Known as a doppelganger tea for its ability to imitate surrounding plants. Forest honey, sweet potato and orchid. Ripe pear with a rocky mineral finish and teasing acidity.
A medium to dark oxidised Oolong Grown in Phoenix Mountain in Southern China. This is one of China's oldest and most famous teas and was first cultivated about 1000 years ago. It is made from semi-wild trees and charcoal roasted for a richer flavour. The result are long, curled, dark amber leaves which brew the most delicious tea.
This video is an extract from a longer tasting session which you can watch at https://youtu.be/7DSTUaEAcXI
Sometimes this tea is referred to as Dan Cong which literally means 'Single Bush'. But not all Phoenix Oolong is actually a Dan Cong, in fact most tea buyers will buy garden bush tea which is being sold as single bush. Similarly, any tea tree that is grown from a seed could be called Dan Cong so this name is a bit erroneous.
Whatever the details of the name, one thing is for sure, the flavour difference between garden Phoenix Oolong and true Dan Cong Phoenix oolong is remarkable. This is because of a few factors:
The best tea comes from leaves that have high mineral content. The younger the tea bush the smaller the roots which means that they cannot absorb many minerals from the soil. Because the garden tea is cultivated together, each plant is competing with many neighbouring tea plants for the same minerals so they just can't get as much.
Garden tea has almost no variety of vegetation. Semi wild Dan Cong however has plenty of vegetation and rocks around it. As the plant leaves fall or the rain filters through the rocks the soil is enriched with more variety of nutrients for the tea to absorb. This allows the tea to take on some of the characteristics of the nearby fruit trees flowers and rocks.
The semi wild Dan Cong Phoenix Oolong grows on steep and rocky mountains. This puts the plant under stress which means that the tea grows slowly. The slower the growth the richer the mineral content in the leaves making a more powerful and fragrant drink.
Because of the genetic variation and the rich diversity of the vegetation, true Dan Cong Phoenix Oolong has a large variety of flavour profiles. Tea farmers have tried to define them in groups pomelo flower, magnolia, ginger flower etc. This tea is Honey Orchid aroma.
1. Outdoor withering - to begin to reduce moisture and allow flavour compounds to interact as the cell walls begin to breakdown.
2. Indoor withering - to slowly reduce moisture for further flavour development.
3. Oxidation - over about 12 hours the leaves are alternately shaken by hand in bamboo containers and left to sit and oxidise. The process is repeated up to 6 times until exactly the right level of oxidation is achieved. This is judged by eye and nose.
4. Pan Firing and Rolling - the leaves are heated in small batches on large hot pans to deactivate the enzyme which contributes to oxidation. They are fired at about 140 degrees then rolled by hand to breakdown the cell walls and release tea juices. They are fired again at about 120degrees and rolled again to make beautiful strip leaves that are covered in delicious leaf juices.
5. Drying and Roasting - the leaves are dried in bamboo containers over hot charcoal. They are dried at high temperature (about 80 degrees) to give a deep and thick fragrance. After cooling they are heated again at lower temperatures (50 degrees) until completely dry.
The result of all this work is a unbelievably rich, and fragrant tea full of peach, orchid and lychee. The finish is gentle but long as the minerals coat your throat and tea vapour rises for hours after drinking.
For average brewing use about 3g for 300ml of water. Use very hot good quality water (about 95 degrees). Infuse for about 90 seconds and reinfuse a few times. We recommend that you try to brew this tea Gong Fu style. Use a small pot and use 5g of tea per 150ml. Brew for about 10-20 seconds and you can reinfuse about 10-15 times. This is really a tea to savour so wait until you have some space to sit and appreciate it.
Here are just a few known health benefits associated with drinking oolong tea: Lowers Cholesterol – Aids weight loss – Helps digestion.