Tieguanyin Tea (Iron Goddess) Quality - Good Vs Bad

by Ruben

I came to China this summer and I am living in Xiamen. I love tea culture and ritual so since I arrived I start to learn things about tea.

First I start to drink green tea and red tea. But now I have found the Tieguanyin tea and I love it. I have being drinking this kind of tea for 2 weeks every day.

I bought some 7 grams bags in one tea shop and another couple in another tea shop. The thing is that I want to know if there is a way to identify very good quality tea from a middle quality tea.

So if you can advise me I would really appreciate it.

PS: Hey your page is great!!!!!


Ruben, you have asked me a really tough question. Tieguanyin tea is probably the easiest Chinese tea to appreciate. But if you want to know what's a high quality, then it becomes an acquired taste that takes experimentation.

(Not to mention there are many types of Tieguanyin teas too. where each person would prefer different types.)

Here are some guidelines:

Dry Leaf
Hard to tell, but higher grades have a fresh floral aroma.

Tea Liquor
Higher grades tend to be golden yellow with a lustre rather than dark yellow.

First Infusion
Usually bitter. Higher grades have a rich, floral aroma overlaying the bitterness.

Nasal Aroma
Highest grades are sharp, penetrating and lasting. Fresh and floral.

Mouth Flavour
Look for robust and rich. Not bitter. Not sweet (which can be caused by spiking). Not some weak taste. But somehow rich and highly durable.

Look for 5+ infusion and still going strong and retaining that robust flavours.

Most low grades are spiked with floral essences but they generally last only 3 infusions.

Wet Leaf
Floral aroma. Whole leaves and not fragmented. Look for signs of hand harvesting. Higher grades leaves are fat and tender. Floral aroma.

These are the basics. For the different types of Tieguanyin tea available, and what differentiates the best teas from the rest, check out Shen's tea garden at

Iron Goddess Tea - Discovered In 3 Years

I hope I have contributed to your quest for the best Iron Goddess tea!

Comments for Tieguanyin Tea (Iron Goddess) Quality - Good Vs Bad

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Jul 04, 2008
Thank You!
by: Ruben

Thanks for your quick reply I really appreciated it. Your information was very use full and now I know I am drinking a good quality.

After I read your answer I took some tea and cook it and I found all the things you told me so I guess I learn something new and very use full for choosing the tea that I am going to drink.

Jul 04, 2008
Thank you too!
by: Julian

Ruben, no problem. I thank you too for giving me this opportunity to talk about my favourite tea!

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