"Wuyishan Mountain is an amazing Kingdom of tea trees. It produces countless tea cultivars. For hundreds of years, among them, some ones are considered having supreme character. Tea lovers usually call them "Ming Cong"（Famous Bushes 名枞）. Yancha made of Ming Cong features rock charm and tastes mellow, thick, sweet and brisk, mixed with a flavor of wild tea. Its soup is orange yellow and bright. Mingcong tea tree requires an ideal environment, so most of them grow up in Mingyan producing area. There are four Ming Cong which are seen best and called "Si Da Ming Cong"(Top Four, 四大名枞). They are Da Hong Pao（大红袍）, Tie Luo Han（铁罗汉）, Bai Ji Guan（白鸡冠）and Shui Jin Gui（水金龟）."
There you have it. Tie Lo Han is one of the major oolongs of China. However, buying Tie Lo Han from Wuyishan would be an expensive proposition as demand exceeds the small supply of oolong that is produced in that region. Most of the 'Ming Cong' oolong teas that we drink would most probably be from the tea growing regions at the lower altitudes of Wuyishan and possibly even at the outskirts of this region.
Cheung Hing Tea Shop in Hong Kong sells their Tie Lo Han in small hand wrapped packets of about 6.5g each. These packets are further packed in a bag of 10 and 8 of these bags are bagged again and sold as a larger bag.
I liked this Cheung Hing tea as this high roasted Tie Lo Han exudes a woody and herbal scent, reminding me of a nice traditional Chinese herbal tea. I felt this tea was memorable in a sense that the flavor and aroma stays in the mouth after a tea session and leaves a pleasant reminder of the tea. This tea can brew up about 6 infusions before weakening in a hurry. I had earlier sampled an older packet of this tea and found it more mellow. I shall try to keep aside this tea in my tea cupboard.
It was interesting while I was in Hong Kong, another tea shop there classified and sold their Tie Lo Han as old Shui Hsien (another Chinese oolong). One other shop even told me that their Tie Lohan is a blend of oolong tea. These shops had been around for many years and have a loyal following of customers who knowingly purchased these tea. I had tried their tea and they are very good. I have no qualms about this issue. To me, as long you are happy with your tea, it is a good tea.
The last pix shows the 4 Tie Lo Han tea in my collection. From top left in a clockwise direction; these are the Hong Kong Cheng Hin, Sea Dyke and the lower 2 from Singapore from Koh Kian Huat tea merchant and Pek Sin Choon. Noticed that all these 4 teas are individually hand wrapped and are sold in a larger packs or tins. All 4 Tie Lo Han are different especially in their aroma and roast levels.
Which Tie Lo Han should I brew today?