Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong

by Tony Gebely 4

Monkey Picked Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Etymology: “Tieguanyin” translates to “Iron Guanyin,” Guanyin being the “Goddess of Mercy”

Other Names: Iron Goddess of Mercy, Ti Kuan Yin, Ti Kwan Yin

Origin: China, Fujian Province, Anxi County

Taste: Overwhelmingly floral and slightly vegetal.

Behind the Leaf: This tea is named after the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (“Guan Yin” in Mandarin), also known as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy.” Tie Guan Yin was first used only as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. The tea leaves from Anxi County are known for their overwhelming floral fragrance and are harvested from a Camellia Sinensis cultivar named Tie Guan Yin. They are lightly oxidized and rolled into very tight balls, using a technique known as “baorou.” They slowly open up while steeping, releasing their flavor and floral aroma, eventually revealing whole leaves. This tea is often referred to as a “Monkey Picked” tea, but is not really picked by monkeys. References to monkeys picking tea can be found in ancient Chinese folklore, however, modern day tea merchants use this phrase to label their best and most highly prized oolong.

Tony Gebely

Tony has been studying tea for over ten years and has traveled to many tea producing regions throughout Asia. His book, "Tea: A User's Guide" is available now.

Comments (4)

  1. Love your site, looking forward to your book. Noticed a small point: Avalokiteshvara might rightly be called Goddess of Compassion, but the “iron” part in “Tie Guan Yin” refers to the origin story of this type of tea being discovered growing in the shade of an iron statue of Guan Yin. So far as I know, “Tie Guan Yin” refers almost exclusively to the tea, not to Guan Yin herself.

    1. Fantastic insight Todd, thanks! I’ll look into this.

  2. Hi Tony, I clicked here from, a highest-rated oolong…I am always curious of why oolong or specifically TGY would have milky flavor…I guess you closed your company?! :-((

  3. ye,i likeTieguanyin,it has fresh aroma, its unique aroma is fragrant smell and the fragrance is long and ecstasy.

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