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"Monkey Picked" Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea (Taiwan)



A young monk once asked the wise tea master Lao Cha: 

Shifu, why is Tie Guan Yin such a famous tea? Why does everyone love it? 

– It's because it takes a real tea master to produce this tea. The leaves have to go through so many steps: tossing, roasting, rolling, etc. But once it's ready – oh, how good it tastes! Try this one – it's so light and floral. It tastes like late spring itself. 


Is Monkey Picked Oolong indeed picked by clever, well-trained monkeys skillfully making their way through Taiwan's foggy mountain peaks? We wish we could say yes, but alas, it is all but a fancy little legend. According to this legend, the sweet and much-desired Tie Guan Yin tea bushes grew on cliffs, far too steep for humans to traverse. So, the farmers decided to train monkeys living in the mountains to climb up the cliffs and harvest the tea. Did monkeys once help farmers pick tea leaves? Perhaps we'll never know. However, tea vendors use the term "monkey-picked" to refer to high-quality oolong teas that grow at very high altitudes and possess rare and unique flavor profiles.

Today, tea enthusiasts consider Tie Guan Yin a top tea in Taiwan. The tea initially made its way to the island from Fujian Province, then its popularity quickly spread. Indeed, you'll find it in every tea shop there, immediately noticing its iconic deep-roasted scent, which differentiates it from its Chinese counterpart. You may also find it under the trade names "Iron Goddess of Mercy" and "Iron Boddhisatva of Mercy."

Tea farmers produce Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea by implementing the heavy tossing procedure and pan-frying at moderate temperatures. This unique technique makes Oolong tea form its signature green leaves with red edges.

Compared to any other Chinese tea, the making process of Tie Guan Yin is perhaps one of the most complicated ones. Furthermore, tea producers consider heavy tossing (yaoqing) as the most critical step. It is the vital stage to form the Guan Yin Yun (观音韵) and the distinctive floral fragrance of Tie Guan Yin that makes it unique.

Producers bake our Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin slowly over a soft fire in three steps, each step lasting for no longer than two minutes. Take a sip, and you'll notice that this is a deeply oxidized tea with a smooth, honey-peach, and baked flavor. Irresistible.

What makes it different from a Chinese Tie Guan Yin is that Taiwanese tea enthusiasts prefer the roasted notes of their tea over the green and floral ones of a Chinese Iron Goddess of Mercy Tea.


• Place of OriginLishan Mountain, Taiwan
• Altitude: 2000m
• Harvest date: May 2021
• Picking Standard: One bud and two or three leaves
• Aroma: Slightly floral and roasted
• Taste: Fruity and roasted, with a sweet finish 
• Cultivar: C. sinensis cv. Tieguanyin


Brewing guidelines:

       205℉ / 95℃

1g per 50ml   3-5min

     1g per 20ml   10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion

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