Monkey Picked Tieguanyin Tea

by Maria

Twenty years ago I bought in China Town in San Francisco a tea that was called Monkey Tiekuanyin and in the can was written that the Monkeys were trained to picked the tea leaves.

The last years I've been trying to find this tea that I loved but I don't know exactly which tea is that. I hope you can help me!! Thank you,



Maria, I am not especially knowledgeable on Monkey-picked Tieguanyin tea, so I stand to be corrected on this one.

As far as I know, this type of tea is especially popular overseas, probably due to marketing efforts by US-based tea importers.

We have never heard of it in China.

In modern day China, there is hardly any tea that is harvested using monkeys.

From what I heard, these Tieguanyin teas grow in Wuyi Mountain where there is lot of cliffs, and the tea plants grow on these cliffs, so monkeys are used to picked the tea leaves.

Well, I have several business partners in Wuyi Mountain (we sell 8 different teas from this region) and none of them has told me about Monkey Picked Oolong.

So I guess this tea is anything but a myth now.

If you could let me know what type of oolong you like i.e. whether it is green and fragrant, or dark and roasted, I can make suitable recommendations.

We have excellent stocks for Tieguanyin Tea (called Tieguanyin King as they are harvested from high altitude) and Wuyi teas.

Hope this helps?


Comments for Monkey Picked Tieguanyin Tea

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Jul 14, 2013
Monkey Picked Tea
by: suzzie

Hi I found this information on you Monkey Picked Tieguanyin Tea.

The origin of Monkey Picked oolong tea dates to the early 18th century, when the Tie Guan Yin varietal of tea plant was discovered in Anxi county of Fujian province.

Legend has it that monkeys were trained by monks to pick the choicest leaves from wild tea trees growing in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province.

This monkey-picked tea was presented as tribute to Emperor Qian Long in 1741 and, for many years, was enjoyed exclusively by the Imperial Court.

Over time, as the tea became more accessible to the general population, it provided inspiration for poets, artists, scholars and philosophers.

Tie Guan Yin means Iron Goddess or Iron Bodhisattva; the leaves are dark like iron yet the taste is light and ethereal, like the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin.

Another Chinese legend says that the Goddess of Mercy appeared in a dream to a local farmer and told him to look in the cave behind her temple. There he found a single tea shoot, which he planted and cultivated. From that time, the tea has been known as Iron Goddess.

Today, monkey-picked simply means the highest quality Tie Guan Yin tea available. Picked during the spring and fall from higher elevations than other Tie Guan Yin grades, the monkey-picked grade is entirely handmade by small family artisans with great care.

The taste is alluring with a fresh orchid aroma, a bold fruity flavor and a sweet, lingering finish.

While Tie Guan Yin can be simply brewed in any teapot, we recommend the gongfu method using lots of leaf, multiple infusions and brief steeping times to bring out its full characteristics.

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