I’m not an expert or even an intermediate level tea drinker, so I’ll try to keep my opinions out of this. This is the second tie kuan yin I’ve had. My first was in a small pack of samplers, and it was far and away the best tea. I wish I remembered where I got it, because it was tasty.
Tea King of China’s, the tea under review, was sold in a nice looking tin at the Asia supermarket. Most of the Chinese supermarkets here seem to carry this brand. It’s inexpensive.
I brew in a pint glass, with stovetop boiled water. I steep in the glass, and strain through a metal strainer into a cup, and drink. It’s simple, and easier to wash out than a teapot/kyusu.
The leaves were fairly large and rolled into loose nuggets.
My first steep was a 10 second cleaning. (Pour in the hot water, steep for 10 seconds, and drain the water into the sink.)
My real first steep was 2 minutes. The liquor was a red-tan color, and had a pronounced roasted scent. The tea had a strong roasted flavor, with a mild tannin undertone. The aftertaste was reminiscent of a mild coffee.
The second steep was 2 minutes. The leaves had opened up. Liquor was just a hint redder. The roasted/toasted overtones had abated, and it tasted more like tea. Some woody flavors reminiscent of an old box came out, and sour flavors came out, as well, as well as mild tannin flavors.
The third steep was 90 seconds. The leaves were open. Liquor was light tan. It looks like the end of this batch of tea. The flavor was “cold oolong in a bottle” flavor. It also tastes a little bit like “smoke”, but pretty thin. I didn’t find much depth in this last steep.
It looks like the trick to this tea is a short steep. So, lots of tea, lots of water, a short steep, and strain it into a pitcher. Repeat 3x, add ice, and into the 1.5L water bottle it goes.