27 Sep 2017
Fall Guest Tea: Iron Goddess Black
posted by Jamie Isetts, Green Coffee Buyer
We at Merit and Local are thrilled to introduce this fall guest offering from our partner Spirit Tea, the Iron Goddess Black. We are the only place in Texas and the South to offer this tea. We purchased 20% of the stock for the entire world, and we’ll also offer this as a retail boxes, cobranded as Merit + Spirit.
Iron Goddess Black is all about a change of context. Decorated Taiwanese tea master Ah Fung was sent to the misty Yunnan province of China on a state-sponsored visit. Here, he planted some of his own stock of the cultivar “Tieguanyin”.
Guanyin is the Chinese-Buddhist Goddess of Compassion, leading to its western name, “Iron Goddess of Mercy”. See the Iron Goddess cultivar on the left, and another tea cultivar on the right in the second picture.
The garden for this tea is at a very high altitude of 2200 meters. Like with coffee, this helps the plants mature more slowly, intensifying the tea’s sweetness. After five years of growing, this is the very first lot that the garden has produced.
Tieguanyin is usually processed as an oolong tea. Here, it is processed as a black tea, fully oxidized. Producer Ah Fung has taken this storied varietal into a new growing region and an unusual process. By changing the context, he has turned a time-honored favorite into something new and exciting. Look for juicy flavors of tropical fruit like guava, starfruit, and passionfruit.
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