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Let's Talk Oolong Part 2

According to international sales figures, Ti Kuan Yin is the most popular Chinese Oolong worldwide. You will find the name is variously transliterated e.g. Tie Guan Yin. Pronounced 'tee-eh kwan yen,' like all Oolongs, it is semi-fermented, meaning it falls roughly at the mid way point between black and green teas in terms of colour, flavour, and intensity.

According to Fujian legend, this varietal was discovered by divine guidance hence its name, loosely translated is Goddess of Mercy.

[caption id="attachment_1745" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Dry leaf is curled and opens whole[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1738" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Leaf opening Leaf opening is called the Agony of the Leaf![/caption]

My student employee in 2013, Tingting Hu was thrilled to find that I had this oolong on my shelf. It is what she grew up on in her home town near Beijing.

Tingting

Every evening she and her parents went for a walk after supper and returned to a tea ceremony using a tea set much like the one pictured below. The difference was that theirs was much bigger. This one is from a Chinese student who lived in my apartment building. She graced me with this set after visiting her family back in China a few years ago. I am so lucky!

[caption id="attachment_1739" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Tray1 Gongfu Tea Set[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1737" align="alignleft" width="700"]Big leaf Looking down you can see the whole leaf open[/caption]

After featuring the Bamboolong last week at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, we had lots of interest. And though milk or sweeteners are not normally recommended for oolongs, the Bamboolong Mint Latte was a huge success. I, for one, loved it! We will offer it again along with the Ti Quan Yin which I have decided to transliterate to a Lady Baker menu and call it Oo-la-long! It's greener than the Bamboolong and more floral-like. The water is best heated to 85C. As a tea, it is traditionally drunk after draining the first infusion and adding water the second time and brewing for a minute or two. The leaves open and settle on the bottom of the cup and will take at least 3 more infusions! There's no need to strain as the leaf is large.

If pairing with a meal, plan this Oo-la-long with a spicy dish. You'll be pleasantly surprised how it settles the taste buds!

I finish my blog again this week with a quote "The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort and refinement."

Do take time for tea, friends!
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