Reviving Your Tie Guan Yin

Do you have some Tie Guan Yin (also called Ti Kuan Yin and Iron Goddess) oolong that’s been around a few years? Even if it seems a bit stale to you, don’t throw it away. Really! You can revive it.

Here is some 10-year-old Tie Guan Yin that I was able to revive and enjoy multiple steepings of:

You just have to love an aged Tie Guan Yin. This one has a very mellow flavor profile like butter on the tongue and palate, a sweet gold liquid, and just goes on and on with infusions.

Tie Guan Yin teas come in a large variety of roasts. For a light roast that is about 20% oxidized, store a maximum of nine months in the freezer. Older Tie Guan Yin teas are typically oxidized at about 75-80%. This removes much more of the moisture and allows them to age well. Sometimes they are even re-roasted during the aging process to remove any moisture that may have accumulated in the tea.

A good Tie Guan Yin will be vacuum packed when you get it. When you open the package, you introduce air. Even sealing it tightly will leave some air in the package, making the tea lose some of its freshness over time. The lighter oxidized and less roasted teas have somewhat of a green to dark-green appearance and will tend to go stale faster. (If it is a more highly roasted tea, then it will have more of a brown appearance.)

You can try roasting it a little, which will actually oxidize the leaves a bit more. A medium heated wok or frying pan will do. Put some tea leaves in it and move them around a bit to prevent any scorching. Only roast them long enough to heat them all around. When the tea has reached a brown nutty color, allow it to dry in the open and either restore it or sample it. Consider it an experiment and just have fun.

With the price of tea these days and knowing all the hard work that goes into growing, harvesting, and processing truly fine teas, being able to revive them is a very good thing.

Try our 2011 High-roasted Anxi Tie Guan Yin. It’s famous for its thick Tie Guan Yin flavor and thick taste. It also warms the stomach yet is mild and refreshes in the early morning with good taste and lingering sweetness. This tea was produced in 2010, re-baked in 2011, and is mainly exported to Taiwan. So its meets the European minimum residue level standard. It is like Pu Er tea which can be aged naturally. You don’t need to put this tea in the freezer.

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
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