Tieguanyin (full name is Anxi Tieguanyin) has many other names such as Iron Goddess, Iron Guanyin, Ti Kuan Yin. “Tie” means “Iron” and “Guanyin” means “Goddess of Mercy”.
Tieguanyin tea is a kind of Chinese oolong tea and is one of the top 10 famous Chinese teas. It is produced in Anxi County of Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. “Tieguanyin” is not only the name of the tea, but also the name of the variety of the tea tree.
Tieguanyin tea has a unique “Guanyin Flavor” (or Guanyin Yun). After brewing, it has a natural long-lasting orchid fragrance, so it has the reputation of “Still have fragrance after seven times of brewing”.
1. Legend of Tieguanyin tea
According to a legend, around 1720, in Anxi County, there was an old tea farmer who was diligent in growing tea plants and believed in Buddhism. Every morning and evening, he must offer a cup of tea in front of the Buddha of Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy), which lasted for decades without interruption.
One night, when he was asleep, he dreamt that he was going out of the house with a hoe on his shoulder. He came to a stream and suddenly found a tea tree with strong branches and lush leaves. It was different from the tea trees he had seen.
The next morning, he followed the path of his dream last night and found the tea tree beside the stream. Watching carefully, he could see that the tea leaves are oval, tender, and plump. He was very happy to digged it back and planted it in a small iron pot, and cultivated it carefully.
Because the tea tree was obtained by the dream Guanyin gave, the tea farmer named it “Tieguanyin”.
2. History of Tieguanyin tea
The first people who invented oolong tea was the Anxi people that created oolong tea in 1725 (During the Qing Dynasty). Tieguanyin tea was first created by the Anxi people during 1725-1735.
During that time, Anxi tea farmers bred may excellent varieties of tea trees, among which the tea produced from the Tieguanyin tree has the best quality. Tieguanyin tree, an excellent variety, is not very tall, but its leaves are very tender and green. Oolong tea made from the Tieguanyin tree is called Tieguanyin tea.
After Tieguanyin tea came out, it quickly spread to the surrounding towns and villages and imitated by tea farmers in different places. In 1896, two Anxi people introduced Tieguanyin tea to Taiwan, Guangdong, and other provinces. It is welcomed by many tea customers.
As the production technology of Anxi oolong tea continually improved, Anxi oolong started to spread other countries, and Tieguanyin tea gained an increasing reputation.
Since the founding of New China, the Anxi tea industry took on a new look, especially the production of Tieguanyin tea, which established Anxi as a famous tea town in China.
3. Characteristics of Tieguanyin tea
The shape of Tieguanyin is fat and crapy; the color of dried tea leaves is emerald interlaced with dark green; the fragrance is fresh and strong; after brewing, the color of the tea soup is clear, bright and orange-yellow; the taste is mellow, fresh, and sweet aftertaste.
Four kinds of Tieguanyin tea
According to the degree of fermentation and production technology, Tieguanyin tea can be roughly classified into fragrant, strong fragrant, mellow fragrant, and charcoal-baked Tieguanyin tea.
- Fragrant Tieguanyin tea: it tastes light and slightly sweet. It is made by modern technology. At present, it has the largest share in the market.
- Strong fragrant Tieguanyin tea: it tastes sweeter than the fragrant one and the fragrance of it is stronger. It is made by traditional technology.
- Mellow fragrant Tieguanyin tea: it is also called Old tea or Ripe tea, made from the fragrant or strong fragrant ones which are stored for a long time and repeatedly reprocessed. It is black in color and tastes similar to black tea and dark tea.
- Charcoal-baked Tieguanyin tea: it is made from fragrant Tieguanyin tea by baking with charcoal.
4. Health benefits of Tieguanyin tea
At the beginning of the 19th century, the composition of tea gradually became clear. Through modern scientific identification, there are more than 450 kinds of organic chemical components and 40 kinds of inorganic mineral elements in tea.
The organic and inorganic mineral elements in tea contain many nutritive and effective components.
The main organic chemical components are tea polyphenols, alkaloids, proteins, vitamins, pectins, organic acids, lipopolysaccharides, sugars, enzymes, pigments, etc.
Mineral elements mainly include 11 minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.
The content of organic chemical components in Tieguanyin, such as tea polyphenols, catechins, and various amino acids, is significantly higher than that in other teas.
Here are the main benefits of Tieguanyin tea:
- Losing weight
- Beautifying face
- Regulating mood
- Lowering blood lipid
- Reducing cholesterol
- Treating tooth hypersensitivity
- Inhibiting cardiovascular disease
- Refreshing and improving thinking
- Anti-inflammatory and sterilization
- Promoting digestion and reducing the greasy sense
5. Uses of Tieguanyin tea in daily life
Tieguanyin tea contains high amino acids, minerals, tea polyphenols, and alkaloids. It also contains a variety of nutritional and medicinal ingredients. In life, it has some small and wonderful uses.
- Tieguanyin tea can replace alcohol disinfection and sterilization, which is a long-standing prescription in the ancient countryside.
- Tieguanyin tea residue can be used to treat beriberi.
- If the gums bleed when brushing, you can drink more Tieguanyin tea.
- If the infant’s skin is inflamed, you can use the Tieguanyin tea to wash the affected part. It has a bactericidal effect.
- If halitosis or excessive smoking causes palpitation and nausea, you can use Tieguanyin tea to wash mouth and drink some to relieve the symptoms.
- Scald or burn can be treated by decocting a proper amount of Tieguanyin tea and extracting the concentrated tea juice. After the tea juice is cooling, apply the tea juice to the wound for 4-5 times a day.
6. How to make/brew Tieguanyin tea
- Tea set: ceramic teapot is the best.
- The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:20-30. 5g of Tieguanyin tea leaves need 100-150ml of water.
- The temperature of the water: 100℃.
- Brewing time: First brewing is for 10-15 seconds. Second brewing is for 15-30 seconds. Then increase 10-15 seconds for each subsequent brewing. High-quality Tieguanyin tea can be brewed for 5-7 times.