Ten Year Aged Tieguanyin (Light Oxidation)
Verdant Reserve Club – March
We have always had trouble searching for aged Tieguanyins. After training under Wang Huimin and coming to understand the way the greener Tiegunayin honors the creamy floral notes that Anxi’s soil imparts, it is hard to jump into dark roasted Tieguanyin where much of the original flavor is obscured by caramel notes.
I decided this month to give Wang Huimin a chance to show off an aged Tigeuanyin of her choice. Growing up in Anxi, Wang Huimin has plenty of friends to call up. It is no surprise that she found such a light tea to show off. I don’t know anyone as fiercely proud of Fujian province, and specifically Anxi country as Wang Huimin. We first met in Qingdao, where she would lower her voice conspiratorially to mention how food, or flowers, or music, or anything at all is better in her home town. This tea is her way of sharing a bit of that pride and evoking the green terraced mountainsides of Anxi.
This tea is a real surprise if you go into it imagining the dark caramel notes you would expect from a Tieguanyin aged for so long. Unlike its relatives, this example was never roasted, and only allowed to oxidize a little before being dried and finished. It was not taken out each year and re-roasted over charcoal like so many aged Tieguanyins.
Instead of caramel and chocolate, you can immediately smell rising bread dough with semolina flour, the sweet fruity adge of apple juice and the creamy notes of banana.
The early steepings are delightfully crisp and sparkly. While fresh Tieguanyin is often creamy, this is light and vaporous. The aftertaste grows with fruity notes of golden delicious apples.
Later steepings reveal tangy light florals, almost like candied rose petals and dried apricots. The texture builds up to be almost mouth-wateringly juicy.