Ti Kuan Yin

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Not available
Honeydew, Lemon, Vegetal, Green, Orchids, Toasty, Nutty
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Michael
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec 5 g 8 oz / 244 ml

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83 Tasting Notes View all

  • “My 1st Ti Kuan Yin! I’ve seen lots of amazing tasting notes about Samovar’s version(Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy), but I wasn’t sure how big the sample size is and I have a butt load of...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is a lovely Oolong, sweet, pleasing orchid notes which are quite delicate at first, but reveal themselves more with the infusions that follow. I’m currently on my fourth infusion, and sadly...” Read full tasting note
  • “Well, I was going to plow through the black tea sampler first, but I decided that I wanted to try something else instead. (I did actually drink a cup of yunnan jig this morning, but I just…drank...” Read full tasting note
  • “I have had this before and loved it. This love has continued to this batch as well. I would love to note more about this but I don’t have time. Gotta love Tech week, moving, and school all at once...” Read full tasting note

From Adagio Teas

Oolong tea from the Fujian province of China. In Mandarin, Ti Kuan Yin means ‘iron goddess of mercy,’ a name derived from local legend. This tea is arguably the finest of Chinese oolongs, with competition-grade varieties selling for thousand of dollars a pound.

$24/4 oz

About Adagio Teas View company

Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at www.adagio.com and in many gourmet and health food stores.

83 Tasting Notes

865 tasting notes

My 1st Ti Kuan Yin! I’ve seen lots of amazing tasting notes about Samovar’s version(Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy), but I wasn’t sure how big the sample size is and I have a butt load of frequent cup points accumulated, so I figured I’d try this 1st. It is the 3rd most expensive sample they offer (outright cost, I’m not sure how it compares when comparing cost/gram), but this is the featured tea for March for their Roots Campaign so I thought now would be the perfect time to try it.

It’s definitely a green oolong and is beautifully rolled and twisted. 2.25g/6oz just below boiling water.

I could watch this unfurl forever… who says only blooming teas are pretty? The liquor is a very light yellow- lighter than I was expecting for the 5 min it steeped. The aroma is light, slightly vegetal, and… there’s a hint of something else… maybe lemony notes?

The flavor is very much like the aroma- light, slightly vegetal, subtle lemony notes, and just the slightest hint of astringency. Inspite of this astringency the mouth feel is still very much clean and smooth- it’s also thicker, almost broth like. I can see why people devote yixings to this one! Due to the subtle lemon notes I think this would be excellent yixing steeped then chilled for iced tea.

If you’re hesitant to drop $6 for a sample, I encourage you to try this WONDERFUL tea and support tea farmers!

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

2nd infusion, 6 min. Just as wonderful as the 1st! Lemony hints are gone, more broth like.


3rd infusiion, 7 min. Liquor, aroma, and flavor are all as strong as the 1st two infusions, but this one is much sweeter.

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4843 tasting notes

This is a lovely Oolong, sweet, pleasing orchid notes which are quite delicate at first, but reveal themselves more with the infusions that follow. I’m currently on my fourth infusion, and sadly this will be my last as it is quite late.

A nice nutty tone to this as well and a sweet buttery note, reminding me a bit of browned butter. Smooth mouthfeel. Definitely one of the better offerings from Adagio.

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158 tasting notes

Well, I was going to plow through the black tea sampler first, but I decided that I wanted to try something else instead. (I did actually drink a cup of yunnan jig this morning, but I just…drank it. It deserved better than that, but I had places to be! I’ll get to a tasting note later.)

This one looked really interesting in the tin. Dark, rich emerald green crumples of leaf that were a lot more solid and weighty than they seemed like they would be, once I picked one out. The smell of the dry leaves was, to me, very ‘cut grass’. Not freshly cut grass, but several-day-old cut grass, that was maybe out long enough to dry in the sun.

The actual brew…

Someone is going to think I sound crazy here, I’m sure, but to me…it smells like cooked potatoes. Baked potato maybe. I assume this is the nuttiness that everyone described, and I can see that too, but my first thought was definitely ‘baked potato’. And a side of cut grass. Given the color of the leaves, I was surprised that the tea itself didn’t brew to a darker color…it’s a very light yellow with a faintly spring-green edge. I didn’t have my eye on it while it was steeping, and was surprised when I came back to find it had unfurled into what looked like half of a plant in my glass infuser. Neat!

The taste is NOT potato, though that should surprise no one. It’s an interesting green, and it leaves a definite aftertaste of itself…strongly, but not unpleasantly. It feels very…full-bodied…and that impression has been increasing as I work my way toward the bottom of my first cup. I’m really enjoying it.

Now my uncertainty when it comes to rating teas is showing. What IS a perfect 100 for me? Does it even exist? This probably deserves a better rating than I’m giving it, but for now I’ll be conservative. There are still too many teas out there for me to try to be safely over-generous.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

The explosion of leaves that comes from a tightly furled oolong is probably one of my favorite tea experiences. It’s still a wonder to me that such big leaves can come from such a teeny little thing. Kind of like those foam capsules you put into water that spring forth into animal sponges or something equally useless [yet entertaining]. Except more delicious.

Funny, because to me when you say baked potato + cut grass that combination translates in my head as being potentially nutty tasting. And not that you’re asking for your entire log to be commented upon, but I tend to be overly generous with my ratings. It makes me very thankful that our Overlords have made it rather easy to go back and change everything without much trouble. The perfect 100? I think that when/if you chance upon it, like many things in life, you’ll just know.

sophistre I think you’re right about the nuttiness, by the by. I still somehow can’t get the notion that it’s potato out of my head, but I can see nutty when I think about it. It’s delicious though.

I remember those foam capsules! This is admittedly cooler, what with resulting in a cup of tea, but not by much. It’s hard to edge out ‘pack of dinosaurs in pill form’, but it does manage. Narrowly.

Also? I love the long comments. Not just because I’m constantly learning, but because people always seem to have some little irrelevant but equally-interesting detail. It makes the tea even more memorable. Tasting notes are cool. People-notes are equally cool. I’m sure there’s some over-the-top reference to make here about tea being a social phenomenon and steepster providing us with the modern social equivalent of a virtual teahouse, or something, but I think instead I’ll just say:

Foam dinosaurs in pills.

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98 tasting notes

I have had this before and loved it. This love has continued to this batch as well. I would love to note more about this but I don’t have time. Gotta love Tech week, moving, and school all at once with a heaping scoop of work.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

What are you teching for?


A new show called “Fifty Shades of Plaid”. The show is making fun of “50 Shades of Gray”.

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371 tasting notes

Still tryin’ ye olde palate cleansing to get things back in order in mah mouth! Oolong again called to me so this is all that I drank yesterday. Just nice and veggie sorta buttery with a hint-o-sweet by the 4th steep. Ahhhh… This may be how Rabs gets her tea groove back. NE

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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34 tasting notes

I’m amazed at how much of this I have. It goes so far! I only got a sample of it from Adagio, but this is the fourth time I’ve had it (and it’s an all day tea, with all of the infusions you get out of it), and there’s plenty left.

Beyond that, I’m liking it more and more all of the time. It’s a very full flavor, and the more I perfect the brewing of it, the better it gets.


How would you compare this with other tieguanyins you’ve had?


This was the first one I’d had, but I’ve since tried a few others. I found that this one was much less floral, but the other flavors really make it more full in general. There is more nutty taste, and a bit more of an iron undercurrent. I haven’t noticed the aftertaste a few others have, though. In general, it’s what I like out of an oolong. Others I’ve had were a little too green for me. At least, for the mood that makes me want oolong.

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248 tasting notes

I keep a very few tins of tea in my desk drawer at lab (I really should bring some more). And so for lunch today it was really between the Ti Kuan Yin and the Oolong #8. I went with the Ti Kuan Yin just because it’s my favorite of the two.

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87 tasting notes

I must confess – my sample is old, I don’t even remember how old it is, even approximately… but there is a reason why it became neglected and spent so much time in the back of my tea cabinet. To start off, I’m very upset with the leaf quality, the sample almost entirely consists of small broken leaves rolled into very loose pellets. For this price I find it unacceptable.

Now to the taste. This is a lightly roasted TKY that tastes slightly woody, nutty and dry. I am not getting much of floral notes, more of irony aftertaste in the background. Oversteeping and/or subsequent infusions bring a lot of vegetal flavor which I don’t like. Can’t say much about aroma probably due to the age of my sample but it reminds me of hay and has some toasty edge to it.

Overall, I found this oolong unremarkable and overpriced.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

That’s a shame. Mine is so good!

Pamela Dean

Oolonga, how about playing teamaster and roasting what you have left? I use my toaster oven at 375 or 400F, closely watched. You don’t want it to get brown, but close to it; when the tiny flakes turn brown, it’s done. You won’t regain the same qualities of the original tea, but make a different tea entirely. Maybe take one serving and experiment on it first? What do you have to lose? ;-)


@Dax Pamela Dean- you should start a thread about toasting your own tea and other crazy things. That’s AWESOME! And it would be even more awesome if I actually liked toasty teas lol.

Pamela Dean

Dear Cofftea, thanks for the appreciation. I’ve been able to lightly roast an oolong or two without actually toasting it. The object is to drive out the moisture, which affects the remaining drop of plant juice in the tea. This is what tea vendors do to preserve their oolongs. Every 14 months they roast them slightly to dry them out and prevent mold. Then they sell them as “aged oolong” or “roasted Ti Kuan Yin” — and sometimes charge more than for a new-made ti kuan yin. I know — obviously i spend way too much time surfing the net. Another idea — throw it in some water in a jar and put in the fridge overnight. What the hey? (yeah, i hate to throw anything out)


My sample might as well be the previous year harvest, who knows? I just received some White Peony from Adagio and doesn’t taste as the one I had a few months back…

Dax Pamela Dean
Thanks for the advise but I don’t like heavily roasted teas.

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22 tasting notes

Whew, back. Had computer issues that involve a brand new Dual Core Gateway. Hurray, no?

I should start by noting that Sinister owns a lovely Yixing clay pot seasoned for this tea alone. (refers to self in third person) Did you see what I did there?

Iron Goddess is a good epithet for any Oolong tea, but it’s perfect for this. It has sharp blood-coppery notes that are very lifting. It’s by no means too dark to taste fresh and light. That may sound a little like a contradiction…but sense is so hard to type in words.

If you’ve tried this, then you know. If you haven’t, buy some. This type of tea is too important for that “I don’t have an opinion so let me use yours” mentality. Besides, if you really think about it…what sort of tea aficionado would you be if you couldn’t say you loved or hated this tea?

It’s hard for me to correct myself. But I apparently lied/wrong when I said that Gunpowder was my favorite forever. “There’s always a bigger fish.” “The light at the end of the tunnel is brighter the closer you get.” “When you meet the Buddha on the road, you should kill the Buddha.” (think I’ve taken this as far as it’ll go.)

Either way, few people can say bad things about this tea. But to the few that do: I won’t argue with you, but I wish I could give you something as delicious as this tea. Alas, I cannot. A lot of Zen references floating around this post… =/ Suppose I’d best end on that note.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

Never underestimate a good Yixing pot, I say. I have four, two of which are in use. The big one was sadly rendered useless when the lid slipped out of my hands and shattered and the littlest one was just exactly big enough for one small cup. I used that one for a very smoky-like (worse than Lapsang Souchong, srsly!) yellow tea, though, so I don’t dare try to put anything else in it now. So they’re just standing around the flat now, looking pretty. My boyfriend has hinted at the fact that I have way too many teapots anyway. He might have a (small teensy tiny) point.


Nonsense, the more the merrier. We tea fans know that the enhancements a good seasoned pot will bring to the cup can’t be carried by any tea alone, no matter how great. Besides, what makes a more wonderful decoration than a nice artful teapot?

That’s horrible about your pot, though. I live in mortal dread of breaking mine and it’s the only one I have and took so long to season right.


And there’s just something fun about getting a new teapot and breaking it in, no matter what sort of pot it is. Although I will say that the cheap as dirt clear plastic godawful one that I bought for the benefit only of a flowering tea has been used only for that and does not get included in the regular rota. Not unless all the ten others break first.

Yeah, at first I was all WAAAAAAAHHH! about it, but if it had to happen, I’m glad it was the lid that broke. The lid sans pot wouldn’t have looked quite as nice on the shelf. :p

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336 tasting notes

Strangely I have never tried this tea before. The leaves look beautiful: a combination of dark and light green crumpled in interesting and exotic shapes. The smell is light, fresh a bit grassy, reminds me of countryside.

Here’s what Wang Mei Rui, the farmer growing this tea, says: “It is very important to enjoy tie kuan yin with heart. First we need to be calm and quiet. Second it is very important to use natural water and gong fu tea set to brew teas with friends. The natural water includes mineral water, well water, and mountain spring water. Distilled water and tap water cannot be used.”
The last part makes me smile. This tea is part of the Roots Campaign by Adagio, directly benefiting the farmers.

Taste: it’s light (lighter than I imagined) complex, floral. Our family poll – my husband liked it a lot, I liked it and my daughter: not so much.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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