Imperial Ti Kwan Yin from Enjoying Tea

ti kwan yin enjoying teaTi 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.



Would you mind disclosing the time/temp you used for this tea? I tried a TKY from another vendor earlier in the week and must’ve steeped it incorrectly because it ended up tasting like slightly salty boiled broccoli. I’d love to give it another shot.


I only steep for 2.5 to 3 minutes the first steeping, usually at somewhat less than boiling – maybe 190-200 degrees. I don’t measure the exact temp, just that it’s distinctly less than boiling. My steep times are almost always the shortest recommended time, and only if that doesn’t work do I try steeping longer. Second steeping, 4-5 minutes, 3rd steeping 5 to 7 minutes.
Not all Ti Kwan Yins are equal – some are very green, others less so – and I prefer the somewhat less green ones.
If you would like to email me and discuss the particular TKY you tried, to see whether it’s one I’ve also tried, please feel free – bunrab at bunrab dot net will work. We could also discuss what water you’re using, and what kind of steeping equipment.

Rev. Lynn DeLellis

I am getting so much new information about tea. Thank you.

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