Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tie Kuan Yin tea review - Mastersteas.com

In my teens, I traveled to China and drank various types of Chinese teas everyday (black, green, oolong, and even red). I also bought some good quality tea to take home to my mom, who is a true tea snob, and tasted that, too. I don’t hate Chinese black teas by any means, but I always find myself preferring the more tannic, maltier English black teas.

That being said, I always try teas with an open mind. However, my natural inclinations most certainly influenced my review, so take it with a grain of salt.

Today I tried the Tie Kuan Yin Black tea from Mastersteas.com. They sent me several black teas to try and review for my blog, but I got so busy that I never got around to this until now. I was excited to be trying for the first time a tea I normally wouldn’t have bought—new tasting experiences are always fun for me.

From the website:

Tie Guan Yin, often translated as Iron Goddess of Mercy or Iron Buddha, is a variety of Chinese oolong tea. However, this version takes the classic Tie Kuan Yin leaves and processes them in a black tea style. This unique combination culminates in the velvet savory texture of black tea with the unique floral charm of traditional Tie Guan Yin tea. When brewed, this intriguing handcrafted tea has a reddish-brown liquor that hints towards dark chocolate and a whispery licorice finish. A Masters Teas favorite!

About the leaves:

Our Tie Kuan Yin Black is grown at 1000 meters above sea level in Xiang Hua, Anxi, Fujian province. This is a special tea as it is a cross between black and oolong. Its picking standard is that of one bud and 3 to 4 leaves. The 8-10 cm leaves were harvested in May of 2019 from 15-year-old plants. It was also roasted for 5-6 hours at a temperature of 70 degrees. Fired for no more than 10 minutes it is considered to be a medium-fire oolong.

This tea contains a high level of caffeine | Steep at 212° for 2-3 minutes.

Upon opening the bag, it has a slightly stronger dry grass smell than my other English black teas, with a markedly less malty scent. It’s not unpleasant, and something about it does bring to mind some high-end Chinese restaurants I have eaten at.

I did one airy tablespoon in 500 mL of 212 degree water for three minutes.

Plain, it tasted like a typical black tea, although a little more grassy and less malty. I didn’t taste the chocolate notes. It’s a very nicely soothing tea while being full-flavored. I like how it’s only slightly acidic on the tongue, and there are no bitter notes even though it’s a strong cup of tea.

The tea was excellent with American style coffee cake. It wasn’t as good a pairing with Japanese cookies. I didn’t have Chinese food on hand to eat with it, but I could see how the slightly acidic, grassy flavor would be a good compliment with something salty and saucy like fish with black bean sauce.

However, I just tend not to like black teas without milk and honey, so after one cup plain, I tried a cup with milk and honey. It was terrible—the tea suddenly tasted like drinking damp grass and I threw out the rest of the cup.

Overall, it was a rather good cup of tea, if you like plain black tea. Since I don’t, it was only a nice tasting experience, but not a tea I would reorder for myself.

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