PHOENIX #1 Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong
Country of Origin: China
Region: Fujian Province
Shipping Port: Fuzhou
Grade: Ti Kuan Yin Phoenix #1
Altitude: 2500 ft above sea level
Manufacture Type: Oolong
Cup Characteristics: A light ‘airy’ character with delicate orchid-like notes.
Infusion: Pale green yellow liquor, tending slightly amber
Ingredients: Luxury oolong tea
Oolong tea is semi fermented which is one of the reasons it has such a unique character. The semi fermentation gives the tea a little bit more body than a green tea but less body than a black tea ... and interestingly it gives the flavor a very unique twist. You will see (particularly in the infused leaf) that the edges of the leaves are slightly bruised (brownish). The reason for this is that the leaves are lightly bruised to start the oxidation process. During this process the characteristic ‘curly’ leaf is also created. After 15-25 minutes (depending upon ambient temperature and humidity levels) the tea is fired, locking in the special flavor profile.
There are several grades of Ti Kuan Yin (a.k.a Iron Goddess of Mercy). This particular type is the nbr 1 grade. When comparing to other Ti Kuan Yin’s, you will see a better leaf presentation which results in a more refined character - and hence the special moniker - PHOENIX #1. It has been written that Ti Kuan Yin is at first bitter, then sweet and finishes with a fragrance, which lingers on your palate. We find this particular grade is sweet with a fragrant finish and has no bitter notes.
The legend of Ti Kuan Yin is that a certain Mr. Wei, a tea grower in Sand County, Fujian had a dream in which a spirit advised him that a treasure was awaiting him behind a temple dedicated to Kuan-Yin. Upon his discovery of the treasure he was to share it with his neighbors. The next day he diligently searched for the treasure but could only find a tiny tea shoot. Even though he was disappointed, he took the tea shoot home and cared for it extremely well for the next 2 years. At the end of the 2-year period the tea bush yielded 1 kilo of tea. He brewed some in a lidded bowl and noticed an unusual fragrance plus the fact that the flavor remained pure and strong even after several additions of water. To ensure his good luck and to follow the spirit’s guidelines he took care of the bush with renewed enthusiasm. Within a few years the original tea bush fathered hundreds of trees and shrubs, which he shared with his neighbors.
Hot tea brewing method: Oolongs teas are best enjoyed when the leaves are briefly infused with hot water, which is then poured off. The tea is then reinfused and tea is poured to the lucky guests after about 1 minute. The leaves may be reinfused several times, with each resulting infusion yielding different liquor from the proceeding cup.
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. LE0607