Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby ZeroC » Jan 11th, '14, 23:04

Is Tie Guan Yin supposed to be floral or non-floral in flavor, or does it depend? I really don't like the floral kinds that I've had and really liked the non-floral. Is there a different name for the two different kinds or a mislabeling that I should be aware off?

Thanks.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby debunix » Jan 12th, '14, 00:04

The TGY cultivar can be processed as either a quite deeply oxidized/dark/traditional style oolong, or a lightly oxidized/green/new style oolong, and the light/green/new style is quite floral, in the better versions; the older one may be slightly floral but is more likely to have a fruity or plummy quality than floral.

So....are you indicating that you prefer the dark/traditional style?

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby Tead Off » Jan 12th, '14, 00:24

The charcoal roasting of TGY takes away the green, floral flavor profile. Without roasting, the floral quality is what predominates. Not so easy to find a good, roasted, TGY.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby Teaism » Jan 12th, '14, 02:18

If it smells too floral, sometimes artificial fragrances are added. Quite common in mass market TKY. Too burned, could sometimes mean hiding the inferior quality of the leaves. Higher grade of TKY has mild floral smell with a hint of roasting aroma. But it is always the balance of price vs. quality issue. The best way is to try to get a few samples and find out which type suits you best at the fairest price.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby ZeroC » Jan 12th, '14, 11:12

debunix wrote:The TGY cultivar can be processed as either a quite deeply oxidized/dark/traditional style oolong, or a lightly oxidized/green/new style oolong, and the light/green/new style is quite floral, in the better versions; the older one may be slightly floral but is more likely to have a fruity or plummy quality than floral.

So....are you indicating that you prefer the dark/traditional style?


Tead Off wrote:The charcoal roasting of TGY takes away the green, floral flavor profile. Without roasting, the floral quality is what predominates. Not so easy to find a good, roasted, TGY.


Hmm... maybe I should abandon TGY for some other oolong since I really dislike the floral property.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby Mureke » Jan 18th, '14, 06:41

Preferring the floral type, I've little experience with roasted tea. Before, I was bashing the 2013 Autumn "Light Roast Premium Tie Guan Yin" from YS. It turns out that I was brewing it wrong - the first steepings should be akin to flash rinses in duration.

This TGY smells very roasty. It has no flowers; neither is there fruit to speak of. However, it has a far better nai xiang than any low elevation "milk oolong" that I've tried. I supposed it is a roasted, lightly-oxidized TGY.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby debunix » Jan 18th, '14, 12:17

I've been enjoying this 2009 TGY traditional roast from Norbu as much as I've enjoyed my greener versions. I've also written here multiple times about my enjoyment of SeaDyke TKY as an everyday tea. There are nice traditional roast TGY available, not so easy to find since the green are very popular, but they're distinctive enough from some of the other common dark roast oolongs (e.g., Wuyi rock teas or Phoenix oolongs) to be worth looking for it you enjoy that deeper roasted flavor.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Jan 18th, '14, 13:29

debunix wrote:I've been enjoying this 2009 TGY traditional roast from Norbu as much as I've enjoyed my greener versions. I've also written here multiple times about my enjoyment of SeaDyke TKY as an everyday tea. There are nice traditional roast TGY available, not so easy to find since the green are very popular, but they're distinctive enough from some of the other common dark roast oolongs (e.g., Wuyi rock teas or Phoenix oolongs) to be worth looking for it you enjoy that deeper roasted flavor.



Debunix,

Have you compared the Norbu Traditional TGY to the Norbu Jin Guanyin? I ordered the Jin Guanyin and have yet to open it (have thus far only poured the Song Zhong Fenghuang and the Ba Xian Fenghuang tea from Norbu..both wonderful..), but it seems well-liked on Norbu's site. How does the Jin Guanyin compare for you?

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby wyardley » Jan 18th, '14, 14:10

"floral" as a general descriptor also gets used to describe a lot of different types of tastes in tea. I've never found it that useful a term when used that generally.

If you're talking about heavier fire vs. lighter fire, people sometimes use the terms 'qingxiang' and 'nongxiang' (roughly something like 'clear fragrance' and 'strong / dense fragrance'). But there's a lot of middle ground - teas that are light or medium fired but a little more oxidized than the super green stuff.

There's so much demand for the super green TGY, that a lot of what's out there is really substandard, so don't let some bad experiences sour you on lighter TGYs in general. I usually prefer teas with heavier oxidation and a bit more of a roast, but if you have a really exceptional green one, I think you will appreciate it. There are also the rumors that some of the stuff out there gets sprayed with some kind of artificial fragrance; I'm not sure how common this is, though I've tried some that I have my suspicions about.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby ClarG » Jan 19th, '14, 21:53

I've had it both ways, and I like it either way. In college a local cafe and used bookstore sold loose tea from a tea company that I'd have to ask the owners which tea co. it is, as the cafe even had MIM Darjeeling and a green Darjeeling from an estate, and their TGY/TKY was deeply oxidized and a dark oolong.

I have bought TGY/TKY from the NM Tea co. and from a tea company in Taiwan that I can't write the Mandarin or Cantonese characters for, and it was very light and green, and tasted floral almost akin to Jasmine.

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Re: Floral vs Non-Floral Tie Guan Yin

Postby ABx » Jan 25th, '14, 17:21

All things being equal, what will make the difference is the level of oxidation and roast.

One of the most important things you can learn, IMO, is these differences. If you can get the same tea (ideally from the same producer and the same batch) with varying degrees of oxidation and roasting, then you absolutely should get them and try them back-to-back. Once you know these differences, a lot of things will fall into place.

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