Meet the Goddess of Mercy

This month many of you received the famous Iron Goddess of Mercy oolong tea. Did you wonder how the tea got its dramatic name? We couldn't quite fit the legend on the tea card, so here it is...

From the Honolulu Museum of Art

From the Honolulu Museum of Art

 

Long ago a poor farmer lived in a village which contained a run-down temple of Guan Yin, Buddhist deity of compassion. Her name means "She Who Hears the Cries of the World," and her mission is to relieve the suffering of those in need. 

The farmer took pity on the state of the temple, so he regularly swept the temple floors, burned incense, and polished the iron statue of Guan Yin.

One night the goddess appeared to the farmer in a dream. She told him that behind the temple in a cave, he would find a treasure that would last for generations. However, he must share the treasure with his entire community.

Upon waking the farmer rushed to the temple and found the cave. Inside, all that he found was a tiny tea plant. He took the plant home, and it grew to yield a tea with a remarkably sweet fragrance and complex flavor.

The farmer named the tea Tie Guan Yin meaning "Iron Goddess of Mercy," and the tea soon became one of the most popular teas in China. He shared cuttings of the tea plant with his neighbors, and the entire community prospered.

As you savour the tea's rich aroma and nectar-like flavour, perhaps send a thought of gratitude to the Goddess of Mercy and the kind farmer who took the time to care for her temple!