Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lightly Roasted vs. Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin

I have wanted to blog about green (lightly roasted) vs. traditional (heavily roasted) Tie Guan Yin for quite some time. Finally, I devoted this afternoon to do so. I have long formed my opinion between the two. To be fair, I brewed the two of the same grade (Grade AA) side by side this afternoon and started blogging while I was sipping....

I took a picture before brewing. You can easily differentiate the two by simply looking at dry leaves. Color of lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin dry leaves is green. That of heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin, on the other hand, is much darker – more of a brownish color. Dry leave aroma of the two are also quite different. While smell of lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin dry leaves is soft and floral, that of heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin dry leaves is heavy and roasty.

I brewed up the two and slowly sipped them down... The lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin filled my mouth with soft, long lasting orchid aroma infusion after infusion. It was refreshing, buttery, and sweet. The heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin offered more complex taste. At first, it was this mouth full of orchid aroma with a honey undertone, then a nutty aroma arisen from back of my mouth...It was thick, mellow, smooth with vivid long lasting sweet aftertaste.

Lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin started in the early 90s when Taiwan tea manufactures first entered mainland. It quickly gained popularity in mainland due to its pleasant aroma. Because lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin has some green tea characteristics, it has shorter shelf life and requires fridge storage . Heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin, on the other hand, remains seasoned tea drinkers' favorite because of its complex taste. It has longer shelf life and can be stored in room temperature. Unlike lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin, heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin does not hurt stomach. After several years' retreat, heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin is coming back to reclaim its market.


9 comments:

teatropolitan said...

Hi there

I was just researching for my blog article about Tie Guan Yin and I stumbled upon your article

I didn't know that lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin can hurt your stomach.. do you know how and why? What does it do?

TeaHub said...

Unlike traditional Tie Guan Yin, which is moderately fermented, lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin is lightly fermented. It is more like a green tea.

Linda
www.teahub.com

Johan said...

Why do you say tie guan yin is fermented? The only fermented teas are puer and some rare aged wulong teas. I think you mean oxidized. The more oxidized wulong teas are darker and the less oxidized teas are greener.

TeaHub said...

Oolong tea (including traditional Tie Guan Yin) is semi-fermented (半发酵)tea, while Pu-erh is post fermented (后发酵)tea. Natural enzymes are involved in the process.

Linda
www.teahub.com

Anonymous said...

may i ask why some tie guan yin teas have dates - and some tea sellers suggest that the longer they are kept, the better the tea is, like pu er tea. is it true?

Boon.

Anonymous said...

is it true that the older the Tie Guan Yin is kept, the better it becomes? Some of them has dates like pu er.

TeaHub said...

Lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin should be consumed within a year. Heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin, on the other hand, can be aged for years, and its taste does turn smoother and mellower with aging. Special process and storage is required to age Tie Guan Yin. We now offer 10 yr aged Tie Guan Yin.

Linda

Johan said...

So if I have some really dark Tie Guan Yin (which I do have) and save it in good conditions (dry and cold I guess is best?) it will get more sweet/mellow if I save it for some year?

I don't understand how lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin would hurt your stomach any different from other teas, but it sure feels like it burns in the mouth some times, kindof like eating raw burning nettles or chili peppers, I enjoy that quality of Tie Guan Yin, I don't think any other tea has that burning sensation, I think it's just the variant of tea plant (var. Tie Guan Yin) and not the processing that makes the burning sensation though.

TeaHub said...

You should notice changes in your heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin in a year or so. The actual process to produce traditional aged Tie Guan Yin is much more complicated. The tea needs to be processed both before and after aging.

Linda