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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thoughts on Highfire Tie Guan Yin


I have been trying quite a few different High Fire Tie Guan Yin's lately, and I can honestly say they can be quite surprising and wonderfully varied. Now my definition of Highfired is a bit loose, but in general if the leaves are the same color as you can see on some sort of chocolate bar, then its what I would consider High Fire. That rule is only for more recent teas from the past five years or so, as aged teas that have seen very little roasting can also appear dark once old enough.

It is quite interesting to see the difference between levels of roast on these different teas. I will say I think I am a bigger fan of the wonderfully fruity flavors that the slightly less roasted, teas can develop. Although the very, very heavy roast teas have their place also, as they remind me a bit of coffee, and are wonderfully warming and welcome in the cold winter months. But then again just about all warm drinks, especially ones with a fair bit of roast seem incredibly welcome in the middle of winter.

I wish I knew a little bit more about the production of these teas, as in part I wonder if some are more or less oxidized than others, and how that contributes to the tastes. I have a hunch, but I am not entirely sure that if the leaves are oxidized more prior to roasting, many more wonderful fruit flavors develop such as apples with certain spices, and plums.

All I can say is my little bargain 50 ml yixing has gotten lots of use these past few months and I still have quite a bit of Highfire Tie Guan Yin to work through, not to mention the fact that I will likely order much more.
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