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Sea Dragon 2019 - Roasted Tieguanyin

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2019 Sea Dragon - Roasted Tieguanyin
Anxi, Fujian, China

The 2019 Sea Dragon carries a great vegetal flavor like a strong green tea with roasty overtones, light smoky undertones, and notes of earth, hay, pine nuts, fruit, and flowers.

Tieguanyin, also known as Iron Goddess of Mercy (direct translation), is a classic way to prepare oolong tea born from China. Some call it China's first oolong, as they learned the traditions from Taiwan and altered them in subtle ways to make them their own. It's inarguable that Tieguanyin is absolutely China's Oolong. It's complex, going through sun-withering, a cooling process, tossing in a hot wok for a short time, open-air withering and oxidizing, hand-rolling, oven-roasting, and drying. This ancient tradition, dating back centuries, has been retained through the years with tiny modifications over time and across numerous regions. But across all of them, it's known for its consistently vegetal flavors with roasty undertones and elements of fruity berry-like notes. Ours comes from an Anxi estate which roasts them in classic Anxi style.

The 2019 batch from this particular Anxi estate is beautifully full without being overwhelming at all. It's smooth as silk, has no astringency at all, and carries with it the rich flavors you would expect. The primary body is reminiscent of a strong green tea, heavy vegetation in the flavor, but it's all layered with a roasty overtone with light smoky notes carried from its time in the oven. The moderate baking process done at the end gives it a soft brown color, a smooth roasty flavor, and brings out the earthy straw notes and nutty tones within without dampening the floral notes that make tieguanyin so tasty.

The Legend

In the myth of Tieguanyin, a tea farmer felt that a temple he passed on his way to the market every day was in sad shape, and the goddess deserved better. So every day, he would go to the temple and clean it up somehow; sweep an area of floor, dust some cobwebs, clear some rubble, remove the stray snake. After a couple months, the temple looked beautiful, so he left an offering in the bowl and went on his way.

That night, in his sleep, the Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, came to him. He was on an ocean rock, and she came on a water dragon, thanking him for his efforts and promising him a gift behind the temple. The next morning, he ran behind it and found a tea plant growing. He potted it, ran back home, and tended to it, taking care until it was ready to harvest. He prepared it as a traditional oolong tea, (which was his trade, after all), and quickly found it was well beyond any tea he had ever made. He took it to market, and sold more than he ever had. This is the modern tea we call "Iron Goddess of Mercy," or "Tieguanyin."

The Name

Sea Dragon comes directly from the myth. In the vision the man received, the goddess Guanyin came to him riding a great sea serpent, a classic serpentine dragon. Its name came from there, in honor of the vision from the age-old myth.

Brewing Suggestions

  • Use 7g (≈1 tbsp) of leaf per ½ liter (≈17 oz) of water.
  • Use 80°C/175°F water
  • Steep for 3 minutes, strain leaves, and enjoy!
    • Don't forget to try for multiple infusions! Just add time to each steep.
      • For under 2:00 steep times, add 30 sec.
      • For 2:00 to 4:00, add 1 minute.
      • For over 4:00, add 2 minutes or more.
    • Like milk in your tea? Steep an extra minute!
    • Too strong? Take off a minute, or use 5g of leaf instead!
    • Too light? Kick it up another minute, or use 10g of leaf instead!
    • Wanna do a tea latte?
      • Use 11g (≈1½ tbsp) of leaf per ½ liter (≈17 oz).
      • Steep 2 minutes in ¼ liter (≈8 oz) boiling (100°C/212°C) water
      • Add ¼ liter (≈8 oz) hot milk, steep another 3 minutes.
      • Strain leaves, add sugar if you like (1 tsp usually does it), and enjoy!


Chinese roasted tieguanyin oolong tea


We are a small independent operation, and as such we operate inside of our retail space, the Phoenix Pearl Tea Tavern in Red Lodge, MT. We bag teas for orders while also serving in-store customers, including making cups of tea, making food, and selling bulk and retail purchases. Our employees work as quickly as they can, but we don't have a warehouse to operate out of with dedicated employees. As such, orders may take anywhere from 1-5 business days to ship. Thank you for understanding.