Spring is finally here and the warmer weather has me craving floral oolongs. That’s why I was so excited when DAVIDsTEA shared Organic Jade Tieguanyin, one of the newest additions to their awesome Garden to Cup collection. They are some of my favorite teas to highlight because they are a way for tea drinkers of all levels to access small-batch teas from some of the best gardens around the world. You might remember reading past features on Organic Korean Sejak and Honey Black.
In this post, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at Organic Jade Tieguanyin, where it’s from, and what it tastes like. Tieguanyin is a legendary tea with a fascinating history so there’s a lot of ground to cover. Stay tuned to the end for a fun Q&A with the tea experts at DAVIDsTEA.
Thank you to DAVIDsTEA for sponsoring this blog post! Sponsored posts like this one help me to cover hosting fees and other expenses for keeping Tea for Me Please running.
All About Organic Jade Tieguanyin
The name Tieguanyin is commonly translated as “Iron Goddess of Mercy” and it is one of China’s most famous teas. It is named after Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion. The origin of this tea isn’t known but its cultivation has been documented as far back as the 19th century. The name Tieguanyin can refer to both the style of tea and the cultivar that is used to make it. Oolongs by definition are partially oxidized. The leaves are rolled and bruised multiple times during processing. This helps to develop complex aromas in the tea leaves without needing to add anything to them at all.
Where is it from?
Organic Jade Tieguanyin was made by the Xiping Tea Garden in the Anxi County of Fujian Province, China. This region is considered to be the birthplace of Tieguanyin. Anxi is known for its mountainous terroir with rich agro-biodiversity. It was even designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It’s so important to know where your tea comes from and I love that DAVIDsTEA tells us exactly that. Check out the terraced tea fields visible in the Google Maps image below!
What does it taste like?
DAVIDsTEA Organic Jade Tieguanyin’s leaves are a mix of dark greens and browns with a tightly rolled shape. Don’t let those little balls fool you! They’ll open up to reveal big, beautiful leaves. I noticed an intriguing floral aroma as soon as I opened my packet of tea. I prepared this tea in my trusty Glass Bubble Teapot & Teacups Set. DAVIDsTEA’s brewing recommendation of a 195℉ water temperature with a steep time of 4-5 minutes is a great starting point. Feel free to play around and find your sweet spot from there.
Organic Jade Tieguanyin brewed up nice a deep gold color. The taste was smooth with floral notes of orchids and a crisp vegetal character that reminded me of fresh snow peas. Those aromas lingered on my palate long after each sip. Tieguanyin has a reputation for being a very green oolong, but this one is well-balanced. There was no bitterness even when it was infused for the longer end of the recommended time. The overall effect was quite refreshing.
It has moderate caffeine so it might be a good tea to sip in the afternoon (depending on your sensitivity). I re-steeped several pots of this tea using the same batch of leaves and the flavor stayed consistent throughout each of them. There is no such thing as a wrong way to enjoy tea, but I think this is one to try on its own before adding sweeteners.
One thing that excited me about this tea is that DAVIDsTEA’s product description suggests to steep it multiple times “Gong fu style”. They don’t have to tell me twice! I just had to give this tea a test drive in my gaiwan and it performed really well. Making tea that way really helps me to see how the flavors evolve throughout each infusion.
Cold brewing is another fun way that you can experiment with making Organic Jade Tieguanyin. You can also make flash chilled iced tea by using double the amount of tea and then pouring it over ice.
Q&A with DAVIDsTEA
Q: How long did it take to find the perfect Tieguanyin for the Garden to Cup collection?
A: In a way, we’ve been searching for the perfect TGY since our first introduction of this classic style of oolong over ten years ago. When we first started facing availability issues with our Tie Kwan Yin (which was from Nantou in Taiwan), we began the several years long journey of finding a replacement that would deliver the same flavour and consistency that we want our Garden To Cup collection to be known for.
After many trials it became clear that finding a TGY with the same accessible but distinct buttery and nutty flavour was going to be much harder than we initially expected. That was the point in which we started looking at different terroirs, which eventually led to our decision to go with this more lightly oxidized and floral direction.
Q: There are many tea producers in Anxi Province. What made the Xiping Tea Garden stand out from the crowd?
A: Once we realized we would need to start exploring different terroirs and flavour profiles, we started bringing in samples from a wide variety of gardens – we didn’t initially have one specific garden in mind. The Tieguanyin we tried from Weiyin, the producer, were the most impressive to us for their consistency and clarity of flavour – something we prioritise when selecting teas for our Garden to Cup line up. In the end, we selected this more lightly oxidised TGY from his tea garden in Xiping because we felt it captured many of the classic characteristics of the varietal while having an approachable floral flavour that we felt would be appreciated by oolong drinkers of all experience levels.
Q: How is Organic Jade Tieguanyin different from the other oolongs offered by DAVIDsTEA?
A: Aside from floral scented oolongs we have carried, Jade Tieguanyin is the most floral, traditional oolong we have ever carried. This tea is also a fantastic bridge for lovers of green teas. Due to the more floral and crisp vegetal notes in Jade Tieguanyin, it is far more accessible to all different types of tea lovers. We love promoting the best of the tea world and this tea is a great example of terroir, tradition and great taste.
Q: What kind of flavors would this tea pair well with? Can it be used as an ingredient for cooking or mixology?
A: This tea pairs deliciously with almonds, gouda, croissants and buttery pastries. While we would not recommend cooking with this tea, as many of it’s more subtle notes could be lost when used that way, in terms of cocktails, anything with gin would be a great addition. Tonic water bases, cucumbers and elderflower syrup come to mind when crafting the perfect Tieguanyin cocktail.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed diving a little deeper into DAVIDsTEA Organic Jade Tieguanyin with me. Have you ever tried this tea? What’s your favorite way to brew it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
This post was sponsored by DAVIDsTEA. Opinions are my own.