A unique and tangy batch of Gande Tieguanyin with notes of apricot and key lime pie. . . .
The most sought after flavor profiles in Tieguanyin tend to be creamy and floral, but on our last trip to China, our Tieguanyin expert Wang Huimin was lamenting the rarity of tangy Tieguanyin. When she was younger, more farmers were working to coax a potent tangy edge from their leaves. We asked Wang Huimin if she could find an example we could share before the floral spring harvest comes in and she was ecstatic.
This Gande village (Anxi) Tieguanyin has a rich, tangy smell like fresh-baked apricot bread. The first steepings have some of the spicy citrus notes of heicha (dark tea), complimented by creamy undertones. The initial burst of citrus leaves a sweet and cool aftertaste.
The tea really picks up in the second and third infusions with a thicker body, tangier orange notes, and a candy-like sweetness similar to key lime pie with graham cracker crust and whipped cream. In later steepings, a darker woody or nutty flavor begins to come through with fruity apple notes.
This is a departure from our usual saffron-cream orchid profile Tieguanyin from the Bi family, meant as an intriguing counterpoint to demonstrate the diversity of flavor even within a single Tieguanyin-producing village. Take the opportunity to try something different before the late spring and early summer bring back the rich florals for which Tieguanyin is so well-known.
Date of Picking:November 10th, 2012
Location of Picking:Bi family farm, Anxi County, Fujian, China
What Was Picked:Large young leaves, picked, shaken, wilted, oxidized, pan fired and rolled.
Sourcing Agent(s):Originally connected through Tieguanyin master Wang Huiming. Now Ren Weiwei maintains a relationship with the farmers.
Use 1T of tea in a 6-8oz cup. Rinse leaves once with 208 degree water. Steep for 25 seconds the first infusion, and 20 seconds for each infusion after that. INcrease time after about four infusions to taste. Enjoy at least 6 infusions. If possible, use filtered water. Lighter oolongs can be sensitive to very hard tap water. Try to use a large brew basket or steep the leaves loose to allow them to fully unfurls and infuse the optimum flavor.
Gongfu Style Brewing
Use 5-7g of tea for a 4-5oz gaiwan. Pour boiling water into pot and immediately pour out into pitcher. Pour this rinse over the pot and cups used. The rinse helps open the leaves up slightly for the first infusion. Steep for 3-6 seconds each infusion, and enjoy at least 18 infusions. Increase time as the tea starts to get lighter. If you don’t have special equipment, just use pyrex cup measure, a small mug, or any vessel around 4oz. Pour through a strainer if you have one, or use a fork to stop the leaves from pouring into your cup.
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