Tie Guan Yin Competition Grade "Monkey Picked" Oolong

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Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
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190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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54 Tasting Notes View all

  • “My sample from Chicago Tea Garden just arrived – now I get to try the tea that so many have raved about here. The smell of the dry leaves is really vegetal and fresh, which is a good start. 1st...” Read full tasting note
  • “Ok, yeah, I am friends with the owners of Chicago Tea Garden. I am also a Tie Guan Yin FIEND. And this is the best I’ve tasted. One of the best teas I’ve ever tasted. Oh my stars! Tastes like a...” Read full tasting note
  • “Thanks to Autumn Hearth for this! I was in such an oolong mood today. I don’t know why. But I remembered I had this in my drawer! It’s just what I want in an oolong: buttery, floral, a little...” Read full tasting note
  • “Thanks to Ellen for sending me some of this tea in our recent swap! It’s sad that Chicago Tea Garden is no more because they had a lot of nice teas. Upon steeping, this tea smelled amazingly...” Read full tasting note

From Chicago Tea Garden

This tea was sourced by David Lee Hoffman from one of the organizers of the Chinese National Tea Competition. This tea is named after the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guan Yin in Mandarin), also known as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy.” Tie Guan Yin was first used only as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. The tea leaves from Anxi County in China are known for their overwhelming floral fragrance. They are lightly oxidized and rolled into very tight balls using a technique known as “baorou.” They slowly open up while steeping, releasing their flavor and floral aroma, eventually revealing whole leaves. Through his relationship with the organizers of China’s National Tea Competition, David Lee Hoffman has gained unprecedented access to some of the most special Tie Guan Yin Oolongs being made today — this is one of them.

This tea has several spellings, most popularly Tie Guan Yin and Ti Kuan yin.

About Chicago Tea Garden View company

Chicago Tea Garden is an online tea shop committed to providing extraordinary teas and tea education to tea lovers and those new to the leaf. Chicago Tea Garden's co-owner Tony Gebely also runs the World of Tea Blog [http://www.worldoftea.org] and Tweets at @WorldofTea.

54 Tasting Notes

440 tasting notes

A lovely tea, thank you so much Indigobloom! I did three steeps out of the leaves and the third was definitely my favourite. The first was lovely, with just a hint of vegetal notes and something else I still can’t identify. The second wasn’t quite as flavourful, despite me letting the leaves sit, but the third? delicious. The third is everything you could wish in an oolong. Slightly milky, slightly buttery, and just oh so perfect.


wheeeeeeeee you’re an official resteeper!

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69 tasting notes

I was pretty surprised to see that this one truly does live up to the hype. This is creamy, buttery, floral, mildly vegetal, smooth, silky, rich, sweet, and keeps going and going. I followed CTG’s brewing parameters exactly and was pleased with results. Also, I have to agree with fellow taster, Adham and say that the first infusion kinda does taste like rice pudding! Good Call on that one Adham! The only downfall is that it is a bit pricey and requires a lot of leaf to give up the optimal results.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Yes, this is such good tea. Glad you’re enjoying it too!


It is probably as good as TGY gets. I have been thinking about it all day.

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76 tasting notes

Purchased this through the Steepster promo, and I must say that it lives up to the anticipation :) The color, aroma, and taste are fantastic – really high quality and the tea never tastes bitter. My favorite part may be, though, seeing the tea leaves in all their glory as they unfurl in my cup. This tea confirms for me that oolong is my favorite, and this is one of the best oolongs I’ve had. Thank you Chicago Tea Garden!

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262 tasting notes

Alright so I’ve given this tea a shot in my yixing the other day, and I was underwhelmed.
I could hardly taste anything! I didn’t understand what was happening…

I really can’t rate it simply because the ‘tea’ tasted like water basically, though it was colored. Ah well.. I am going to try again soon.

Holding off rating for now

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50 tasting notes

By far the best oolong I’ve had in years, need to order some more – soon. Put a bit in my travel mug and I’m able to just keep resteeping it all day. Love it!

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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328 tasting notes

Wow—just wow! If one needs proof that tea can be an amazing experience, this is it. This is the best oolong I have tried—beautifully floral, sweet, complex—wow!

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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300 tasting notes

I’ve had four or five sessions with this tea, two at tastings, and still haven’t sat down and written detailed notes of this, but thankfully there is plenty in my tin. Still it needs logging, so here we go. This is nice and light and bright and so very spring. I never thought to steep an oolong for 30 secs but it brings forth some interesting results (I tried it with Teavana’s Monkey Picked Tie Kuan Yin and it brings out a perfumeyness that seems almost artificial, though that fades after a three minute steep). It is greener both in leaf and cup than Teavana’s as well. There is a creaminess and a sweetness and it is very enjoyable. In later and longer steepings it doesn’t shine as much, it translates sure, but it just tastes like oolong. I will have to experiment with steep time more though. It wouldn’t really be fair to compare this to Verdant’s autumn harvest, though it is the freshest, due to being well, literally the freshest (more recently picked) and there are so many other weather, soil and growing factors. But yes very enjoyable.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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432 tasting notes

After careful thought and consideration I decided to dedicate my new Monkey Yixing Pot to this Monkey Picked Oolong. I am so glad I did. This is a wonderfully vibrant, fresh, and slightly vegetal. After all of that the first thing I noticed was just how sweet the flavor was on my first sip. Simply exquisite!

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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1812 tasting notes

Rinse and smell. The quick smell is buttery, creamy, with a whiff of very strong “oolong.” The long smell is more on the vegetal side, almost spinach-like.
The first steeping smells clean, buttery, and smooth. It’s a very pleasing scent, when most tie guan yin does not get to this point for a few infusions. But seeing the “competition grade,” I did not expect this to be “most tie guan yin.” My first sip hits me strongly, the delicate aroma belying a strong, yet still smooth flavour. Something reminds me of pizza, and I cannot shake that feeling, though I know not what.
The aroma of the second steeping is far more subtle, and very nearly not-there. The flavour has calmed down and holds its delicate floral tie guan yin taste.
Delicious. This is some of the best tie guan yin I have ever tasted.
I look forward to the next couple steeps.

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603 tasting notes

I salvaged the tea leaves after I excitedly spilled them all over the kitchen counter. I couldn’t wait to try this tea!

First Steep: I’m honestly not tasting too much with this one. It’s a little bit floral, but very light. Hopefully the flavor improves with each infusion!

Second Steep: Grassy and slightly sweet. The floral notes linger on the tongue at the end of the sip.

Third Steep: Flavors are a bit bolder this time. Still sweet and vegetal.

Overall, I feel like I need a bit more time with this tea to get a good grip on what I’m tasting. I will rate next time I have another cup.

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