Sea Dyke Brand, under the auspices of Xiamen Tea Import & Export Co Ltd, produces many Chinese Tea and most of these tea are exported worldwide. Some of the teas are relatively inexpensive and easily available. If you are residing in Europe or USA, a trip to your neighborhood Chinatown might be an exciting tea adventure for an afternoon. You can also purchase these tea online and I noticed Amazon had even started to sell such tea in their stores.
Ti Kuan Yin (also called Tie Guan Yin or TGY) is a Chinese oolong tea that is produced in Xiamen, China. There are many variants of oolongs that are produced and they have names like Shui Hsien and Tie Luo Han. TGY is named after the Goddess of Mercy. Legend has it that the Goddess of Mercy appeared in a dream instructing a religious farmer to harvest a tea tree behind a temple.....and this tea was named TGY and became a much loved tea today.
Sea Dyke produces a range of TGY for sale. They are available either packed in paper boxes, tea bags or in a larger tin (with the tea prepacked in smaller packets inside). This Ti Kuan Yin I have.....I call it the red tin version for easy reference....is considered the slightly better grade of TGY. Going for about US$12 per tin, you get 125 grams of TGY encased in an double lidded tin. If you work out the math, this would indicate about US$96 per kg pricing for this tea. The paper box version are cheaper and goes for about half the price of this red tin version.
This TGY red tin as you can see from the pix had an expiry date of Oct 2011. No worries. This tea is a heavy roast tea and will keep very well even way past its expiry date. In fact, asking prices for these 'expired' tea are much higher as tea drinkers of these tea attest to a more mellower feel to the tea. I had noticed that even in Guangzhou, there are tea drinkers looking for older versions of these tea.
As mentioned, this TGY is a heavy roasted tea. No, you will not get the delicate floral sweet aroma of the light roasted oolongs. This tea instead has strong flavors and aroma of wood; slightly toasty and mildly bitter. This TGY had been a very popular tea for many years and I can understand why after I had a tea session of this TGY. It is very easy to drink especially after a heavy meal. This tea is also just as pleasant when the tea had cooled down to room temperature. I have a friend who like drinking his TGY chilled. I do not regard this tea as a top grade TGY, but it is a good enough for me.