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The Legend of Tie Kuan Yin

The most sought after oolongs in the world come from Taiwan and China. Oolongs cover a much broader range of oxidation levels, leaf styles and processing techniques than other types of tea (black, green or white) as a result of variations in manufacturing techniques that have been developed over the centuries. The Ti Kwan Yin that we offer comes from China.

In China, there is a tendency to identify oolong teas by the classes of cultivars used to produce the tea and often the story or myth that has become a part of the tea's identity.


Long ago in Anxi County, in Fujian Province, China, lived a poor farmer named Wei. Each day on his way to and from his fields, he passed by a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kuan Yin. Saddened by the decrepit condition of the temple, he would stop regularly to attend to the temple and burn incense despite his own limited resources.

Deeply moved by Wei's devotion to her temple, Kuan Yin appeared to him in a dream and said, "Behind the temple is a treasure that will benefit you and your family for many generations, but to realize its true value, you must share it with all of your neighbors as well."

Searching behind the temple, Mr. Wei was disappointed to find only a scraggly tea bush. Without much hope, he carefully planted and propagated the bush until he could harvest the leaves. Much to his delight, when he drank the tea he noticed a unique fragrance wafting from the amber colored tea, cup after cup. Remembering the instructions of the Goddess Kuan Yin, he gave shoots of the tea plants to all his neighbors who were happy to cultivate this bush whose leaves produced such a wondrous tea. Soon everyone had heard of the famous tea named after Kuan Yin and the region which specialized in growing it. The farmers of Anxi County became prosperous and the temple of Kuan Yin is very well-maintained.

While Taiwan recognizes that the specific cultivar contributes to the final product, here oolongs tend to be identified more by the process used to create them and the outcome of the final product. So while some Taiwanese Tie Kuan Yin teas are made from the same cultivars used in China, some are not. But the process applied to the leaves is the Tie Kuan Yin process. It would be recognized by the finished leaf style and the liquor in the cup.

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