Tie Guan Yin is a type of Oolong tea. It belongs to semi-fermented tea, which is something between green tea and red tea. That is why it is called “cyan tea”. Among all the teas in China, the making process of Tie Guan Yin is the most complicated one, among which “Tossing” (Yao Qing) is the crucial steps in making Tie Guan Yin. The incomparable flavor is coming from this.
Plucking tea leaves (Cai Qing)
Unlike green tea, which requires to pluck the sprouts, Tie Guan Yin and other Oolong tea usually uses the tea leaves the same size as the normal tree leaves.
Sun Withering (Shai Qing)
The timing for sun withering is the very important. Normally, it would choose the time after 3 o’clock in the afternoon when the sun lights become soft. The duration normally takes 15 to 30 minutes.
Cooling (Liang Qing)
Cooling the supplement process to sun withering. This step is done in a cool and well ventilated indoor places. Every half hour to one hour, the tea need to be rotated.
Tossing (Yao Qing)
This is the key step in the making process of Tie Tuan Yin. Due to the friction of tea leaves, it turns into the state of semi-fermented. After tossing, the tea leaves will return back to cyan. After cooling, the tea leaves need to be tossed again. This step will be repeated three to five times.
Stir Fried (Chao Qing)
The traditional step of stir fried need to be completed by hand in order to control the temperature change anytime needed. The temperature of the pan will be set between 250 degrees to 280 degrees.
Rolling (Bao Rou)
This is the also one of the special making process for Oolong tea. Use tea cloth to wrap the tea leaves up, then add pressure to the tea leaves through rubbing. This step will make the tea leaves tighten into special shape of stripe, looking like oolong.
Baking (Hong Pei)
The purpose to reduce the water percentage of the tea leaves below 6%. Normally this step is done in turns with rolling, meaning first baking, rolling, baking again, rolling again, then baking. The tea will finally be processed into the “raw tea”.
Picking (Jian Bo)
The “raw tea” after picking and selecting can be packed and sold. Because the quality of Tie Guan Yin is easily altered when exposed to air. Therefore, it is generally used in vacuum packaging. When you buy it home, you should store them in the fridge.