Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mu Za Tie Guan Yin 木柵鐵觀音茶

Mu Za Tie Guan Yin 木柵鐵觀音茶
Provence: Taipei
Taipei City, Mu Za Area

AKA Iron Goddess
The Mu Za tea plantations are from the time of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. The beginning of Tie Guan Yin in Taiwan was when two brothers were sent by the Mu Za Tea Company to China to bring back a Tie Guan Yin (TGY) plant. The brothers made the journey to An Xi County in Fu Jian Provence where they were able to aquire to correct strain of Iron Goddess. The conditions in Mu Za area were ideal for this kind of tea so the transfer was very successful. The Mu Za area grows Tie Guan Yin tea exclusively and it is known as "Zheng Chong Tie Guan Yin" 正欉鐵觀音" The difference between this kind of Tie Guan Yin and other TGY's is the tea plant's ecology. This kind of TGY also grows out a bit more to the sides, the leaf surface is wrinkled, and the pith of the leaf does not run directly down the middle of the leaf. Thus, the tea leaf that comes from Mu Za Area has a naturally curved shape as it grows on the tea plant. It is often compared with a piece of fruit. The leaf teeth are of all different sizes. In these ways, this Zhen Chong TGY is completely different from any other kind of TGY. Zhen Chong TGY is much dryer than other TGY and the width of the plant is wider and fatter. Zhen Chong TGY has a stronger flavor with a darker color as well as a stronger scent when compared with other TGY.
The altitude of the Mu Za growing area is 300-350 meters (984-1148 feet). The tea there can be harvested between 4 and 5 times a year, although the spring and winter harvests are the best. It has east and west exposure, resulting in long days in the sun. Therefor, the tea when harvested has a tendancy to be very bitter, but after a period of oxidation, and a baking process, the bitter flavor dissipates, the tea's alkali changes during the baking process, so that the end result is a tea that is good for older people, or those with delicate stomachs.
The amount of tea when brewing should be one third of a gung fu tea pot or less. The temp should be around 203 degrees and the infusion time should be quick from 20 to 30 seconds. If the tea amount is less, one should extend the brew time. From the second to the fifth brew the temp should be from 176 to 194, and the brew time should be from 10-20 seconds.

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