Ti Kwan Yin – also spelled Ti Guan Yin, Ti Quan Yin, and Tie Guan Yin – is a lightly oxidized Oolong tea that never fails to refresh. Many tea vendors carry a Ti Kwan Yin variety, and it’s worth trying several of them – as it is worth trying several other kinds of Oolong as well – because Oolong is the most complex of all teas, and is always mellow, interesting, and refreshing.
Oolong teas are only partially oxidized (sometimes referred to as fermented); black tea is fully oxidized, and green tea not at all oxidized. The percentage of oxidation varies among Oolongs, from as low as 5% up to 65%. Ti Kwan Yin teas are in the lower half, a little more toward the green side than the black; most tea vendors don’t say in their descriptions what the percentage is, but I’m guessing that this Ti Kwan Yin is somewhere in the 15%-25% oxidation range. As such, it’s got a fresh taste, and a little greener aroma, than more oxidized Oolongs. The aroma of this tea is mild and floral/vegetal – you’ll be reminded of flower petals and green leaves. I found the taste to be floral, also – almost a hint of jasmine, in fact, even though this is not a jasmine tea.
Enjoying Tea says about this tea:
This Oolong comes from the province of Fujian and is great when brewed Gongfu Style. This tea is named after the Iron Goddess of Mercy. When brewed, this tea offers a smooth taste, nutty flavor, and a sweet lingering aftertaste. This tea is also great served chilled.
The floral note is strongest in the first steeping, a bit milder in a second steeping, which tasted leafier (not actual leaves, mind you, just a leaf note) and milder. Both first and second steepings made great iced teas. No sugar is necessary in this; if you want to add some, just add a little, as this tea is not astringent or brisk and does not need much sweetening. It tastes good with lime, and I enjoyed the taste combination of drinking this tea while eating a peach or nectarine, so a slice of one of those would be a good decoration for a glass of iced tea, too!
Enjoying Tea has several varieties of Oolong, including a fancier Ti Kwan Yin; this one is an excellent value, a tea one can enjoy drinking repeatedly.