Tea grading can be a bit arbitrary. With Anxi oolongs like Tie Guan Yin, tea is often graded according to letter grades- "A", "AA", "AAA", or simply words like "Supreme" or "Competition Grade". What's often lost on tea drinkers is that these are not typically graded according to standards set by an independent agency, but by the tea farmers themselves.
With that out of the way, this is the "AAA" grade produced by these farmers from this ecological tea garden in Taozhou, in the famed Anxi County of China's Fujian Province. They have been transitioning to organic farming techniques for the past several years, and the result is a very clean, fragrant and flavorful Tie Guan Yin. The leaves themselves are not rolled to the level of consistency as some of the Tie Guan Yin we've carried in the past and are a little darker, which initially made me think that perhaps the quality was being oversold...until I tried it. This is everything a spring Tie Guan Yin should be- crisp, aromatic, and neither overwhelmingly sweet nor vegetal.
As well as having this quality of taste and aroma, we were happy to get this one at a relatively low price considering the quality. For this reason, a two-ounce bag of this 2020 harvest is priced $2 less than the 2018 we'd carried. Gotta love a good bargain!