Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong tea is from the Fujian Province of China and grows at 25000 feet above sea level. It has a distinctive light cup that has hints of orchid-like flavor. Excellent for quiet moments.
You might wonder, what is an oolong? One of the five basic tea types, oolong is a semi-fermented tea which is one reason for its unique character-slightly more full than a green but not as full as a black. . The leaves are lightly bruised to start the oxidation process. (See if you can tell that the edges of the wet leaves are darker.) Because they are more full bodied than green teas, oolong teas must not be picked too early or at too tender a stage. They must be produced immediately. Unlike leaves for green tea, those destined to be oolong are wilted in the direct sun and then shaken in tubular bamboo baskets to bruise the leaf edges. The bruising is what makes the edges oxidize faster than the center. After 15-25 minutes (depending upon ambient temperature and humidity levels) the tea is fired, locking in the special flavor profile.
Iron Goddess of Mercy, one of several grades of Ti Kuan Yin, is a premium grade – below the superior grade but has many of the characteristics of top Ti Kuan Yin Oolongs. It has been written that Ti Kuan Yin is at first bitter, then sweet and finishes with a fragrance, which lingers on your palate.
The name Iron Goddess of Mercy came from a farmer named Mr. Wei. At the temple dedicated to Kuan Yin he was asked what is the name of his special tea. It must be called Ti Kuan Yin in honor of the iron statue to Kuan Yin he replied. As the name was a good one, it has never been changed. (information is from Metropolitan Tea)
Can you see any browning of the leaves that would have been caused by the light bruising done in the beginning steps of oxidation? (I took two pictures of the wet leaves to try to give you different angles and light.)
If you are interested in purchasing a 2 oz bag of this tea (which makes 18-22 first infusions) for $5.50 plus shipping, I do have some of this variety.