I actually forgot that I have one other qingxiang tieguanyin. This is a gift from someone else for my parents. Since my parents aren’t the tea drinking type, they generally keep all their unopened tea gifts around until my annual visit to Hong Kong. They let me see all the stuff, and I take it back with me as I see fit. Among other things this past Christmas, I took back a nice gift box of two kinds of tea — one longjing and one tieguanyin. They are from a tea store called Fook Ming Tong. These guys are a tea store that started up less than 20 years ago, and are generally catering to the upscale, gift giving market. Now you can find their outlets in, among other places, the IFC Mall. That means one thing — not cheap, and half of it is going to rent. The other half is going to packaging. Look at these:
They also came in a nice gift box, which I discarded for the purpose of saving space in my luggage.
The labels on the cans would seem to imply that they are the best of the best. Mingqian longjing, and Supreme Anxi Tieguanyin. That should mean it’s pretty nice stuff. Whoever bought it for my parents probably dropped more than $100 USD on it, since these guys are not cheap. I actually haven’t opened either of them since returning to Cambridge after Christmas, so this is high time to try out the tieguanyin (the longjing really ought to be drunk, but I don’t drink fast enough).
So I opened the box, took out the bag, and emptied it into the can. I should be more careful about preservation, but I am too lazy. Anyway, here’s the tea itself:
Looks good enough.
I brewed it using my qingxiang tieguanyin pot. The taste is better than either the Upton or the Xuefeng tieguanyins. Its fragrance is more intense, and the body is smooth and not rough like the Xuefeng. There is a nice aftertaste of slight bitterness, but we call it sweetness (there’s no such word in English). The tea has “cha qi”, which makes you sweat, and is a sign of a decent tea. It’s not bad at all, and rightfully so, I suppose, since this is their second best grade of tieguanyin (there’s apparently one even better than Supreme, go figure). I think this is an autumn pick, partly because the taste fades faster — only after 4-5 brews it starts going weak, which is short for a tieguanyin. I also put in, perhaps, slightly less leaves in than last time, and one of the brews might have been too long.
It’s a nice tea, especially since it’s free. I’ll compare it with what I got this time from Beijing tomorrow.