Last updated
Type Oolong

Other namesIron Goddess, Iron Guanyin, Ti Kuan Yin, Tiet Kwun Yum
Origin Anxi County at Fujian in China

Quick descriptionThe harvests in spring (also known as Jade) and autumn are most prized for the fruity, sometimes even berry taste and aroma

Temperature90–95 °C (194–203 °F)
Statue of Guanyin at Mount Putuo, Zhejiang, China Statue of Guanyin, Mt Putuo, China.jpg
Statue of Guanyin at Mount Putuo, Zhejiang, China

Tieguanyin (simplified Chinese : ; traditional Chinese : 鐵觀音 ; pinyin :tiěguānyīn; Cantonese Yale :titgūnyām; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :Thih-koan-im; lit.'Iron Goddess of Mercy '; Standard Chinese pronunciation [tʰjè.kwán.ín] ) is a variety of Chinese oolong tea that originated in the 19th century in Anxi in Fujian province. Tieguanyin produced in different areas of Anxi have different gastronomic characteristics.



Tieguanyin is grown in Fujian province, China China-Fujian.png
Tieguanyin is grown in Fujian province, China

The tea is named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, Guanyin is an embodiment of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva. 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 its abbreviated form as "TGY". [1]


There are two legends behind this tea: Wei and Wang.

Wei legend

In Fujian's Anxi County, there was a run-down 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 Wei would pass by and reflect on the temple's worsening condition. "Something has to be done," he thought.

Being poor, Wei did not have the means to repair the temple. One day, he 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. And he did this twice a month for many months.

One night, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream, telling him of a cave behind the temple where a treasure awaited. He was to take the treasure and share it with others. In the cave, the farmer found a 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, Wei and all his neighbors prospered; the run-down temple of Guanyin was repaired and became a beacon for the region. From this time onwards Mr. Wei took joy in the daily trip to his tea fields, never failing to stop in appreciation of the beautiful temple. [1]

Wang legend

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 the Qianlong Emperor in the 6th year of his reign, he offered the tea as a gift from his native village. The emperor 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. [1] [2]

Processing of Tieguanyin tea

Tie Guan Yin processing chart.GIF

The processing of Tieguanyin tea is complex and 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.

  1. plucking tea leaves (Chinese :採青; pinyin :cǎi qīng)
  2. sun withering (Chinese :晒青; pinyin :shài qīng)
  3. cooling (Chinese :晾青; pinyin :liàng qīng)
  4. tossing (Chinese :搖青; pinyin :yáo qīng)
  5. withering, this includes some oxidation. (Chinese :萎凋; pinyin :wěi diào)
  6. fixation (Chinese :殺青; pinyin :shā qīng)
  7. rolling (Chinese :揉捻; pinyin :róu niǎn)
  8. drying (Chinese :烘乾; pinyin :hōng gān)

After drying some teas go through the added processes of roasting and scenting.


Tieguanyin leaves, from a commercial brand. Te Tieguanyin.jpg
Tieguanyin leaves, from a commercial brand.

By roasting level:

By harvest time:

Other categories:


Based on the different roasting methods and locations, there are various types of Tieguanyin.

In Taiwan, Iron Goddess Tea describes oolong tea that is roasted using the Iron Goddess Tea method, regardless of the type of tea leaves used. [ citation needed ]

Market value

The top varieties of Tieguanyin rank among the most expensive tea in the world, [5] with one variety reportedly sold at around 3000  USD per kilogram. [5] [6] According to one source, it set the record for most expensive tea ever sold in the United Kingdom. [6] However, that variety of Tieguanyin did not outsell a rarer Da Hong Pao oolong, which is the most expensive tea sold on the global market. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Guanyin</span> Chinese interpretation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara

Guanyin is a Bodhisattva associated with compassion. She is the East Asian representation of Avalokiteśvara and has been adopted by other Eastern religions, including Chinese folk religion. She was first given the appellation "Goddess of Mercy" or "Mercy Goddess" by Jesuit missionaries in China. Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means "[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World." On the 19th day of the sixth lunar month, Guanyin's attainment of Buddhahood is celebrated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oolong</span> Partially oxidized Chinese tea

Oolong (, ; simplified Chinese: 乌龙茶; traditional Chinese: 烏龍茶 is a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea produced through a process including withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties. The degree of oxidation, which varies according to the chosen duration of time before firing, can range from 8 to 85%, depending on the variety and production style. Oolong is especially popular in south China and among ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia as is the Fujian preparation process known as the gongfu tea ceremony.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Longjing tea</span> Variety of flowering plant

Longjing tea, sometimes called by its literal translated name Dragon Well tea, is a variety of pan-roasted green tea from the area of Longjing Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. It is produced mostly by hand and renowned for its high quality, earning it the China Famous Tea title.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chinese tea</span> History and types of tea in China

Chinese tea generally refers to a variety of teas which are grown or consumed in China.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gunpowder tea</span> Variety of green tea

Gunpowder tea is a form of tea in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea or oolong tea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Da Hong Pao</span> Type of tea

Da Hong Pao is a Wuyi rock tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province, China. Da Hong Pao has a unique orchid fragrance and a long-lasting sweet aftertaste. Dry Da Hong Pao has a shape like tightly knotted ropes or slightly twisted strips, and is green and brown in color. After brewing, the tea is orange-yellow, bright, and clear. Da Hong Pao can retain its flavor for nine steepings. The tea is often known to be extremely expensive.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sudhana</span>

Sudhanakumāra, mainly known as Sudhana and Shancai or Shancai Tongzi in Chinese, and translated as Child of Wealth, along with Longnü "Dragon Girl" are considered acolytes of the bodhisattva Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara) in Chinese Buddhism. He and Longnü being depicted with Guanyin was most likely influenced by Yunü and Jintong who both appear in the iconography of the Jade Emperor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wuyi tea</span> Category of Chinese teas

Wuyi tea, also known by the trade name Bohea in English, is a category of black and oolong teas grown in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian, China. The Wuyi region produces a number of well-known teas, including Lapsang souchong and Da Hong Pao. It has historically been one of the major centers of tea production in Fujian province and globally. Both black tea and oolong tea were likely invented in the Wuyi region, which continues to produce both styles today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anxi County</span> County in Fujian, Peoples Republic of China

is a county of the prefecture-level city of Quanzhou, in southern Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It lies adjacent to and directly north of Xiamen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huangguanyin</span> Chinese oolong tea

Huang Guanyin tea is a Wuyi oolong with a creamy taste. It can be either tightly rolled like Anxi Oolongs or in strips like conventional Wuyi Oolong.

<i>Dongfang meiren</i> Oolong tea

Dongfang meiren or baihao (白毫), among other Chinese names, is a heavily oxidized, non-roasted, tip-type oolong tea originating in Hsinchu County, Taiwan. It is an insect tea produced from leaves bitten by the tea jassid, an insect that feeds on the tea plant. Terpenes are released in the bitten leaves, which creates a honey-like taste. Oriental beauty, white-tip oolong, and champagne oolong are other names under which dongfang meiren is marketed in the West.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tea processing</span> Method of processing tea leaves into dried leaves for brewing tea

Tea processing is the method in which the leaves from the tea plant Camellia sinensis are transformed into the dried leaves for brewing tea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">High-mountain tea</span> Taiwanese oolong tea

High-mountain tea or gaoshan tea refers to several varieties of Oolong tea grown in the mountains of central Taiwan. It is grown at altitudes higher than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level, and includes varieties such as Alishan, Dayuling, Yu Shan, Wushe, and Lishan. The high humidity and natural precipitation in the high mountain ranges of Nantou and Chiayi Counties make the region a suitable environment for growing tea plants. High Mountain Oolong is a tea that holds all of its original nutrients that are within the unfermented green tea. It does not hold the usual grass-like taste, hints of chestnut flavor paired with nutty aromas are often described. The fermentation process that removes the harsh ingredients allows the tea to taste flavorful.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cundi (Buddhism)</span> Female deity in Vajrayana Buddhism

Cundī or Cundā, also known as Saptakoṭibuddhamatṛ, is a female bodhisattva and a manifestation of the Cundī Dhāraṇī prominently revered in East Asian Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Guanyin Gumiao Temple</span> Buddhist temple in Yangon, Myanmar

Guanyin Gumiao Temple is one of two major Chinese temples located within Latha Township in Yangon's Chinatown. It was founded by the Cantonese community of Yangon in 1823, but was destroyed by a fire in December 1855, and subsequently rebuilt in 1864, with two additional brick buildings to the side built in 1872. The temple is located on Maha Bandula Road and is dedicated to Guanyin, a Buddhist bodhisattva corresponding to the Burmese Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huangjin Gui</span> Chinese oolong tea

Huangjin Gui is a premium variety of Chinese oolong tea traditionally from Anxi in Fujian province. Named after the yellow golden color of its budding leaves and its unique flowery aroma, it is said to be reminiscent of Osmanthus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Taiwanese tea</span> Teas from Taiwan

Taiwanese tea includes four main types: oolong tea, black tea, green tea and white tea. The earliest record of tea trees found in Taiwan is from 1717 in Shui Sha Lian (水沙連), present-day Yuchi and Puli, Nantou County. Some of the teas retain the island country's former name, Formosa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ruan zhi</span> Tea plant cultivar

Ruan zhi or ruanzhi is a cultivar of the tea plant that is usually processed into oolong. The tea is also known as qingxin or #17. It originates from Anxi County in Fujian province, in the People's Republic of China. The taste is light and the aroma is often compared to orchids. This tea variety is used to produce famous highland oolong teas such as tung-tin, Oriental beauty, and baozhong.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hall of Guanyin</span>

The Hall of Guanyin or Guanyin Hall is the most important annex halls in Chinese Buddhist temples and mainly for enshrining Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara). Guanyin, also called "Guanshiyin" (觀世音), "Guanshizizai" (觀世自在), "Guanzizai" (觀自在), etc., is the attendant of Amitabha and one of the "Western Three Saints" (西方三聖). Guanyin is renowned for his mercy and sympathy. According to Chapter of the Universal Gate of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva (《觀世音菩薩普門品》), if people are in danger, they just need to call his name and he will hear them and go to save them. Since he has many manifestations, different places enshrine different statues of Saint Guanyin (圣觀音), Guanzizai (觀自在), and Thousand-armed and eyed Guanyin (千手千眼觀音菩薩).


  1. 1 2 3 SW8 3NS, Curious Tea Ltd Unit 50 15-17 Ingate Place London. "Tie Guan Yin Iron Goddess of Mercy | Chinese Oolong Tea". Curious Tea. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
  2. "Tieguanyin Tea". Chinese-Tea-Culture. Archived from the original on 2011-03-05.
  3. Mary Lou Heiss, Robert J. Heiss (2007). The story of tea: a cultural history and drinking guide. Random House, Inc. pp.  148–149. ISBN   978-1-58008-745-2.
  4. 聯合報地方新聞中心. 臺灣茶鄉之旅. 聯經出版. p. 19. ISBN   978-957-08-2794-1.
  5. 1 2 Rick Arthur (2011-01-29). "The instant expert: expensive taste". The National .
  6. 1 2 "Rare tea cost £8.50 a cup". Manchester Evening News .
  7. Sarah Rose (2009). For all the tea in China: how England stole the world's favorite drink and changed history. Penguin Books. ISBN   978-0-670-02152-9. The first and second flush of the Da Hong Pao, the most powerful and sweetest crops, sell on the private market as the most expensive tea per pound in the world. At several thousands of dollars per ounce, Da Hong Pao is many times more valuable than gold.