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Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tae Guan Yin) was my first oolong love. I have had three other versions from other purveyors and had been completely turned off. Now, I am back to Rishi and love blooms anew.

It’s not flowery like the Bao Zhong or grassy like a Jade Oolong. Instead it’s slightly smoky with nutty and honey notes.

It also has a wonderful legend. From Rishi:

According to the legend, a Qing Dynasty Emperor became very ill. All sorts of herbalists and doctors were called to work their cures on him. No remedy could purge the Emperor’s ills. One day an advisor to the court (from Fujian) shared some of his homegrown oolong tea with the Emperor and only after the Emperor consumed this special tea was he cured. The Emperor gave this tea the title, “Tae Guan Yin” which translates to ‘Iron Goddess Of Mercy”. The Emperor declared that the tightly rolled and well-baked tealeaves resembled iron and had the healing powers of the Buddhist Goddess Of Mercy (Guan Yin). Further to the legend, the locals of the village where “Tae Guan Yin Oolong” originated believe that the unique tea bush varietal for making authentic ‘Tae Guan Yin” was a gift from the Buddhist deity “Guan Yin” in order to save the poor villagers from economic hardship.

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