Light Roast Anxi Traditional Tieguanyin
A commanding and perfectly balanced Tieguanyin that tastes like pineapple upside down cake and banana sticky rice. . . .
We brought in a limited 5lb batch of this traditional light-roast Anxi Tieguanyin in honor of reconnecting with long lost friend and Tieguanyin master Wang Huimin after two years of searching for her without luck. This tea is lightly roasted to bring out an immense complexity in what Anxi high mountain Tieguanyin has to offer. Wang Huimin recounted to us one evening how the smell of this tea reminds her of childhood as her parents started trying a lighter roast than the deep charcoal firing of old-style Tieguanyin.
The aroma of the leaf is in fact highly nostalgic, reminding us of the perfect Minnesota morning with the small-town smell of dewy alfalfa grass in the air and the savory sweet wafting steam of steel cut oatmeal simmering on the stove with fresh brown sugar melting into the pot.
The early steepings have the sweetness of chewing on sugarcane stalks followed by the herbaceous notes of basil or tulsi leaf. The mouthfeel quickly becomes rich and full lingering on the tongue like a cold glass of homemade carrot juice. This is only the beginning. The next steepings evolve into a full-blown desert platter.
The strongest taste is that of pineapple upside-down cake soaked not in rum, but in a 10-15 year citrusy Highland scotch. The aftertaste lingers like steamed thai sticky rice and becomes thicker and thick until it is more like banana cream pie. An almond biscotti note comes through in later steepings, along with tamarind and candied orange rind. The movement on the palate from rich dessert flavor to tart citrus evokes a perfect caramel apple.