update: I accidentally got caught up reading some tea reviews and let it steep for six minutes. It’s amazing! (And cooled down, too.) :) The floral flavor and aroma are both fully developed. I’m picking up a lilac scent and taste in my mouth. The tea feels as if it has more body to it, too, and is much less watery. Maybe I will keep this cute little gaiwan after all…

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I bought a gaiwan without knowing it. Mine is also blue and white, and I love it. I often use it as a teacup. However, every time I use it as a gaiwan, I burn my fingers…it’s hard work! I also am using it for teas that gaiwans aren’t made for, so the water is hotter than expected. I still love it though!

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64 tasting notes

The best TGY from this past year I tried. Diamond, indeed.


I LOVE Norbu!!!!!


Norbu has the best oolongs

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6770 tasting notes

Dry leaf smells sweet and clean. While infusing the leaves are a vibrant green and more leafy green veggie-esque to sniff. It’s light in color. This is a stronger oolong. Tasty! Thirst Quenching and Clean. Very Pure. Nice! I really, really like it!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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64 tasting notes

Quite Floral and Vegetal. Very smooth finishing palatal.

160 °F / 71 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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Delicious! I can’t resist a really good oolong. When did they add steeping times and temp to steepster?

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

Temps and times? Couple of days ago. No worries you’ve got a good cup of tea.

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