Wednesday, June 5, 2013

TeaVivre, Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea

TeaVivre Description:
When mentioned Anxi County, people will spontaneously think of Anxi Tie Guan Yin, “Iron Goddess”. It is well-known both inland and abroad. This Tie Guan Yin is close to forest green in color, has a pure aroma. Meanwhile the liquid of this Oolong tea is transparent and bright, which truly is a feast to the eyes. In taste, this Tie Guan Yin has sweet flavor, long-last fragrance and comfortable sweet aftertaste.

Sample provided by TeaVivre.

My Review:
The sample packaging is different than normal for TeaVivre. Usually they are shiny silver packets. This is dark grey and vacuum packed. When I cut it open and attempted to pour out the leaf - nothing came out! I pulled open the pack and pulled the leaf out. It was a solid shiny green mass. What? Looking closer I realized the leaf was sealed in a second plastic wrap. I have never seen that before. Removing it revealed the beautiful green pellets of this tea.

I used half the sample pack in my press. Full boiling water was used per TeaVivre's directions. My steep time was about 1 1/2 minutes. The result was a pretty clear and bright yellow liquor. The leaf only partially relaxed. The leaf is brilliant green in color.

The sip while very hot seemed peppery. Once it cooled a little it became much more floral. The most interesting aspect of the first cup is how incredibly thick and creamy it feels in my mouth. This seems weaker than I expected. Hmmm. Either, my taste buds are off today or I should add more leaf.

For the second mug I steeped about 2 1/2 minutes. This cup fills your mouth with delicious combination of floral and fruit. The first sip was one of those Mmmmm moments, you know when the world goes into momentary freeze frame and you get lost in the cup. Yeah, its that good. It still has that wonderful thick creamy feel and I notice a fair amount of cooling sensation on my breath. The aftertaste hangs around with kind of a melon taste.

Tie Guan Yin normally has a distinctive floral taste, well except this one. I mean it is there, but it is just different. This is so much fresher, lighter, more defined but harder to describe. Normally I think of Tie Guan Yin as tasting like a geranium plant smells. This is closer to something like rose petals, citrus (peach and melon?), and warm spices. It is just Wow!

For the third cup I added the rest of the sample. According to TeaVivre, they use the entire packet for gaiwan brewing which produces only about 3 ounces of liquor at a time. I steeped for a couple minutes and, my lands, that is a lot of leaf. How do they even fit it in a tiny gaiwan? This cup is buttery, almost nutty flavored, and the aftertaste is strong and floral.

By TeaVivre's gaiwan method this sample will produce 7 steeps @ 3 ounces, or 21 ounces total. I have brewed this western mug style and have already steeped about 30 ounces. I can easily get another steep out of this leaf. The problem with my method is the flavors of the first cup are very subtle. I have read other reviews by folks who steeped this and were met with amazing flavors. I think I blew this one.

This is too expensive not to get the most flavor out of it possible. I highly recommend losing the standard western approach and going with smaller and shorter steeps. This is a beautiful cup. Treat it as such.

Visit the TeaVivre website.

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