Famous Chinese Tea

Tieguanyin Buying Guide

Tieguanyin Buying Guide

TieGuanyin, translated as Iron Goddess of Mercy, is a renowned type of loose-leaf tea highly popular among tea enthusiasts. While there are numerous varieties of TieGuanyin available in the market, finding a truly excellent one can be challenging. Therefore, distinguishing the quality of TieGuanyin tea leaves holds significant practical importance.


About TieGuanyin

TieGuanyin is a tea that tea lovers cannot resist.

Belonging to the category of semi-fermented tea, TieGuanyin's dry leaves are tightly curled, plump, well-rounded, and possess a dense weight. The characteristic appearance includes a sandy green color, reminiscent of a dragonfly head, a spiral body, or a frog's leg. The tea infusion exhibits a golden-yellow hue resembling amber. It features a natural orchid fragrance, a rich and fresh taste, and a lingering aftertaste. Recognized as one of China's top ten famous teas, TieGuanyin owes its prestigious status to its outstanding quality.


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TieGuanyin is not only a tea tree variety but also a type of loose leaf oolong tea. High-quality and well-crafted TieGuanyin tea leaves have unique reddish tips, known as "Red Heart Guanyin." The origin of Anxi TieGuanyin can be traced back to the period between 1725 and 1735 during the Qing Dynasty, credited to the tea farmers at the foot of Yaoyang Mountain in Xiping Town, Anxi County.


Anxi County, with a tea history spanning over a thousand years, is an ancient tea-producing region and the birthplace of the world-famous tea, TieGuanyin. In this county, saturated with the aroma of tea, tea gardens abound, and eight out of ten of its 1.2 million residents are engaged in tea-related industries. Serving as the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, Anxi is renowned as the hometown of oolong tea, especially the TieGuanyin variety. Over the years, it has consistently been the leading tea-producing county in the country and is acclaimed as the "Tea Capital of China." TieGuanyin from Anxi sets sail from this origin, reaching global recognition. Suitable for daily consumption, TieGuanyin also makes an excellent Christmas tea gifts.


Methods for Identifying TieGuanyin Quality

1.Examine Appearance and Color

The appearance of tea leaves is one of the crucial sensory criteria for distinguishing the types and grades of various teas. Start by grabbing a handful of tea, feeling its weight, and assessing its overall structure. Next, examine the shape of the tea leaves and carefully observe their uniformity. TieGuanyin, a representative type of rolled oolong tea, should have a tightly curled, well-formed appearance with a substantial and dense feel. The quality is determined by the evenness of the tea leaves; well-organized leaves are considered superior, while irregular ones are deemed inferior.

TieGuanyin exhibits different colors, including normal, special, and defective hues. By observing the color, one can discern the freshness of the leaves, evaluate the quality of the oxidation process, and identify characteristics such as rich black, prominent sandy green, vibrant red spots, white frost on the leaf surface, and distinct variety features, all indicating superior quality. Conversely, inferior quality is characterized by dull colors and a lack of these features.

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2.Evaluate Taste and Aroma

tieguanyin taste

Tasting the tea infusion involves three stages: the first sip, where the flavor is most pronounced, helps identify any off-flavors, the tea variety, and its aroma. The second sip assesses the musicality and freshness, while the third evaluates the enduring taste and re-steeping capability. Superior TieGuanyin should have a sweet, fresh, rich, and non-astringent taste with a distinctive "Guanyin melody." Conversely, inferior quality lacks these characteristics.

The aroma of tea comprises variety, regional, and manufacturing fragrances. By sniffing the aroma, one can determine its type, intensity, endurance, and the presence of any off-notes. Tea with a prominent variety aroma, clear and rich fragrance, and long-lasting scent is considered superior, while a lack of these attributes indicates inferior quality.

3.Inspect Soup Color and Brewed Tea Leaves

brew tieguanyin

The color of the tea infusion is crucial for assessing TieGuanyin's quality. High-quality TieGuanyin should yield a lively and bright golden-yellow soup color, demonstrating clarity without suspended impurities. Conversely, inferior TieGuanyin exhibits a dull soup color with hints of yellow-green, indicating lower quality with impurities.

The brewed tea leaves of TieGuanyin is also a significant indicator of tea quality. Superior TieGuanyin leaves should unfold with well-developed, plump, and tender strips. In contrast, inferior leaves appear fine, yellowing, and may contain reddish-brown impurities, significantly affecting the overall tea quality.


Other Considerations

In addition to assessing TieGuanyin's quality through tasting, there are other aspects that can help us make better choices when selecting TieGuanyin.

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1.Don't Emphasize Price

While price is indeed an important indicator reflecting the quality of TieGuanyin tea leaves, it is not the sole criterion. Expensive doesn't always mean better, and highly-priced TieGuanyin tea leaves could potentially be a scam. Therefore, when purchasing TieGuanyin tea leaves, it's essential not to rely solely on price when making decisions. Consider both price and quality within your considerations to ensure the purchase of the best loose leaf tea.

2.Choose Reputable Sales Channels

TieGuanyin tea is a branded and origin-specific tea variety, making it crucial to select reputable sales channels. If the TieGuanyin tea you're buying lacks a brand and origin, exercise extra caution to avoid purchasing counterfeit or substandard tea leaves. iTeaworld has a 15-year history of operating in the tea industry, boasting rich experience. We recommend everyone to try iTeaworld loose leaf tea, as they offer a high cost-effectiveness and ensure quality in every tea leaf purchase.

3.Taste and Accumulate Experience

Learning to appreciate TieGuanyin tea is not a simple task; it requires patience and practice. Additionally, some tea enthusiasts may not prefer a rich taste or a clear golden soup color. Therefore, before engaging in tea tasting, it's important to have a clear understanding of your own taste preferences for TieGuanyin tea. It is recommended to explore TieGuanyin tea through the purchase of tea sampler, which is more economical.


By mastering these methods, it is believed that individuals will gain a deeper understanding of TieGuanyin, allowing them to avoid poor-quality teas and acquire their favorite high-quality teas when making purchases!


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