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Traditional Taiwanese heavy charcoal roasting is matched by the sturdiness the Tie Guan Yin varietal. The result is a very pleasant and deep roast.
Notes of warm caramel, burnt sugar, molasses, and amber.
Tie Guan Yin is perhaps the most famous of oolong varieties because of its complexity and resilience. That resilience is one of the reasons it was chosen for heavy roasting, which is one of the most traditional preparation methods. This tea is as pleasant as a cup of coffee on a weekend morning.
Tei Guan Yin was one of the transplants from China that thrived in Taiwan. No single variety will grow the same and with the same characteristics in two different places. This Tie Guan Yin is from Nantou County in the central mountainous region of Taiwan. Quality heavy roast Tie Guan Yin is hard to find in China these days, as they tend to roast them much lighter.
The Taiwanese are master roasters, and the traditional longan charcoal roasting process used for this tea lasted for over two weeks. Walking into a room of roasting tea leaves is like walking into a room of flowers and earth being warmed by a hidden sun.
In the roasting process, most of the floral properties of a high mountain oolong with be given up in favor of the warming and mellow properties of roasting. This Dark Roast Tie Guan Yin was chosen for heavy 80% roasting because it had a strong vitality and qi. Therefore the final product became two-dimensional: both strong roast and strong body.
Brew this tea longer to bring out the depth. I recommend 200 degree water with at least a 1 minute infusion. There is no astringency in this tea, so feel free to experiment.