ANXI TGY is a qing xiang ("light fragrance") tieguanyin from the outskirts of Anxi county, Fujian province, China. This tea is a classic representation of light oxidation tieguanyin—only without the taint of unsafe synthetic fertilizer most TGY is rife with (owing to a surge in popularity through the late 90's when farmers desperate to increase yield over-used farming chemicals and depleted the soils). Today, tea gardens in Anxi-proper are still recovering. Alan, our TGY maker, grows well outside this zone.
Tieguanyin is the name of the cultivar—a small leaf sinensis plant that performs well at high elevation (it's popular in Taiwan, where the plants were transplanted from Fujian). Alan's garden lies at 800 meters, but his teas carry all the complexity of higher elevation plants due to his nutrient-rich soils. Alan has never used pesticides or non-organic fertilizers.
ANXI TGY is processed in the modernist low-oxidation style. Where heavily oxidized tieguanyin requires several rounds of bruising, roasting, and rolling, qing xiang TGY is defined by a process called ti xiang ("magnify fragrance"). This step sees the raw leaf tumbled in rotating steel barrels with fans blowing air at either end. This simultaneously withers and oxidizes the tea, and encourages rapid bruising to release liquid compounds that, once dried, are responsible for this tea's aroma, sweetness, and tang. Finally, the leaves are packed in small cloth bags and hand-rolled to the signature crinkle shape of TGY. Skilled qing xiang TGY craftspeople achieve a slightly heavier bruise along the edges of the leaves, apparent on the dry leaf.
This lot is purposefully mild, emphasizing the natural profile of Alan's clean leaves and presenting ample sugars and florality in the cup. Lovers of tangy TGY will appreciate our project version. Alan's expert timing and manual rolling produces a darker yellow liquor with more to offer (relative to bland, nuclear green versions produced on dead soils closer to central Anxi). Flash steep with medium-hot water for vegetal sweetness. Longer steeps will produce a heartier finish with more flowers and subtle tannins.
notes — yardlong bean | hazelnut | mild
nomenclature — tie (铁)—"iron" | guanyin (观音)—"bodhisattva of mercy"