The Mandarins Tea Room Toki offers three different Anxi tea's but this is the only roasted TiKwan Yin (his spelling, not mine) that he sells. Normally I,m not crazy about TGY, they are just too heavy and acidic, and that can really do a number on your stomach. But I couldn't help from trying this one as Toki's description made it sound enticing. Initially I had ordered the sample size but before I had even finished the first cup I was online ordering more. Your $45.00 will get you a very stylish 100 gm. bag.The leaves look beautiful don't they? Sometimes you can just tell by looking at the leaves that it's a nice tea. The aroma from the pot is not subtle, a pungently rich roasted aroma fills the room. Mingled in with the roast is a clean and sweet smell of citrus. More specifically, grapefruit flower (if there is such a thing) Honestly, the tea's aroma is amazing. This Anxi is very different from any Ive had before, Very rich yet clean and vibrant at the same time, amazing!
The tea's flavors follow suit with it's aromas. Sweet, rich, roasted flavors with the sparkling cleanliness that the citrus and floral aspects provide. The first several infusions can be a little tart but in the later cups the tea's sweetness becomes more dominant. If you really enjoy high quality oolongs you shouldn't let this one pass by, it's worth every penny. Durability is good, maybe eight to ten infusions.
Now, a little story for you. I have an acquaintance, an elderly Chinese man named Tai Ling. From time to time I engage in a little small talk with Tai Ling, the weather, whats on sale at the market etc. Every once in a while I would see Tai Ling sipping coffee from a paper cup and I noticed that he winces with every sip. I asked why he drinks it if he doesn't like it, his response was that he doesn't like coffee but drinks it anyways because it keeps him warm. Being Chinese he of course prefers tea but can not afford it. So every once in a while I would give Tai Ling some tea, nothing special, just everyday teas. He is always appreciative of the gift and would later tell me that it was o.k. (not impressed), I started wondering, just what doe's it take to get a nod of approval from him? So, I gave Tai Ling 10 gms of this TGY and a few days later I,m out walking the dog's and I hear someone yelling my name from across the street, it was Tai Ling. He came running up to me with a big smile on his face. Ive never seen Tai Ling smile before, he normally is very sullen. He wanted to tell me how much he liked this tea, he said it was very good and in his opinion that this is a "first level" oolong. Actually, I had never even seen Tai Ling exhibiting anything that even approached happiness before, but he was a happy man that day. I was happy that I had brought a little joy into Tai Lings life. For me the sharing of tea is what tea is really about, it's not to be selfishly hoarded. Having said that though, this tea is rather expensive so I doubt that Tai Ling will be seeing much more of it.