I was lucky to discover such leaves during this spring's harvest in Pinglin! This was a surprise, because Tie Guan Yin is usually associated with Muzha, not with Pinglin. I think we have here the same process experienced by Baozhong in the last hundred 100 years: it started to be made in Nangang, very close to Taipei, and then the plantations gradually moved to Shiding and Pinglin. As the soils depleted and the city (pollution) grew, farmers found new land farther and farther from the capital.
Origin: Pinglin, Wenshan area
Harvested by hand on April 23rd, 2013
Process: low to medium oxidation, rolled, stems removed by machine and no roast
The dry leaves appear dark green. The brew's color is a strong and clear yellow. The leaves are more oxidized than Baozhong.
The taste has a good mellow presence. It feels very rich, with a slight metallic/astringent taste, but no bitterness. Overall, a very pleasing and calm sweetness dominates on the palate. Such well oxidized Oolong also feels good on the stomach.
This Tie Guan Yin combines the character of its cultivar with the sweetness of the Wenshan area.
So, what we have here are leaves with a very traditional and rather strong roast. The result is very ripe fruity, powerful and even sweeter.
There are also dark smells of burned rubber. They are testimony of a strong roast. The relatively high oxidation of the unroasted Tie Guan Yin has made it less fragile and better suited for such a roasting.
2008 strongly roasted Anxi Tie Guan Yin from my selection.
From comparing with the unroasted Tie Guan Yin above, we can experience how the roasting magnifies the aromas, ripens the fragrances and sweetens the taste. The immediate freshness seems lost, but we can still find it in the menthol mouthfeel of the aftertaste.
For an easier comparison, I have brewed both teas side by side:
|Unroasted and roasted Pinglin Tie Guan Yin|
Enjoy your tea studies!