I recently purchased a sample of Traditional Ti Quan Yin from Harney and Sons. I have not had the traditional Ti Quan Yin (Also called Tieguanyin or TGY) before so it was a perfect candidate for a tasting.
Traditional TGY is charcoal roasted, whereas the modern style and much more popular and prevalent style is not roasted but is much more green and very lightly oxidized (15% or so). I have had modern TGY quite a few times, so I was excited to see how the roasting process changed the flavor.
I used a glass pot that can hold 250 ml of water but only used 100 ml so that the leaves would have room to unfurl, as this is a ball rolled oolong and will unfurl quite a bit. I used 200 F bamboo charcoal water with the first two infusions for 20 seconds each, then an additional 5 seconds for infusions 3-6.
Right away on the first infusion I got an aroma of charcoal roast, which was quickly followed by a flavor of charcoal roast. I am still relatively new to this tea world so my palate isn’t as sophisticated as others. That being said I noted wood, tobacco, leather, caramel, charcoal with questions marks behind each of those. The taste is in that general family of flavors but I couldn’t pin it down. I do happen to enjoy those flavors a lot, though so I was happy about that. I also noted a bit of dark fruit sweetness on the back end.
On the second infusion, the woody and roasty flavors were all there but I also got a kick of tangy almost citrus like flavor, which I wasn’t expecting at all. This was a surprise but I enjoyed it.
The third infusion had a bit of spice to it, like cinnamon or nutmeg but still a strong wood flavor.
The fourth was dominated by the citrus tangy flavor and the spice flavor with the wood still in the background. The fifth was more woody but still tangy and the sixth was similar to the fifth.
This tea was very good overall and I really enjoyed the different flavor notes that the roasting brings out of it.
This tea is currently completely sold out on Harney’s website, which doesn’t list the price for the 2 oz. tin. It does show the price for the 1 lb bag though, which is $70.00. A pound is 453 grams, which is 100 sessions in a bag. That comes to $.70 per session, and 6 infusions per session (you can go more than that) is $.12 a cup. That is a good price. I don’t know if they will have any more now that it’s sold out, but there’s always next year.
Roasted TGY is a winner in my book. Give it a shot if you like other roasted tea and if you can find some. Cheers.