Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coming Soon: 2009 Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin

When I ran into Roy at the teahouse yesterday he mentioned that he's fired the 2009 Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin. We'll be releasing it later this week. I can't wait to taste this tea, which I saw when it came in, before Roy's final firing (photo). The tightly rolled leaves are extra-large, suggesting lots of flavor. Roy said that's the way tie guan yin used to be a decade or more ago, before the dramatic changes in China began affecting agricultural production in many dimensions, from sunlight and rainfall to increased use of chemicals on farmland. He was excited to have found a source for the increasingly rare classic style of this great tea.

Year in and year out, Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin, personally fired by Roy to his exacting standards, is our top-selling tea. Many ask if it's really picked by monkeys. The answer is no, but this legend, harking back to an earlier and simpler time in tea history, is still referenced to designate high quality, high-mountain-grown tie guan yin with a distinctive, classic firing profile.

Stay tuned, we'll let you know as soon as the 2009 Harvest Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin is available in our teahouses and online store!

2 comments:

Jason Witt said...

I didn't know Roy Fong was into firing his own high-quality teas. It must be a good tea if it's called Monkey-Picked, but that's kind of an unethical name because the people who really pluck those tea leaves are just underpaid workers. Monkeys, not. --Teaternity

Virginia said...

Good point, the traditional name is rather disrespectful of the actual teapickers! However, monkeys do have a special position in Chinese culture, as typified by Sun Wu Kong and the monkey in the Chinese zodiac, to take two examples. So the label isn't quite as derogatory as we might interpret it here in the West.