Comparing Traditional Vs Modern Tieguanyin with Marco from Steap’d

This post will be a little bit different from my usual posts, and that is because this tea session was done over an Instagram live stream with my good tea friend Marco of Steap’d. This was my first ever live stream and because of that I didn’t get to write any notes or take many pictures. So I will try to describe everything from memory and share the photos I did take. So let’s get to it.

I used glass for both teas and 6 grams of each with 200F filtered water. I did the first infusion for 20 seconds and added 5 for each subsequent infusion.

The traditional Tieguanyin is roasted and you can see quite the color difference in the dry leaves as it is much darker than the modern unroasted tea. I have written about the flavor details of the Traditional tea here. I won’t get too far into the details of it except that it had a roasted charcoal and oak barrel with some dark fruit flavors, which I found pleasant.

I have written about the modern tieguanyin here. I will say that it had a very strong floral taste that reminded me a lot of jasmine, but it wasn’t overpowering like the jasmine tea that I have had. It was strong but not too strong. There was a little green vegetal notes in the background and it developed a citrus fruit kind of tanginess after about the fourth steep.

The difference between these two teas was so very striking that if I tasted these blind, there is no way I would think they are the same tea roasted and unroasted. It changed the flavor and texture completely, which surprised me. I really didn’t know what to expect from the same tea roasted and unroasted, but they are not very similar at all. I found both teas pleasant to drink. I don’t think either blew me away as being great, but they certainly weren’t bad.

If you want to try tieguanyin, be sure to look close to see if it is the traditional or modern style, because they are quite different.

The price on the traditional was fairly inexpensive, and the modern was a gift to me, so I can’t tell you the price on it, but I have seen tieguanyin for sale at reasonable prices from most tea sellers. It’s definitely a “gateway tea” for people new to tea. One of the first ever loose leaf teas that I bought was a tieguanyin from my local tea shop and it really propelled me on the journey.

If you don’t already follow Marco, I highly suggest doing so. He is a very nice guy who knows a lot about tea and loves to meet new tea friends and make everyone feel welcome. His website is and you can follow his Instagram.

I hope you can all have tea with friends and tea experiments. Cheers.


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