Yesterday, a tourist came to our tea store asking for Tie Guan Yin tea. I was curious about why she flew from Northern to Southern China for this tea, so I asked her. She explained that in her city a lot of people drink this tea because of its beautiful green color and delicious fragrance. Tie Guan Yin tea is clearly gaining in popularity.
But 10 years ago, most Tie Guan Yin tea farmers were poor, and only a few people living in the Guangdong and Fujian provinces were familiar with this tea. So why has its popularity grown so quickly?
First, there are many Tie Guan Yin marketers in China. In nearly every city, you can meet people from Anxi county who deal in Tie Guan Yin tea. In the 1990s, a lot of Anxi farmers could no longer live on their lands, did not have jobs, and received no help from the government. So, many of them left their homes to start new lives in other cities. Most left home with nothing other than some cheap Tie Guan Yin tea. However, wherever they moved, they promoted their beloved Tie Guan Yin tea. This is probably the most important factor that accounts for the success of Tie Guan Yin tea.
Thirdly, Tie Guan Yin tea is really the king of Chinese teas. It has a bright green color, a strong natural fragrance, and an unforgettable sweetness. That is why it attracts people regardless of the types of tea they normally drink. It is an all-star!
Finally, Tie Guan Yin tea farmers are very innovative in bringing new varieties of Tie Guan Yin tea to market. At first, there was only traditional roasted Tie Guan Yin tea, but now there are Zhengwei, Xiaoqing, Tuosuan, and Xiaozheng varieties. So many different Tie Guan Yin teas form an invincible army.
Now that Tie Guan Yin teas have come to dominate the Chinese tea market, I believe with time, they will expand to the rest of the world. It’s a nice tea and deserves its success.
However, to keep Tie Guan Yin tea fresh, you must store it in the refrigerator. That is a big problem. Speaking as a tea man, we need do more work.
This article was originally posted to T Ching in April of 2010.