Tieh Kwan Yin – Tea of the Iron Goddess of Mercy is the stuff of Legends
Deep in the heart of Fujian’s Anxi County, a temple was gradually but steadily falling into disrepair. Inside stood the iron statue of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Legend has it that a labourer, poor but caring, started to tend the ruined temple. Although he could not afford the cost of fully repairing the temple, he was inspired to do what little he could, sweeping the temple and lighting incense as an offering to Guan Yin.
One night, Guan Yin appeared to him in a dream and told him of a cave behind the temple where treasure awaited. He was to take the treasure and share it with others. The farmer found a single tea shoot and planted it in his field, eventually nurturing it into a large bush from which he produced the finest tea. He gave cuttings of this rare plant to all his neighbors and began selling the tea under the name Tieh Guan Yin. He and his neighbours prospered, the rundown was temple repaired, a symbol of the compassion that had been demonstrated.
How many of us would have seen and appreciated the gift of that tea shoot, or would you have just missed it, even perhaps have trodden over it, not recognising it for the gift it was?
I confess I was expecting something else at this point in the story, something more fantastic, my imagination running to ancient treasure, or at the very least a large pile of gold. But a tea shoot, was that it I thought?! But the absolute magic of the legend of Tieh Kwan Yin is to illustrate the challenge of recognising a gift for what it is, not what you think you want but to understand the best gifts are actually what you need.
Tieh Kwan Yin is the Most Famous Chinese Ooolong – A few practical notes on brewing Tieh Kwan Yin – Tea of the Iron Goddess of Mercy
Tieh Kwan Yin is the most famous Oolong from the Fujian province of China, the ancient home of Tea. Do wash your tea leaves in boiling water just for a few moments before you start to infuse it for 2 -3 minutes, ideally brewing in a small teapot. Further infusions can be made, releasing the wonderful aroma of peaches, fragrant without being absolutely vegetal green. Each oolong is a unique mix, part oxidised, a delightful and unique blend of green and black tea.