Etymology: “Tieguanyin” translates to “Iron Guanyin,” Guanyin being the “Goddess of Mercy”
Other Names: Iron Goddess of Mercy, Ti Kuan Yin, Ti Kwan Yin
Origin: China, Fujian Province, Anxi County
Taste: Overwhelmingly floral and slightly vegetal.
Behind the Leaf: This tea is named after the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (“Guan Yin” in Mandarin), also known as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy.” Tie Guan Yin was first used only as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. The tea leaves from Anxi County are known for their overwhelming floral fragrance and are harvested from a Camellia Sinensis cultivar named Tie Guan Yin. They are lightly oxidized and rolled into very tight balls, using a technique known as “baorou.” They slowly open up while steeping, releasing their flavor and floral aroma, eventually revealing whole leaves. This tea is often referred to as a “Monkey Picked” tea, but is not really picked by monkeys. References to monkeys picking tea can be found in ancient Chinese folklore, however, modern day tea merchants use this phrase to label their best and most highly prized oolong.