Tieguanyin and me

Here’s a confession: for many years I detested Tieguanyin. For me it epitomized all that I disliked about Chinese tea (as a complete novice to tea)- it was bitter, astringent (at least those that I had tasted which admittedly were of the restaurant variety) and had an archaic name- come on, I’m not a believer of Guan Yin, I’m a follower of Christ. To top it off, it had a fanciful legend associated that challenges the realms of reality- to put it euphemistically.

In fact, I resisted trying Tieguanyin again, believing that I would never like it.

Like many other things, I was wrong.

My first encounter with the ‘real’ Tieguanyin was in China. The merchant offered me sometime with a sharp, floral aroma that demanded my attention. She poured me a cup and I sipped it.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Don’t you know? That’s Tieguanyin of course!” She remarked, perhaps in disbelief considering I was acquainted with other lesser known varieties of tea but not Tieguanyin.

Suffice it to say, my resistance towards Tieguanyin was eradicated from that very moment.

But it was to me, merely one of the many good teas around, not a staple of my tea diet.

Until my friend P offered me another version of Tieguanyin.

“Try this, you will experience what ‘Yin Yun’ is about”

It floored me. Not literally but still. The citrusy sourness meshed with the sweet ‘hui gan’ welling up in my throat creating a refreshing, invigorating experience.

It was like trying a Wagyu beef for the first time after a lifetime of Golden Arches.

I was beyond hooked I was on a mission to tell everyone I knew that true Tieguanyin is not that crummy variety that we often drink in restaurants.

Of course a case could be made for many other teas such as Shuixian and Pu-er as well.

My experience with Tieguanyin encouraged me to revisit teas I had previously skipped over because of an earlier bad experience or two. Sometimes I realized a higher quality version was all it took to change my mind, others I realized I just didn’t like it.

No biggie, there are thousands of teas not every tea is to everyone’s liking but don’t give up on a variety because of a previous bad experience.

Many tea lovers suffer from the ‘I want to try every type of tea’ syndrome, which is perfectly understandable- unattainable goal (thousands of varieties and every year China comes up or resurrects a few new ones) but a laudable one nonetheless. Just don’t forget to give some teas a second chance if you don’t like it at first glance.

*Disclaimer- I sell Tieguanyin online but hey I sell many other teas as well and not all of them come with a personal anecdote

This entry was posted in chinese tea, oolong and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tieguanyin and me

  1. Dave says:

    It’s funny that I was in a similar situation as you, except I did not detest TGY initially. But the really good TGY makes you feel like at that moment I have tasted the real TGY. Keep an open mind =)

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