What is Tie Guan Yin Tea? Types, Benefits And Side Effects

I love a good cup of tea, and Tie Guan Yin tea holds a special place among the many varieties I’ve tasted. This traditional Chinese tea, with its rich history and distinctive character, is unlike anything you’ve probably tried before.

Tie Guan Yin Tea
Tie Guan Yin Tea

I’m excited to share everything you need about this unique brew today. So, grab your favourite teacup and dive into the captivating world of Tie Guan Yin tea together.

What is Tie Guan Yin Tea?

Tieguanyin, an exquisite Oolong tea, is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. It gets its unique identity from its geographical origin and the specific tea cultivars used in its production. While the authentic Tieguanyin oolong should ideally come from Anxi, other regions contribute to its production today.

Tieguanyin tea
Tieguanyin tea

Known by many names – Tieguanyin, Tie Guan Yin, Ti Kwan Yin, Ti Kuan Yin, or the Iron Goddess of Mercy, this Oolong tea hails from Anxi county, nestled in Fujian province, China.

Fujian’s terroir, characterized by its climate and unique soil conditions, is famous as the birthplace of several renowned Chinese teas. These include delicate white teas like Silver Needle and Pai Mu Tan, the smoky black Lapsang Souchong, and the legendary WuYi rock tea, such as Big Red Robe.

Ti Kuan Yin

The distinctiveness of Tie Guan Yin extends beyond its taste to its versatile range, depending on the levels of oxidation and roasting, influencing its flavour profile. A unique feature of this tea is the tightly rolled balls of leaves, devoid of any branches, unlike its counterparts like the Taiwanese high mountain teas.

Tieguanyin can be harvested across all seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and the rare winter harvest, with the finest teas coming from the spring and autumn seasons. Its rich taste and history make it a revered choice in the Gongfu tea ceremony, and its name, inspired by the legend of the Iron Goddess of Mercy tea, adds an allure steeped in Chinese culture.

History of Tieguanyin

Looking back at the history of tea, we find a rich tapestry of innovation and craftsmanship. For instance, in the text ‘Tea Production Method of Ming Dynasty in Qing Dynasty’, it’s noted that tieguanyin Oolong tea was born between 1725 and 1735, during the reign of Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty. The industrious folks of Anxi, Fujian, crafted this unique tea, later spreading their artistry from northern Fujian to Taiwan.

With its high quality and unique aroma, tie guanyin soon captured the hearts of tea lovers beyond Anxi. Its popularity spread across the Oolong tea-producing regions of southern Fujian, northern Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan. Each region brings its interpretation and spins to the Oolong tea tea tradition.

Tieguanyin Oolong tea
Tieguanyin Oolong tea

Then came the ‘Oolong tea craze’ of the 1970s, starting in Japan and quickly sweeping across the globe. This led to regions traditionally known for green teas, like Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hunan, Hubei, and Guangxi, adopting Oolong tea production methods. Their tea artisans began transforming green teas into oolong teas, adding even more variety to the world of tea.

Today, China’s Oolong tea landscape boasts four major production areas: southern Fujian, northern Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan. However, with its long history of tea production, impressive output, and exceptional quality, Fujian still leads the pack. And among Fujian’s many celebrated Oolong teas, Anxi Tieguanyin and Wuyi rock tea hold special places, renowned both locally and internationally for their distinct characters and flavors.

Iron Goddess Tea Types 

Iron Goddess Tea Types 
Iron Goddess Tea Types

Exploring Tie Guan Yin teas, you’ll encounter two main types – Anxi and Muzha, their names hinting at the regions and countries where they’re produced. Each type brings a different flavour profile to your teacup: the Anxi style is green with floral notes, while the Muzha style is rich and toasty.

Anxi Tie Guan Yin Tea

Originating from the Anxi region of China’s Fujian province, Anxi Tie Guan Yin is known for its green and floral character. 

It’s lightly oxidised, often gently roasted, and the leaves are rolled semi-balled. Its vibrant, floral aroma, golden hue, buttery, velvety texture are a testament to this region’s unique ti kuan yin tea production techniques. Due to its popularity, this style is easier to find.

Muzha Tie Guan Yin Tea

In contrast, Muzha Tie Guan Yin hails from the Muzha region of Taiwan. 

This style undergoes a longer oxidation process and is slowly roasted, resulting in a darker, more robust tealikeimilar to the Anxi style; its leaves are significantly darker, exuding a nutty, smoky, and roasted aroma. It’s a bold tea with a deeper flavor than its greener Chinese counterpart.

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Tieguanyin Tea taste

Tieguanyin tea boasts a silky-smooth taste with hints of roasted and fruity notes, accompanied by a complex and rich aroma. Its flavor spectrum spans roasted, nutty, creamy, fruity, toasty, honeyed, floral, fresh, vegetal, and mineral elements. Generally, teas that are less baked and oxidized offer a fresher and more vegetal taste.

With a vibrant emerald to bright yellow colour, modern-style Tieguanyin tea offers a more floral and creamy taste profile. Due to its fresh, approachable flavors, this style is the most widely enjoyed today.

On the other hand, the traditional Tie Guan Yin, with its higher oxidation and baking level, offers a different taste adventure. It’s smooth, exuding roasted and fruity notes, and boasts a heavier, more complex aroma. If you’re seeking a tea experience with depth and character, traditional Tie Guan Yin might be your cup of tea!

From roasted and nutty to creamy and fruity, from toasty and honey to floral and fresh, and even vegetal and mineral, Tieguanyin has a symphony of flavors to offer. Generally, less oxidised and baked tea will provide a fresher and more vegetal flavour, perfect for those seeking a lighter, more refreshing tea experience. Remember, the beauty of tea lies in its diversity and the exploration of flavours – so why not brew a cup and discover the taste of guan-yin for yourself?

What are some key Tie Guan Yin Benefits

Tikuanyin tea

Good mood when making friends

Anxi Tieguanyin isn’t just a tea; it’s a symbol of hospitality and an instrument of bonding. As a high-quality tea, it’s perfect for welcoming guests or fostering friendships. Breathing this tea – boiling the water, washing the cups, preparing the leaves – is a ritual. This shared experience opens conversation avenues, turning tikuanyin tea drinking into a social event. So, remember, a cup of Anxi Tieguanyin isn’t just about enjoying a great tea; it’s also about nurturing relationships and fostering personal growth.

Reduce cancer and increases intelligence

Anxi Tieguanyin isn’t just about taste and tradition; it’s packed with health-boosting properties too! This tea is rich in selenium, a mineral that stimulates our immune proteins and antibodies, aiding in disease resistance and potentially inhibiting the development of cancer cells.

But the benefits continue beyond there. Did you know Anxi Tieguanyin could help boost your brainpower? British researchers have found a link between the pH balance of our body fluids and our IQ levels. Being an alkaline drink, Anxi Tieguanyin can regulate this balance, thus potentially enhancing your cognitive abilities.

Moreover, this tea is brimming with other brain-friendly compounds like vitamins, caffeine, amino acids, minerals, and tea polyphenols. Regular consumption of these substances can have a beneficial impact on brain development and cognitive function. So, enjoy a cup of Anxi Tieguanyin, and give your mind a healthy boost while you’re at it!

Useful for for weight loss

Anxi Tieguanyin is not just a delicious beverage, and it’s also packed with health benefits that can contribute to your well-being. One of the key ingredients in this tea is crude catechins, potent antioxidants that help eliminate active oxygen molecules in our cells. This activity is crucial in protecting our bodies from aging and associated diseases.

In addition, Anxi Tieguanyin boasts a high content of essential minerals, including manganese, iron, fluorine, potassium, and sodium. Its fluorine content outshines all other teas, significantly benefiting dental health and bone strength. Regular consumption of this tea can help prevent dental caries and senile osteoporosis.

These health benefits haven’t gone unnoticed. In 1979 and 1984, Japan experienced what was known as ‘Oolong Tea Fever,’ during which Anxi Tieguanyin was lauded as a ‘beauty tea’ and ‘slimming tea.’ This frenzy reflected the tea’s reputation for promoting aesthetic enhancement and weight loss.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Anxi Tieguanyin is often recognized for its capacity to balance the body’s energy, or Qi, further underlining its health-promoting properties. So next time you sip on a cup of this delightful tea, remember you’re not just indulging in a tasty drink but also contributing to a healthier you!

Tie Guan Yin Tea side effects to consider

Consuming tieguanyin tea is not expected to result in any adverse reactions. However, similar to other drinks containing caffeine, excessive consumption may lead to side effects for individuals who are sensitive to caffeine. Additionally, it is advisable to select tea from trustworthy sources in order to minimize any potential risks.

Tieguanyin tea

Keep reading for more details!

First, refrain from drinking Tieguanyin on an empty stomach, especially in the mornings. The strong components in the tea can dilute stomach acids and interfere with digestion, possibly causing discomfort and “tea drunkenness.” Should you experience this, having a snack or a piece of candy can help alleviate the symptoms.

Secondly, those with anaemia should avoid Tieguanyin, as the tea’s high tannic acid content can bind with the body’s iron to form an insoluble complex, resulting in iron deficiency. This warning is especially pertinent to menstruating women, as drinking this tea can exacerbate iron deficiency anaemia.

In addition, it’s best not to consume Tieguanyin after consuming alcohol, as it may overstimulate the nervous system and put undue stress on the heart. Furthermore, the tea’s diuretic effect could lead to a premature breakdown of the toxic aldehyde in alcohol, irritating the kidneys.

Moreover, avoid drinking the tea when it’s too hot, as it can cause irritation to the oesophagus and stomach, potentially leading to conditions like pharyngitis.

Tieguanyin + cold food. As the tea is raw and generally cold, pairing it with cold foods such as okra, mung beans, and cucumbers may lead to digestive issues like spleen, stomach deficiency, and diarrhoea.

Tieguanyin + coffee. Consuming Tieguanyin with caffeine-rich drinks like coffee could lead to overstimulation and potential insomnia.

Tieguanyin + milk, soy milk. Consuming the tea with milk or soy milk can result in an undesirable reaction due to the tea’s plant acid content, reducing the nutritional value of these beverages.

Lastly, be cautious when taking medicine with Tieguanyin. Given the tea’s detoxifying properties, it may reduce the effectiveness of certain medications.

What kind of people are not suitable for drinking Tieguanyin?

Iron Goddess

Insomnia sufferers: Especially those who drink strong tea at night, this kind of person will suffer from insomnia after drinking tea at night, which can easily affect body functions. Insomnia is most likely to affect the human body’s endocrine system and finally affect normal life.

Patients with gastrointestinal diseases: If you suffer from gastric ulcers, Tieguanyin is a mildly fermented tea, which is rich in caffeine and other trace elements. Caffeine has a strong stimulating effect on the stomach and will accelerate the decomposition rate of gastric juice. Affect the healing of ulcers.

Malnutrition: Tea polyphenols in Tieguanyin tea leaves are more, and tea polyphenols will accelerate fat decomposition in the human body. Therefore, people who are already malnourished and thin, if they continue to drink tea to remove fat, their bodies will become weaker and thinner.

Pregnant women: Drinking tea by pregnant women can easily cause iron deficiency anemia, affecting the baby’s nutrition in the mother’s womb. And because the caffeine in tea strongly stimulates heart rate, if pregnant women drink strong tea for a long time, it will greatly impact both mother and baby, especially the baby’s normal development.

Tie Guan Yin caffeine

Among the varieties of oolong teas, Tieguanyin holds its unique place, not only for its flavor but also for its caffeine content. While it’s challenging to pin down the exact caffeine level in a cup of Tieguanyin, it’s understood that it contains caffeine, similar to other oolong teas.

The caffeine concentration can vary based on numerous factors, including the specific tea cultivar used, the processing methods applied, and the brewing technique you employ. Compared to a tea like green tea, traditionally brewed Tieguanyin may extract a higher caffeine content. 

Tieguanyin tea leaves are commonly steeped multiple times, extracting their full flavor through numerous hot infusions, sometimes ending with a cold brew. This extended brewing method can lead to a higher caffeine content in the final drink.

How to make Tieguanyin tea at Home

Ti Kuan Yin tea

Tools and Materials

To prepare Tieguanyin tea, you will need the following:

  • Teapot: Preferably a small clay or ceramic one which is ideal for brewing oolong teas like Tieguanyin.
  • Tea cups: Small tea cups for tasting.
  • Tea Scoop or Spoon: For portioning the tea leaves.
  • Tea Tray: Optional but useful for collecting water and tea spills.
  • Tieguanyin Tea Leaves: The star ingredient of this process.
  • Boiling Water: For steeping the tea.


Here is the simple process to brew your Tieguanyin tea at home:

  1. Boil the water to the appropriate temperature (around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 to 96 degrees Celsius).
  2. While the water is heating, prepare your tea and tea set. Place the tea leaves into the teapot.
  3. Once the water is ready, pour it over the tea set pieces to preheat them. This includes the teapot, cups, and other utensils. This step also helps to clean and sanitize the tea set.
  4. Now, pour the boiling water into the teapot with the tea leaves, filling it to the top.
  5. Quickly drain this water into the tea cups; this step is to rinse and awaken the tea leaves.
  6. Refill the teapot with boiling water, pouring from high to maximize oxygenation, which helps to fully extract the flavors of the tea.
  7. Allow the tea to steep for more than ten seconds (adjust based on your preference for strength).
  8. Strain the tea from the teapot into a serving pot or directly into the individual tea cups.
  9. Your Tieguanyin tea is now ready to be enjoyed. Sip and appreciate the layered flavors of this classic oolong tea.

Good tea brewing is all about precision and personal tie guan yin tea taste. Feel free to adjust the amount of tea leaves, water temperature, and steeping time to suit your preference. Enjoy the art of tea brewing and the delightful flavors of Tieguanyin tea.

Things that newbies must pay attention to:

  • Kettles and mugs keep the temperature high enough
  • Warm brew or you say, wash the tea for a while, as a wake-up tea.
  • The momentum of the water column should be strong, if it is too soft, it will not bubble well.
  • Make sure the overall water temperature is high enough to be fragrant.
  • Strong Tieguanyin tea is more distinctive than light tea.

My Ultimate Tips For Storing Iron Goddess Tea

To preserve Tieguanyin tea, especially lightly fermented varieties like Gande, the key is to maintain its vibrant color and aroma. Store it in a cool, vacuum-sealed environment to manage any remaining moisture and protect the tea’s orchid fragrance and attractive mung bean-like color.

Iron Goddess tea

If your Tieguanyin is fully dried, it’s a bit more forgiving. Yet, I still recommend storing it in a cool, dark place, away from strong odors and high humidity. Remember, every small detail matters when aiming for the perfect cup of Tieguanyin tea!

How To Choose a Ti Kuan Yin From My Insight?

Over time, I’ve discovered that the best Tie Guan Yin tea leaves are strong and dragonfly-like in shape. The resulting golden infusion is a sensory delight with a deep, long-lasting flavor and a distinct orchid fragrance, characteristic of top-tier Tie Guan Yin Oolong.

Fondly dubbed the “Beauty Tea,” Tie Guan Yin can aid in weight loss and digestion. It’s widely available, but the real challenge is in discerning the premium Iron Goddess from a sea of options. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Spotting a high-grade Tie Guan Yin isn’t too hard for someone familiar with its unique characteristics. The best leaves are vibrant, jade-green, with an oily sheen. They’re firm and healthy-looking. This mix of green and red hues imparts the brew with its signature golden or orange colour.
When you drop the premium Tie Guan Yin leaves into a teapot, their weight gives a distinct crisp sound that goes “dang bang”. It’s music to a tea enthusiast’s ears!
Tie Guan Yin’s aroma is nothing short of enchanting. The best quality Oolong – Tie Guan Yin, carries a potent fragrance that stays fresh even after seven brews. It’s reminiscent of an orchid bloom that outlasts any other tea scent.
A well-brewed Tie Guan Yin has a sweet, mellow taste and a refreshing aftertaste, like a whisper of orchid. The golden, clear, rich liquor is another sign of high-quality Tie Guan Yin. The leaves soften during brewing, but retain a bright, oily sheen, what I like to call a “satin surface”. Lower quality teas may have an off smell, a slightly bitter taste, and a red or dark brown liquor. The off smell and the smoky aroma are indicators of inferior, sick leaves.
Leaf Bottom
I always check the leaf’s underside when purchasing. The best Tie Guan Yin leaves are glossy and clean. The robustness can be discerned from their thickness. The leaves are usually intact and flat. You can spot red edges and clear veins on the leaf bottom.


As a devoted tea enthusiast, I can’t stress enough the uniquely rewarding experience of savoring a well-brewed cup of Tie Guan Yin. I encourage you to immerse yourself in this tea-tasting adventure. Its natural sweetness, floral aroma, and characteristic aftertaste make it a truly distinctive brew, worthy of your tea exploration.

So, why wait? Discover the magic of Tie Guan Yin tea for yourself. I assure you, it’ll be an experience you’ll cherish, one cup at a time. Remember, every sip tells a story. Here’s to many tea-filled moments in your future!

Thanks from spiriteadrinks.com


Is Kuan Yin and Guan Yin the same?

Kuan Yin and Guan Yin are the same, representing the Buddhist Bodhisattva associated with compassion. The variations in spelling reflect different transliterations from the Chinese characters.

What is the difference between Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao?

Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao are both types of Oolong tea, but they differ in their production methods and taste profiles. Tie Guan Yin is known for its floral, orchid-like aroma, while Da Hong Pao is famed for its robust, earthy flavor.

How many types of Guan Yin are there?

“Guan Yin” refers to a singular Buddhist deity, the Goddess of Mercy. However, depictions and interpretations of Guan Yin can vary widely across different Buddhist traditions and cultures.

Is Tie Guan Yin expensive?

The price of Tie Guan Yin can vary greatly. High-quality, hand-processed Tie Guan Yin can be expensive, reflecting its craftsmanship. However, more affordably priced options, often machine-processed, are also available.

Where can one buy authentic Tie Guan Yin tea?

Authentic Tie Guan Yin tea can be purchased from specialty shops or online retailers. Choosing a reputable source is important to ensure you get a genuine, high-quality product.