Charcoal Roasted Tie Guan Yin (炭焙铁观音) is a traditional roasted Iron Goddess of Mercy oolong. This tea is grown and processed in Gande Village of Anxi County, Fujian Province. Unlike the popular modern Anxi-style lightly oxidised ‘green’ version of Tie Guan Yin, this one is a traditional version, carefully roasted over pine wood charcoal. The charcoal roasting results in a complex flavour with a fine interplay between tangy roasted and sweet floral notes. We source this tea via a specialist wholesaler in China and this current lot was harvested and roasted in Autumn 2020.
This tea undergoes similar processing to the standard lightly oxidised versions. However at the finishing stages, this Charcoal Roasted Tie Guan Yin undergoes carefully controlled roasting over long periods of time. This allows the tea to develop the complex flavours that roasted oolong teas are famous for. Our Alishan Tie Guan Yin Oolong shares the same heritage-style of charcoal roasting, although the Alishan version has a deeper roast. The skills of the tea master are paramount in achieving a fine balance between preserving the initial floral and buttery aspect of the tea, while introducing the complex roasted flavours that have a more tangy-sweet and toasted flavour. This tea really strikes a good balance with no flavours being particularly overpowering. Like with all roasted teas, this one will keep well and is well-suited for ageing.
Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Roasted consists of tightly rolled dark leaf, indicating higher oxidation and roast level. As is the standard of picking in China (and as opposed to Taiwan), the leaves are picked without any stalk present. When brewed, it produces a clear amber liquor with a roasted floral aroma. The warming flavours are smooth, balanced, with a pronounced roasted and floral profile. There is a sweetness running throughout the tasting, with a tangy mineral edge and notes of floral honey, browned butter and rosemary. The aftertaste is strong and lasting, with a woody and creamy finish. This is a traditional tea and is a great contrast to the modern Tie Guan Yin versions.
This oolong is best brewed at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed 3+ times. For best results, brew gong fu style.