Tieguanyin tea is one of many varieties of premium Oolong tea that borders on green and black yet is as appealing to the eye as is your favorite tea. Named after the Chinese Iron Goddess of mercy, it’s effortless to see and from its taste, comprehend why it took after such a great name and symbol. Tieguanyin is grown only in the Fujian province in China. It is normally 25 % oxidized to give you a rich taste. It has three varieties which are: Jade Tieguanyin which is lightly roasted, its originally heavily roasted form and moderately roasted Tieguanyin tea. Of chief importance in the making of Tieguanyin tea is the following steps: plucking the tea leaves, sun withering, cooling, tossing, withering by oxidation, fixation, rolling and drying. This article’s purpose is to explain each of these steps in the overall procedure in fine detail. It’s health benefits include improving digestion, weight loss, improving your heart’s health and boosting your immunity among others.
Plucking Tea Leaves
Every detail is key when plucking Tieguanyin tea leaves. First and most importantly is the time of day to do so: the tea leaves should be plucked between 11 am and two hours after noon. Failure to observe this strict timeline is and you’ll have a lower grade and a different flavor than is required. However and any experienced farmer should know when they are fit for plucking and as such needs not to be limited to this timeline. Although, it is easier to pluck the tea leaves by using shears one can comfortably use their fingers. When plucking be careful to pick the two leaves that sandwich the bud. This produces the highest grade of Tieguanyin tea. If a bud is plucked plus three leaves or one, it will lower quality tea but the former will allow the better growth of the plant which will ultimately produce low-grade tea in the long run. Therefore, the importance of plucking the bad and two leaves adjacent to it cannot be overlooked. They are then placed in baskets and transported to the next location, ready for sun withering.
The plucked Tieguanyin tea leaves are then spread out nicely in full exposure to the sun. This is done for the sole purpose that the leaves lose water and soften under the sun’s heat. Locals refer to this process as letting the leaves breath. In the absence of direct sunlight, one can use natural wind and owing to emerging technologies, artificial heat sources. However, most farmers prefer using direct sunlight to artificial sources of heat. When sun-dried, the leaves should be carefully monitored to prevent them from being over exposed to sunlight and eventually blackening. After every half hour, one should spread them for optimal exposure to the sun’s heat.
When transporting the leaves for cooling, do so in bamboo trays. Ensure that they are left to cool in a cool room, house or store. Cooling helps in two important ways: it prevents the leaves from turning yellow and in the process, allows them to evenly lose any remaining water. For the best outcome, be sure to distribute them evenly.
The tea leaves are placed in special cylindrical bamboo drums or barrels which are manually or automatically turned and tossed for not more than seven minutes. This ensures that the leaves are rough around the edges. The drums should be two-thirds full. Only Oolong tea undergoes this unique process.
Withering by oxidation
When the Tieguanyin tea leaves are tossed, they are also concurrently oxidized by breaking down its cell structure This gives it a very delightful aroma that’s quite difficult to describe.
The leaves are then transported on the bamboo trays and placed in a well air-conditioned room where they are steamed and hand-pressed on heated pans to stop the process of enzymatic oxidation.
Rolling enables the tea leaves to retain their unique circular shape. This is done, by using hands or a special mould. It takes years and years of practice and apprenticeship to get this done in the right way.
The Tikuanyin tea is then dried to give it is one of a kind color, smell and taste. As you have probably rightly guessed, this process removes and surplus water that is leftover from the previous subsequent steps.
The above steps are the main steps taken to produce high quality Tieguanyin tea that is to be savored by ardent lovers of tea and those taking it for the first time.
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