Now serving at Sun Ray Cafe, Parched by Parchmen (Ubi) and Pacto by Parchmen (Jalan Besar Community Centre)
Most will agree that lighted roasted Anxi Tie Guan Yin is perhaps the most forward on floral aromas in all teas known in the global tea world. The spinach and magnolia notes are very easy to recognise, and the lively mouthfeel leaves one salivating and longing for more.
Tie Guan Yin varietal originates from Anxi, Fujian China. It is harvested a total of 5 times in Anxi county, but recent years see only 4 harvests - spring, summer, early autumn, autumn and missing the winter tea. Of these, the 2 more valued harvests are the spring and autumn harvests. The farmer's adage rings loud: Spring water and autumn aroma (春水秋香). After a long winter, the bush would have accumulated substantial nutrients to brew a thick tea. Through summer till autumn, the bush would have bathed in enough sunlight to create aromatic compounds to brew a tea of higher aroma with a longer aftertaste. The abundance of sunlight in the two harvests in between usually produce teas of lesser elegance and coarser mouthfeel, and are usually sold in the mass market to Chinese restaurants. In Tie Guan Yin making techniques, there are three styles - lightly roasted, heavily roasted and aged. Ultimately, the tea drinker decides.
For speed to market, recent years see spring Tie Guan Yin being harvested before optimum maturity of the tea buds. Our tea avoids this commercial trend and is harvested on time. This tea grows in Mount Buddha's Ear (佛耳山) in Xianghua Township (祥华乡) in Anxi Fujian. It is a natural reserve with diversity of wild flora and fauna and is the third highest peak in Anxi, at 1,535m. During winter, rime ice forms on trees, transforming the hills into a fairyland. The boulder at the peak reminds one of the Buddha's ear, explaining its name. The locals climb the hills to mark the two important events of Chinese New Year and Mid Autumn Festival in the Chinese calendar. Peppered within the hills are relics, tombs and ancient rock carvings of Chinese calligraphy written by known personalities since 1000 years ago. There is even a 1000-year-old tea garden left behind by the first governor of the county. It is within the midst of this rich history, culture and bio-diversity that our tea is cultivated.
Our tea is made by Xu Liang Hu (许良虎), who is the Chinese government appointed custodian of the intangible heritage of Tie Guan Yin making techniques (非物质文化遗产铁观音制作传承人). It is lighted roasted to preserve the unique spinach and magnolia notes.
In 22nd May 2023 this year, Tie Guan Yin technique was recognised by UN FAO as a globally important agricultural heritage system.
We are brewing this tea in our gaiwan, using 3g of leaves to 150ml of 95°C water, for 45 sec. Brew colour is clear bright greenish. The spring tea offers a layered sensory experience. One first recognises the smooth and soft body, and the magnolia aroma comes after. Aftertaste is floral and light. This is as compared to an autumn tea when the aroma is forward and accompanied by a creamy and buttery mouthfeel.
The good stamina of Tie Guan Yin allows it to be rebrewed multiple times, living up to another adage that there is residual aroma even after seven brews. Add 15 sec for subsequent brews.
Each tea comes in 50g.