Tie Guan Yin is another tea that, depending on where you are, is know by many different names including: Iron Buddha; Iron Goddess of Mercy; Ti Kwan Yin and several others. However, what remains constant is the fact that this tea is among China's finest, and probably its most well known oolong - no matter what it's called.
As with most of China's famous teas there are beautiful legends that describe their origin. Tie Guan Yin is no exception.
The most widely know legend involves a poor farmer in Anxi County, Mr Wei, who became disheartened by the state of an old temple that contained an Iron statue of the empress and bodhisattva Guanyin. With no money to repair the temple he chose to clean it himself, and as a small offering burn incense in her honour. He continued doing this for many months until one night Guanyin appeared to him in a dream and told him that behind the temple, in a cave, there was a treasure which he was to share with others.
When he went to the cave he found nothing but a small tea plant that he took to his own field and cared for until it grew into a large bush. He then shared cuttings from this plant with his neighbours who all began producing the finest tea which they called Tie Guan Yin. The farmers prospered as word spread they were selling such an exquisite tea and, with the money they made, the temple was repaired and became one of the most beautiful in the region.