As soon as I can, after arriving in China, I ordered tea. The first order was a sample set of Phoenix oolongs that are 2020 harvest. I am quite impressed by Phoenix oolongs, and their variety is mind-blowing. It had been a while since I tasted one, and I chose Du Wu Ye (big dark leaf).
This tea comes from Wudong Peak. The village has an elevation of 1000 meters and the old trees were planted there by the ancestors of current farmers. When new cultivars were added (like this one about 30 years ago), they were planted downward at around 800 meters as there is no room for going upwards.
I was reading a bit about Phoenix Oolongs. Some teaheads find them inferior to Wuyi Cliff tea from the neighbouring Fujian. Because I really enjoy them and find them very richly floral. However, there is a connection between Wuyi and Phoenix Oolongs.
Guangdong is in the south of Fujian and has a centuries’ experience of making tea but different tea. Some of the tea trees are half a millennium old. The tea farmers in Fenghuang only started to produce oolong after the Wuyi Oolongs reached popularity in the 19th century.
As you may know, Phoenix oolongs are best known for two things:
1- Concept of single – each variety of oolong is made from the trees/bushes of the same cultivar
2- Each bush variety produces a different flavour oolong
According to this list, there are about 250 types that belong to different families according to their flavour. This very tea is made from a bush that has darker and bigger leaves compared to other bushes, and its tasting profile lingers somewhere between peach and orchid. I don’t know, I don’t like superlatives, but at least I can say it is one of my favourite teas.
I will be trying out more Dan Cong Oolong soon. Stay tuned!
Source: Michael Harney. “The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea.”
Origin: Wudong Peak, Phoenix, Guangdong
Harvest time: Spring 2020
Leaf colour: Tones of the dark brown with some green and red edges
Liquor colour: Golden yellow
Tea aroma: Floral and
Tea taste: Medium bodied, refreshing with deep floral with toasty notes
Steeping/brewing: Steep about 6 gr of leaves in around 85°C water and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves only a couple of times as the taste disappear.
Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)