Tie guan yin is a type of Oolong tea , and this tea is semi-fermented. Making oolong tea is complicated, and takes a lot of skill. It retains green tea’s sweet and fragrant smell, while and it also reminds you of black tea’s strong fragrance and mellow flavors. Top grade Iron Goddess has curly strips that are fat, round, heavy leaves that are a sandy green color that look like the head of a dragonfly. When you brew Iron Goddess it is golden, rich and resembles liquid amber. The fragrance reminds you of walking into an orchid, while it tastes very mellow and sweet with a pleasant aftertaste that stays sweet and not bitter. If you need more information on How to Choose Top Grade Tie Guan Yin and how to Properly Brew please check one of Teavivre’s articles. One of 10 famous Chinese teas Iron Goddess is also a premium oolong tea. Now we will go into the process of making Iron Goddess.
Tie guan yin’s primary process includes: plucking tea leaves (caiqing), sun withering(shaiqing), cooling(liangqing), tossing(yaoqing), fixation(shaqing), rolling(rounian), drying(ganzao).
Plucking tea leaves (caiqing): This is the first and most important step, because people need to pluck the tea leaves at the right moment. When people pluck the leaves for Iron Goddess the leaves need to be mature and very tender leaves. If the leaves are plucked at the wrong time, they can be rough and old resulting in a bad flavor or the wrong type of tea.
Sun withering (shaiqing): This step helps the leaves lose water and soften under the heat of the sun. There are three different methods to doing this: direct sunlight, natural wind, and heating inside a house. Once the leaves have become soft enough then they are ready for the next step.
Cooling(liangqing): When the leaves have been sufficiently sun withered, the third step is cooling. Leaving the leaves in a cool place in the house will help the leaves lose water evenly throughout them. They should be distributed averagely and not placed together so they can cool separately.
Tossing (yaoqing): The fourth step, tossing is also known as “zuoqing” in China. This is a unique step for Iron Goddess and other oolong teas. Only oolong tea will be made using this step. This is the step for tie guan yin’s “green leaves within red edges” and flower fragrances. As the pictures below show, they are placed inside a barrel and tossed.
Fixation (shaqing): It stops enzymatic oxidation quickly, while keeping the tea at its finest flavor.
Rolling (rounian): This is what gives Iron Goddess it’s unique shape. The leaves are made curly, and then formed into the special mold.
Drying (ganzao): This step helps Iron Goddess form its special color, smell, taste, and shape by removing any excess water that is leftover from the withering and cooling techniques.
The making process of tie guan yin is finished.