Saturday, June 13, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #24 - Ti Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy)
No Dong Ding? Well dang!
I thought I had a sample of Dong Ding in my recent order from Harney and Sons but realized only last week I didn't. Turns out this tea is currently unavailable from them, so I ordered it from another vendor and it has yet to arrive. So "Tea Tasting Saturday #24" is really "Tea Tasting Saturday #25" according to the order in the book, but I hope you'll stay with me just the same!
Category: Oolong Tea
Purveyor: Harney & Sons
Dry leaf appearance: Chunky Monkey! I know that's a famous ice cream, but that's also the name that came to mind when I saw these huge bits and bobs of medium and dark green chunks and balls of tea in my sample packet. And it must be said this was also a noisy tea! When I dropped the spoonful of it into my little glass teapot, there was a distinct *thud* I don't ever remember noticing before.
Wet leaf appearance: Large, whole tea leaves clearly identifiable as leaves but with some pretty raggedy-jaggedy looking edges.
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 205 degrees, 3-1/2 minutes.
Scent: This tea had a hint of ... wait, wait, I know that fragrance! And I've smelled it very recently. Ah, gardenia! That is IT!
Color: Pale deep gold. Does that make sense? Maybe it's because I was viewing it in afternoon sunlight, but it struck me as wrong to simply call this color "pale" gold, because there is definitely some color and depth there. I like it!
Flavor: Oh my, this stuff is good! It has the merest hint of a floral taste (nowhere near as powerful as jasmine). If jasmine tea is rather like a fresh, somewhat brash young southern lady, then Ti Guan Yin is the older, richer aunt in the Chanel suit and pearls. Very rich and full "mouth feel." No astringency. Delightful, even to the second and third steepings!
Additional notes: I had always wanted to try Iron Goddess of Mercy tea -- the name alone, which comes from a Buddhist myth, is pretty impressive -- and I honestly had no idea Ti Guan Yin was she! (Can a tea be a she?) To be honest with you I was a bit aggravated I was going to have to break my "perfect record" of sampling teas in the order in which they appear in the book, but I must say, could there have been a better week to sample this gardenia-scented tea than the week in which our gardenias are at their peak? I think the "God of Mercy" was looking out for me here!
Next week's tea: Dong Ding, maybe???