Monday, December 14, 2015

Advent Day 14, High Roast Tie Guan Yin

For this 14th day of Advent, I chose a traditional tea that is particularly warm, sweet and very fitting the winter season.

It's the new spring 2013 version of my High Roast Tie Guan Yin (from Shiping, Anxi). A model of international cooperation, the leaves come from Fujian, but they are roasted by Master Wang in Taipei.
Today's Oolongs mostly emphasize freshness and little or no roasting at all. This one, on the other hand, gives a rare glimpse at a fully roasted Oolong! If you are still confused about the difference between oxidation, fermentation and roasting, try a fresh Tie Guan Yin ad this tea!
The brew turns brown instead of red (oxidation) or black (fermentation). The roast scents are linked to fire and the transformation caused by dry heat. They come from a Maillard reaction that also happens to toasted bread, marshmallows over fire...
There's a lot of innovation in the tea industry to satisfy the changing desires of tea drinkers. New cultivars get introduced in new regions: my Tie Guan Yin from Alishan, for instance. Or the same cultivar is done in a different way: for the first time, I tried a red Tie Guan Yin just last week! (That one wasn't very good).
This High Roast Tie Guan Yin, however, follows none of these trends or fashions. It still smells and tastes pretty much like 10 years ago, when I first had some. This also makes it a perfect tea for the traditional Christmas season!

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