Ti Kuan Yin, also know as Iron Goddess of Mercy is one of our most popular oolongs. The wonderful fragrant aroma and light, sweet cup lends this oolong to be enjoyed alone or accompanying savoury meals such as chicken or seafood.
So how does an oolong tea become known as Iron Goddess of Mercy? Well as you would expect there are a few versions, but we particularly like the version of the poor farmer as a lovely Chinese story around the origins of this tea.
The tale is set in the Fujian province of China, where our Oolong tea is grown, and legend has it that there was an old temple that had not been used for a long time and as such was in quite a state of disrepair, but inside there still remained a beautiful iron statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan yin). The farmer passed the temple daily and whilst he had no money to make any repairs to the temple, decided to at least keep the temple clean and tidy so regularly swept away all the leaves and dust and lit incense in honour of the Kuan Yin.
One night he had a dream where the Goddess of Mercy told him he would find a true treasure behind the temple. He was to nurture the treasure and share it with others for it to have it's true worth. Sure enough the next day, the farmer found the treasure - it was a tea shoot and for the next while cared for and nurtured the tea shoot until it became a fully grown tea bush.
The farmer then discovered that when he mixed the leaves with hot water they produced a delicious tea and so he had something he could harvest and sell. Overjoyed with his findings, the farmer shared cuttings from the bush with all his friends and neighbours so they too could benefit from the tea bush given to him by Kuan Yin. As he dried the tea leaves from the tea bush, the dark appearance reminded him of the iron statue and so named the tea after the Iron Goddess of Mercy.