Tie Guan Yin Production: A Eight Step Process
This organic loose leaf oolong tea is one of the most complex teas to make. The processing of Tieguanyin tea (TGY) requires expertise. Even if the tea leaf is of high raw quality, and is plucked at the ideal time, if it is not processed correctly its true character will not be shown. This is why the method of processing Tieguanyin Tea was kept a secret.
- plucking tea leaves (Chinese: 採青; pinyin: cǎi qīng)
- sun withering (Chinese: 晒青; pinyin: shài qīng)
- cooling (Chinese: 晾青; pinyin: liàng qīng)
- tossing (Chinese: 搖青; pinyin: yáo qīng)
- withering, this includes some oxidation. (Chinese: 萎凋; pinyin: wĕi diào)
- fixation (Chinese: 殺青; pinyin: shā qīng)
- rolling (Chinese: 揉捻; pinyin: róu niǎn)
- drying (Chinese: 烘乾; pinyin: hóng gān)
After drying some teas go through the added processes of roasting and scenting.
Tieguanyin (simplified Chinese: 铁观音; traditional Chinese: 鐵觀音; Mandarin Pinyin: tiěguānyīn; Jyutping: tit3 gun1 jam1; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Thih-koan-im; literally “Iron Guanyin”) is a premium variety of Chinese oolong tea originated in the 19th century in Anxi in Fujian province.
Wei Legend if Tie Guan Yin
Deep in the heart of Fujian’s Anxi County, there was a rundown temple which held an iron statue of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Every day on the walk to his tea fields, a poor farmer named Mr. Wei would pass by and reflect on the temple’s worsening condition. “Something has to be done,” thought Mr. Wei.
Being poor, he did not have the means to repair the temple. Instead, the farmer brought a broom and some incense from his home. He swept the temple clean and lit the incense as an offering to Guanyin. “It’s the least I can do,” he thought to himself. Twice a month for many months, he repeated the same tasks.
One night, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream. She told him of a cave behind the temple where treasure awaited. He was to take the treasure and share it with others. In the cave, the farmer found a single tea shoot. He planted it in his field and nurtured it into a large bush, from which the finest tea was produced. He gave cuttings of this rare plant to all his neighbors and began selling the tea under the name Tieguanyin, Iron Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Over time, Mr. Wei and all his neighbors prospered; the rundown temple of Guanyin was repaired and became a beacon for the region. Mr. Wei took joy in the daily trip to his tea fields, never failing to stop in appreciation of the beautiful temple.
Wang was a scholar who accidentally discovered the tea plant beneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping. He brought the plant back home for cultivation. When he visited Emperor Qianlong in the 6th year of his reign, he offered the tea as a gift from his native village. Emperor Qianlong was so impressed that he inquired about its origin. Since the tea was discovered beneath the Guanyin Rock, he decided to call it the Guanyin tea.
A Tea with Many Names
The tea is named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, who is known in Japan as Kannon and in Korea as Guam-eum. Guanyin is a female embodiment of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva
The name of the Chinese tea is translated in English as “Iron Guanyin”, and sometimes as “Iron Goddess of Mercy.” These two names are accurate. The deity has long been given a female identity in Chinese folk culture, although the original Chinese name carries no suggestion of the male-or-female-nature. A more accurate translation of the reference to the deity should be (the One) Observing the Voice of the People.
Other spellings and names include “Ti Kuan Yin,” “Tit Kwun Yum,” “Ti Kwan Yin,” “Iron Buddha,” “Iron Goddess Oolong,” and “Tea of the Iron Bodhisattva.” It is also known in the abbreviated form as “TGY.”
Oolong: Weightloss Tea
In China, oolong tea has traditionally been used for weight loss. To validate this practice, Physiologist Dr. William Rumpler, of the US Agriculture Research Services’ Diet and Human Laboratory, investigated oolong tea’s weight loss benefits. The study measured how tea influences energy expenditure (EE) and included 12 male volunteers who were given 4 separate beverage formulas over three consecutive days. The beverage formulas consisted of; 1) full strength oolong tea, 2) caffeinated water with caffeine equal to full strength oolong tea, 3) half strength oolong tea and 4) non caffeinated water.
The participants 24 hour EE was measured and resulted in;
• EE levels of about 3% higher when they drank either the full strength oolong tea or the caffeinated water versus the non caffeinated water.
• Participants burned an average of 67 more calories per day when drinking the full strength oolong tea.
• Participants increased fat oxidation (fat burning) by 12% after consuming the full strength oolong tea versus the caffeinated water.
• This data confirms that a component other than caffeine is responsible for promoting the preferential use of fat as an energy source.
A 2003 Japanese study compared the benefits of oolong tea and green tea on weight reduction. The study found that drinking oolong tea resulted in greater energy expenditure than green tea.
When identifying why oolong performed better, they found that although green tea had higher caffeine and EGCG content, the concentration of polymerized polyphenols was significantly higher in oolong tea.
These findings show that it’s the polymerized polyphenols, highest in oolong tea, that link tea to burning fat, not just the caffeine or just the combination of caffeine and EGCGs. Furthermore, the rest of the compounds compared in the teas were similar or equal to one another with no marked differences, reinforcing the results.