Old Growth Anxi Tie Guanyin


This tea started as part of our personal collection. We acquired it from a student of Charcoal Master Zhan, Mr Lai. Mr Lai learned to roast tea from Zhan, and has become a very accomplished tea roaster himself.

Mr Lai values the aesthetic of beautiful simplicity in his tea. He studies Buddhism and keeps a serene, uncluttered tea room. He only chooses teas that come from the most pristine, natural tea gardens. This Tie Guanyin is from a very old tea garden in Anxi. The way he describes these plants, is that they have grown so deeply into the ground that their roots have reached bedrock. This, he says, gives it a distinctive "shiruxiang - 石乳香" (literally stone cream scent) or more accurately in English, the scent of the calcium rich water that drips from stalactites in an undisturbed cave. 


This tea is very soft and gentle, as well as superbly structured and clear. Mr Lai believes that the highest aspiration for a good oolong is clarity. He takes it as his job to find extremely clean oolongs and use his roasting skill to focus in on their structure, like a photographer with a camera. This tea does not taste roasted. It is closer to 'green' Tie Guanyin, although it is unlike any green TGY we have ever tried.

The structure begins with the scent. As it enters the nose, the scent has dimension (we use this word to denote the feeling has a shape). The scent is penetrating, but gently so. In the mouth, the broth has dimension as well. Salivation comes on quickly, but is more like a trickling stream than a river. The broth stimulates the body from the mouth to the belly. It has strength, apparent in its long aftertaste, but the most apparent expression of this tea is purity, clarity and fineness.

If you are an intermediate or advanced tea drinker ready to take the next step in your tea journey, we enthusiastically recommend you taste this tea. It offers a look into the purity of naturally grown oolong, and shows how an accomplished artisan can refine a tea with charcoal fire. We are grateful to be able to offer teas like this.


  • Harvest Location : Anxi, Fujian, China
  • Harvest Date : 2014
  • Roast Date : April 2018
  • Cultivar : Tie Guanyin
  • Farming Method : Wild Bushes, Unsprayed

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