Tie Guan Yin Grade II Modern Green Style

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Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)
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185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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31 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Happy May Day/Beltane to all! This has been a beyond marvelous day for me: I tried this tea with my new gaiwan and am loving it, and most importantly Doulton’s Shakespeare box came!!!!! I’m just...” Read full tasting note
  • “Lynne-tea – is this what you sent me? It was in a little red package, so I’m not entirely sure. Anyways, when I opened up the little vacuum-sealed package of this tea, I was surprised to see that...” Read full tasting note
  • “The rapturous tasting notes about this made me want to try it and, on the offchance I’d get lucky, I sifted through my last batch of Life in Teacup samples and voila! Lucky, lucky me. I am all...” Read full tasting note
  • “This tea is magical. Really, truly, magical. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I love it. I really didn’t know what to expect going into this. No tasting notes yet, no description, no...” Read full tasting note

From Life In Teacup

Production Region: Fujian Province

Style: Modern green style

Pack Size: 1 oz. (4×7g vacuum packs or 28g pack)

Price per unit: $2.70

Product #1atgym2

About Life In Teacup View company

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31 Tasting Notes

371 tasting notes

Happy May Day/Beltane to all! This has been a beyond marvelous day for me: I tried this tea with my new gaiwan and am loving it, and most importantly Doulton’s Shakespeare box came!!!!! I’m just so overwhelmed with tea joy at the moment. But I do need to review this tea before I move onto the amazing box-o-Shakespeare (and it truly is amazing).

Speaking of amazing: this tea is beyond amazing. I’m so glad that I purchased my new kettle and first gaiwan just for this tea. It’s worth it. I’m on infusion #8 and it’s still going strong. I wait until there’s only about 1/4 of liquid left in the cup and then add more water, stir with the lid, and then commence sipping.

Steep 1-3 were all consistent and good. I didn’t feel “FLOWERS!” like other notes I’ve seen, but more like “Spring Meadow” right before the flowers get boisterous. Each subsequent infusion started to do the wonderful “oolong morph” that I highly prize, and on steep #7 it turned into the best sweet floral oolong that I’ve ever had. I’ve mentioned how some oolongs will feel like their sweet yumminess infuses into my tongue? Not only is this tea doing that, but I can feel it all the way to my stomach and that’s a new and unique sensation that I’m loving. So far this is my favorite oolong hands down. I thought that I’d never give a 100 to any tea, but here it is. I will lose my mind if I ever run out of this tea. TG

ETA: It finally started to fade on steep #10.

180 °F / 82 °C

So glad you liked it, it really is a very special tea.


Oh, I LOVE this tea. I’m introducing a coworker to loose leaf teas (I let her borrow my first kettle, teapot, and then made her a bunch of samples), and she really loved the few oolongs that she’s had so far. I must have her try some of this. And I think I’m in love with drinking from a gaiwan. :D


I want to get a gaiwan but I keep being worried about lead in glazes from China. Maybe I’m being overly paranoid. I noticed someone has a glass one, can’t remember where I saw it now.


I hadn’t thought about lead in the glazes. Hmmm…and that’s very worth thinking about. I googled “glass gaiwan” and saw quite a few from tea companies I recognize (from Republic of Tea to Teaspring). You’ll have to let me know if you go for it! :)


Maybe I’m a fool for trusting the signs, but my teashop posts a very straightforward sign noting that many of the yixing pots and gaiwans and other ceramic teawares have lead-containing glazes used for exterior decoration.

I don’t worry about the exterior glazes, because liquids have to be in contact with the lead glaze for a good while to leach out significant amounts. I stick to simple interiors, and enjoy my teas.

The one glass gaiwan I tried was awkward because it had a little rim inside the body of the cup for the lid to rest on, which at first seemed like a great idea, but in practice made it very difficult to tilt the lid just a little to serve as a strainer when pouring tea. So I went back and bought several more of the porcelain gaiwans to have a matched set for tastings.

No worries.


Thank you so very much for the info teaddict! I really think that most of my tea accessory budget will be going toward gaiwans for awhile :)


Gaiwans should not take a large chunk of your budget, depending on how fancy and finished you want them to be.

This was $2.99 or $3.99 at my chinatown tea shop.

Of course, shopping online, not many merchants carry such basic inexpensive items. But still, if you don’t need frills for your starter set, you can do well for little $$.


Yay, I’m so glad to see more love for this tea! It is AMAZING, right? When I try to compare this to a, uhm, less enjoyed but more expensive TGY I recently had, my soul weeps.


And what tea would that be Shanti? ;) Tee-hee! Seriously, I think I now know what you mean about your soul weeping and I haven’t had that more expensive tea, and now I don’t think I will.


And teaddict: thanks for the info! I don’t think that I have any local options for finding gaiwans. I do all my tea-related shopping online, so it can get expensive – and I’m looking for gaiwan’s that are very aesthetically pleasing to me (and so far those haven’t been cheap). And currently almost all of my tea budget’s going toward tea :)


Rabs, I’d encourage you not to give up on the Samovar Four Seasons. Just get a sample size so it’s not a huge investment and judge for yourself. (I’m not personally invested in it whether others like what I like so please don’t worry about offending me if you don’t. My skin is v. thick. ;-)) I thought it was very like the An Xi TGY in terms of flavors — lots of flowers, very buttery and creamy - except more robust, like the tea had grown up. I think you may like it and if not, there’s always this lovely little gem that you’ve already fallen in love with. :)


Ugh. Why oh why does that line through thing happen. Never mind, I know why but I seriously thought I’d typed two hyphens there. Geez.

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6107 tasting notes

Lynne-tea – is this what you sent me? It was in a little red package, so I’m not entirely sure.

Anyways, when I opened up the little vacuum-sealed package of this tea, I was surprised to see that the leaves looked somewhat crushed! I had been hoping to use my little glass teapot, but its strainer would let the leaf pieces through easily, so I had to use an infuser instead. I don’t know if this was a consequence of mailing or not, but oh well! Still smelled deliciously green/vegetal.

I haven’t had a TGY in a while for whatever reason, and I definitely have missed them, as I just sniffed this one and nearly swooned! Hahaha. Buttery/vegetal/delicious. The first sip unfortunately screams ‘under-infused’, so it’s a little weaker than it could have been. I was worried about oversteeping because of the broken leaf, but apparently that was unnecessary. The flavour is smooth, a bit buttery, and “green”, but not too strong on the latter element. It isn’t really particularly floral to me, although I could see someone saying it is. Just a tasty cup of tea. I do think I like Verdant’s more, but this one is quite tasty as well. Looking forward to more infusions tomorrow!

ETA: Second infusion, accidently for 4.5 minutes, is still quite tasty and pleasant. Less bitterness than the second infusion from my sticky rice tuocha, and a lovely oolong aftertaste. Almost a touch too “green” for me right now though, but still good.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Yes I do believe you are correct! It was hard for me to figure out which was which at first too.. sorry – I could have labeled it a bit better I guess. I do think that the mailing may have crushed it a bit. So sorry for that >.< I know how to pack for next time!


It’s ok – usually the tea companies label things properly! Anyways, no worries, because it was super tasty regardless. Everything else seemed to be fine, so I was wondering if this one was pre-crushed. Ah well!


Yes I agree.. that taste absolutely makes up for it. Bummer about the crushed leaves though..

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2036 tasting notes

The rapturous tasting notes about this made me want to try it and, on the offchance I’d get lucky, I sifted through my last batch of Life in Teacup samples and voila! Lucky, lucky me. I am all for instant gratification. In this case it was so instant I placed my order right before writing this.

Let me add my own effusive praise to this lovely tea.

Yellow flecked, deep green, twisty, curvy leaves. Not the biggest I’ve seen in an oolong, not the smallest either. They really do have an amazing fragrance. I often have difficulty detecting floral notes even in teas that are scented. I think it was Shanti who said this smells like a garden and she’s absolutely right; it’s like sticking your nose into a gardenia. There may be other floral scents in there as well but I’m notoriously bad at placing floral scents. Lily of the valley maybe?

The brew is a light yellow with a tinge of green and smells like someone poured melted butter over the aforementioned flowers. The leaves unfurl to increase dramatically in size after multiple steeps.

And in honor of laurenpressley’s impending addition, let me tell you what the taste reminds me of.

There’s a little white flower called “baby’s breath,” which is often used as an accent in bouquets. It doesn’t have much of a scent on its own, so until I became a mother I thought the reference was to the milky white color of the flower. Because after all, babies drink milk.

Then my first son was born. And in those first few days of holding him and nursing him, I noticed an amazing thing. His breath smelled divine. Sweet, warm, milky, buttery. Pure. He took nothing into his body other than mother’s milk. There were no teeth yet, to collect what the mouthwash commercials refer to as “odor causing bacteria.” Just this sweet, lovely baby milky smell.

That’s what this tea tastes like. That, and flowers. What’s not to like?

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Beautiful note!! :)


Awwwww! :)


I’m such a sap. ;-)


Such a sweet description…butter, flowers, and literal baby’s breath. Aww. :)

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96 tasting notes

This tea is magical. Really, truly, magical. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I love it.

I really didn’t know what to expect going into this. No tasting notes yet, no description, no steeping parameters even. it was just a free sample that I won by replying first to a thread. But, intrepid tea explorer that I am, I went in head first, and boy was I rewarded for my bravery.

I decided to start off with a 45 second steep. I used about a teaspoon and around 8 ounces each steep, and gradually increased the steep time as I went on, up to around 3 minutes by steep 6. I would have kept going as it was still strong and delicious, but I had to stop in order to get some sleep and pack, as I had a flight in the morning.

The first steep was like stepping into a garden at dawn; lush, dark greenness, a heavy mist in the air, and large white magnolia and gardenia flowers all around you. Steep 2 and onward were even more magical. Each cup was like gardenias, magnolias, and milk. There was the most delicious buttery component, like orchids and unsalted butter, and a hint of sweetness, like lactose or white bread, or maybe just from the flowers themselves. And something else, like the taste of “comfort”—the smell of warm skin, or your kitty’s fur, or your favorite fleece blanket—I don’t know how to put a name on it, but it was surely there.

The mouthfeel of the infusion was remarkable. Absolutely luscious…it was thick, and rich…just a “whole mouth experience.” Like something that you needed to bite into, but would give way easily to your teeth and tongue. Not that the tea was actually like gelatin or something, but it had an impression, if you will, of smooth thickness.

I wasn’t expecting to re-order anything from Life in Teacup when I first received my samples, but after trying this I know I’ll be placing another order soon.

165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec

I was just at the Life in Teacup website – their samples look amazing! So tempted…


That sounds incredible!!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I also loved my first Life in Teacup sample – a jasmine green.

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259 tasting notes

This tea came packaged up with the Number 3 brew I enjoyed so much yesterday, thank to RABS and her incredible, creative, ingenious, wonderful Geek Tea Prize. In following the rules of the game, I have certainly consumed this tea within 24 hours but it may be longer for me to have posted this tasting note.

(Parenthetically: my mother in law is visiting and I’m feeling slightly deprived of computer time: I won’t have much access to the computer for the next week but I will be peeking in. We are going to take her on a road trip to meet up with another one of her sons. If you had told me a year ago that my biggest fears and trepidations about a roadtrip would not be car crashes or bed bugs, or a diet of fast food but rather no control over water temperatures for my teas, I may not have believed you). I hope that this deprivation will be good for my moral fibre.

This is a WONDERFUL tea. All of the tasting notes rave about this tea. I am now on infusion 4 or 5 and it’s going very strong. For those who do not like green tea, this might be one to sample. This tea never seems to get that bitterness that some greens have if they are not coddled. Perhaps because it is Chinese instead of Japanese? I am not sure.

As others have written, I can attest: this tea opens up to a floral/vegetal buttery aroma that is simply devastatingly wonderful. It seems to have a lighter touch than many greens in terms of going full-fledged vegetal—that is, I don’t have any sense that there is spinach or asparagus in my tea (are you listening to me, JacquelineM?). At the same time, perhaps paradoxically, I taste this tea as richer and deeper than many greens but more towards the floral side.

Like the An Xi Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Oolong of yesterday, this green counterpart is a miracle of tea growth. This plantation must be a spectacular place. This tea comes in a small package and yet contains within it a full canvas of artistic splendour.

I really have to agree with Morgana: newborn babes really smell exquisite. They have not accumulated bacteria. IF they sweat or burp or engage in other bodily functions there is a pureness to it. Stench is acquired with age! And this tea has that kind of brand-new purity and freshness and lightness. It tastes as if it has never been contaminated with man-made “stuff”. Other-worldly, I would say.

I really cannot thank Rabs enough for her kindness. Life in Teacup will hear from me, eager to place an order, when they return from holiday in August.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

LOL, stench is acquired with age may become my new motto. Right after retirement is wasted on the old. ;-)


I think I’ll make that my motto as well ;)

Doulton: I’m also really pleased that you liked this one. I wasn’t sure how you felt about oolongs so I put these two together. I guess I didn’t make clear in the instructions that if there’s more than one tea in an envelope then you get to chose which one is the “must have” and the other may be opened at your leisure.


Man the more I hear about this game, the more awesome it sounds and the more I wish I was clever enough to think of something like it :P

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When it comes to Tie Guan Yin, I usually prefer charcoal roast and traditional style. But this one impressed me from the beginning. It is only a Grade 2, which well explains the standards of this tea factory. Later it turned out I fell in love with many of their products.

Modern green style Tie Guan Yin is featured with lighter oxidation, greener dry leaves and more prominent floral/vegetal fragrance. It is closer to green tea than most other oolong products. My observation is, people who love green tea accept modern green style Tie Guan Yin very well. Many people who love Japanese green tea seem to find something they like in modern green style Tie Guan Yin.

Personally, I like modern green style to certain degree, usually appreciate the fragrance, but sometimes feel like to escape when the grassy flavor dominates. I even like grassy flavor when it’s not very strong. But when it gets overwhelming, I can’t take it anymore.

Today, for the first time, I tried brewing this tea in a mug. I was a little worried about the grassy flavor. Normally I use gongfu method to brew this tea, with only 20-30 seconds for each infusion. I wasn’t sure if a lot of grassy flavor would be extracted if the tea were left in a mug for many minutes.

I used about 20-25 grains of dry tea leaves, brewed in a glass mug. I paid price for my laziness. There was some lukewarm water from last night, and I just used it. It turned out too cold for brewing tea, probably only 60C or 140F. The first infusion was merely water taste. But then, starting from the second infusion, the flavor came out nicely. The tea didn’t taste grassy at all, probably because it’s not as strong as in gongfu style. When brewed in mug, the tea tastes very much like a fragrant green tea, with some sugary, metallic flavor that seems typical oolong characteristics.

Overall the flavor is on the light side, but should be strong enough for people who like green tea. Next time, I should definitely use hotter water!

While drinking this tea, I finished the first DRAMA in my life! No, I am not a writer, but merely a lousy student of ENG 200. I’ve been writing craps all this time, choppy, dull pieces that I wish my classmates never know who wrote them. But anyway, I could never imagine writing a DRAMA! Although I’ve been writing junk every day in the past two months, now writing a big chunk, complete piece of structured junk seems worth celebration with a cup of tea! :-D

150 °F / 65 °C 3 min, 0 sec
I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Congrats on finishing your drama!

Pamela Dean

Ginkgo, congratulations on your success!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Thanks guys! I am not sure if my writing was a complete success :-p I was happy it was an online class so that all the peer readings were anonymous. Otherwise I would worry my classmates would hate me :-p

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412 tasting notes

The second of my three samples from Life In Teacup. Oooh, the leaf here is VERY similar to Samovar’s Four Seasons – like, identical in scent and appearance. I’m using 2.5g, about 1/3 of the sample, in my little 4oz glass pot, which I think makes this a gongfu-light style steeping :P

The liqueur is quite pale, rather like a white tea. The scent is lighter than Four Seasons, but has similar notes: butter, gardenias (at least, I gather that’s the particular floral scent, from what others have said – I have trouble getting past “flowers”). The taste follows – buttery, floral, fresh. Like eating buttered bread in a garden.

This is lovely, rich, and not at all harsh. I’m pleased, though I’d like the flavor to be a little stronger, so I’ll make the next steeps longer.

One last thing: at $2.70/oz this is an absolute STEAL, assuming it lasts through several steeps. Compare to Four Seasons at $10/oz.

ETA: This is definitely better with hotter water – deeper color, richer and fuller flavor

Steep 1, 1 minute, 205˚F
Steep 2, 1 minute, 195˚F
Steep 3, 1:45, boiling
Steep 4, 1:45, boiling
Steep 5, 2:15, boiling
Steep 6, 2:15, boiling

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Have you ordered from Life in Teacup before? I ask because from what I read the minimum shipping amount is $22 because it is direct from China? I really like the Yunnan I tasted but I don’t think I want to order $100 worth of tea right now in order to gain the most out of $22 shipping…if I am indeed reading it right.


I haven’t, other than these samples, but I’m planning to. The way I read the shipping policy, here http://www.lifeinteacup.com/shipping is that it’s $5 flat in the US. I think the “Buying Directly from China” section is more for wholesalers.


Oooooh OK! I was thinking that it couldn’t be right! I’m so glad I asked!


Wow, I really like Four Seasons from Samovar and this is anything like that…YUM


Laura, I’d definitely recommend trying this then! They’re very similar, in my opinion (I think I’ll be ordering this instead when my Four Seasons runs out), and Life In Teacup offers free samples with $3 shipping. http://www.lifeinteacup.com/tea-samples

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1112 tasting notes

Many, many, many thanks to Rabs for sending this one to me!!!!

First of all, could you believe I haven’t used my teeny tiny oolong pot from Samovar until TODAY?! It took me all this time to realize that it had that twirly piece of metal near the spout to catch the leaves (I kept on thinking “shoot! I can’t use it! I forgot my strainer!”). Anyhoo – long story short – not only do I love it for oolongs but I realized I think unfurling, floating, steeping tea leaves are BEAUTIFUL (it’s only those frightful blooming alien flowers that I find so disturbing).

Doubleanyhoo – I used about a half teaspoon of leaves in my wee pot, 175 degree water, and was all over the map with my steeping times. I did the first two at a minute – then I went up to three minutes for the next two, and now my fifth and sixth steeps are at 5 minutes. Despite my abuse, this tea is delicious. It started out very green, and morphed into a milky, meadowy, buttery delight. Still. At number six!

I can see why people are comparing it to Four Seasons – and I do think it’s similar – but I also think Four Seasons has a little more of that cinnamony nutmegy thing going on, which I didn’t get at all in this one. This one is much more a “fresh buttered greens” to me, where the Four Seasons is more of a “light buttery pastry” to me. Both are pretty darn phenomenal :) and I like them both very, very much!

I’ll edit this post later when I drink steeps 7+ this afternoon!

I also have to reiterate how much I LOVE this little oolong pot!!!!! It makes experiencing the multiple steeps so pleasurable since you are drinking four ounces of tea at a time. Why do I wait so long to try things!?!?!?

And your opinion – do you think a dragon ball is too big for this lil pot? Maybe a 30/45 second steep would work? Any opinions appreciated!

EDIT – I stopped at Lucky 13!!! I think the best steeps were from 3 to, like, 9 or 10!! Very buttery milky green heaven. Even my 13th steep had flavor and appeal. What a great tea day!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Many, many welcomes! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it :) I’ve been holding off on trying the Four Seasons that you sent me until I had a day where I wasn’t stressed and could sit down and focus on it. I think it’s going to be tomorrow!

Can I tell you how proud I am that this tea “christened” your tiny Samovar oolong pot? Furthermore I love “Doubleanyhoo.”

I’m not sure about the dragon ball situation. I have seen neither the oolong pot nor a dragon ball in real life — sorry that I’m of no help there!

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59 tasting notes

This tea is every flower.

I first brewed it and it was jasmine. Then it cooled and became the flowers and herbs from my one grandma’s garden. Then it cooled more and became all the flowers and bushes from my other grandma’s garden.

It is also a friendly tea – not bitter and astringency is light.

I do not consider myself a fan of flowery teas, but this is still one of the better oolongs I’ve had. It’s worth trying for anyone, but flower lovers have to have it. The little packages it came in are very convenient and cute.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I was thinking of buying this already – your review makes me certain! I love flowery teas.


How poetic!! :)

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216 tasting notes

You know, I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t do something wrong in storing this — I put it in a tin, but it’s a biggish tin for a small sample. This pot, like the previous one, is just not as flowery as the very first one. I mean, on any other tea I’d be calling this flowery, but here? Only barely.

Well, I’ve already ordered a bit more. I’ll have to see if I can treat the next batch better!

Mmm, flowers.

JK Tea Shop

Yes, Tie Guan Yin is famous for its exquisite light orchid aroma, which is the aroma I like the most. Prefer smelling the aorma than drinking the tea. haha .

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