Other spellings and names include Ti Kuan Yin, Tit Kwun Yum, Ti Kwan Yin, Tie Guan Yin, Iron Buddha, Iron Goddess of Mercy, and Tea of the Iron Bodhisattva, which is probably the closest English translation.
There are two legends behind this tea: Wei and Wang.
Deep in the heart of Fujian's Anxi County there was a rundown temple that held inside an iron statue of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Mercy. Every day, on his walk to his tea fields a poor farmer named Mr. Wei would pass by and reflect on the worsening condition of the temple. Something has to be done, thought Mr. Wei. But he did not have the means to repair the temple because he was poor. Instead the farmer brought a broom and some incense from his home. He swept the temple clean and lit the incense as an offering to Guan Yin. "It's the least I can do," he thought to himself. Twice a month for many months, he repeated the same task. Cleaning and lighting incense. One night, Guan Yin appeared to him in a dream. She told him of a cave behind the temple where a treasure awaited him. He was to take the treasure for himself, but also to share it with others. In the cave, the farmer found a single tea shoot. He planted it in his field and nurtured it into a large bush, of which the finest tea was produced. He gave cuttings of this rare plant to all his neighbors and began selling the tea under the name Tie Guan Yin, Iron Bodhisattva of Mercy. Over time, Mr. Wei and all his neighbors prospered. The rundown temple of Guan Yin was repaired and became a beacon for the region. And Mr. Wei took joy in his daily trip to his tea fields, never failing to stop in appreciation of the beautiful temple.
Wang was a scholar who accidentally discovered the tea plant beneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping. He brought the plant back home for cultivation. When he visited Emperor Qianlong in the 6th year of his reign, he offered the tea as a gift from his native village. Emperor Qianlong was so impressed that he inquired about its origin. Since the tea was discovered beneath the Guanyin Rock, he decided to called it the Guanyin tea.
By roasting level
* Jade Tie Guan Yin is a newer type of Tie Guan Yin and has a light green Jade color. It produces a very flowery aroma and taste. It is more similar to green tea than Oolong, and is not good for people with weak stomach.
* Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin is traditional Tie Guan Yin. It has more complex taste and aroma but is less floral.
* Moderately Rasted Tie Guan Yin is a new breed that has a good balance of floral aroma and complex taste.
By harvest time
* Spring Tie Guan Yin is harvested around Li Xia and has the best overall quality.
* Autumn Tie Guan Yin is harvested in the autumn and has strong aroma but less complex taste.
* Summer Tie Guan Yin is harvested in summer and is considered lower quality. Summer Tie Guan Yin can be further divided into two types one harvested in June to July, one harvested in August.
* Winter Tie Guan Yin is harvested in winter. Production of Winter Tie Guan Yin is very low.
* Guan Yin Wang is the best of Tie Guan Yin. It means Guan Yin King. The best Jade Tie Guan Yin and Autumn Tie Guan Yin are classified as Guan Yin Wang.