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Tieguanyin leaves after four steepings

Tieguanyin leaves after four steepings

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, I recently discovered a tea that has become my favorite. I am now on a mission to seek it out whenever and wherever I can. Although new to me, it is quite well-known, boasting a long and proud history in China.

Tieguanyin (“Iron Goddess of Mercy”) is a variety of oolong, but I find its flavor to be somewhere between an oolong and a green tea. Imagine, if you will, all of the attractiveness of a crisp green tea with a bit more of a floral note—and none of the bitterness.

But the most amazing thing about this tea is the way the resilient leaves unfurl and stand up to repeated steeping. This tieguanyin provided different flavors and complexities as I worked through—wait for it—twelve steepings of the same leaves! It started more like a green tea, but as it progressed through the night, the tea grew creamier and unleashed a powerful floral sweetness.

It now takes its place next to Westmalle Tripel and Franciscan Magnificat as my beverages of choice when I am in the mood for a treat. Do you have any tips or tricks for preparing tieguanyin? Please share!

The perfect cup? Who cares—it was spectacular!

The perfect cup? Who cares—it is spectacular!