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.
There is speculation behind Sea Dyke tea, especially their Wuyi oolongs. Some people think that they blend aged and newer leaves to get their taste. I haven't tried any Sea Dyke yet so I can't speak for myself, but I do enjoy aged oolong (in fact I'm enjoying one right now).
Have you tried any other Sea Dyke teas?
Thank you for your comments. See you have a new blog going...drinkingteas.blogspot.com. Do be careful about aged oolongs...some teashops reroast their unsold greener oolongs and market them as aged. Not good as the tea is slightly sourish. Do check my older blogs on Sea Dyke. Thanks again.
Thanks for noticing! I generally don't drink re-roasted aged oolongs too often. Unroasted aged oolongs are hard to find but are great when you can find them. I won't buy a product simply labeled "aged oolong", I have to know the year, origin, and history of the tea before I spend money on it.
My goal with the blog is to find nicely priced unroasted aged oolongs. Do you have any suggestions for places to buy them?
Ive had Sea Dykes Shui Hsien which has a very heavy roast. Not unpleasant, but nothing special.
The canned versions of Sea Dyke oolongs are the better grade ones. Examples are the yellow can lao chong shui hsien and this red tin tgy. The oolongs in boxed versions produced by Sea Dyke are lower grades. If you are looking for old oolongs late 90s or older (including cans of these tea), you would have to come to my part the world as most online stores may not carry them. Jake, contact Cloud Mountain....I believe he has some old oolong stashed away in his shop.
I have just finished my 20 years old Sea Dyke lao chong shui hsien, it was nice and I love it. The tea was well kept it a dry place and I still have a few cans left for my own consumption.
Currently, I have opened my 10 years old Tie Luo Han, nice too but not as old and smooth as compared to the shui hsien.
Thanks for plug Wilson, but I dont actually have very many aged Oolongs. My stock is mostly fresh Oolong, 50% of is not actually listed on my website.:)
Do you mind if I e-mail you about it Cloud Mountain? Any amount of aged oolongs is still something.
Thanks for the recommendation, Wilson.
For sure. I'll take a look in my store to see what I have/
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