Updated: Feb 19
This is a semi-fermented oolong tea and is usually placed between green and black teas. It comes from the Phoenix mountain in Chaoan County which houses over 80 tea cultivars all of which produce a separate tea with a distinctive flavour profile. Consequently, the tea farmers harvest and the tea masters process each shrub individually and call this tea ‘Dan Cong’ (literally ‘Single Bush’ in English). The processing of Dan Cong Oolong is highly complex and labour intensive, and the steps include sun drying, airing, room temperature oxidation, high-temperature oxidation, rolling and drying. Controlling the heat during the fermentation processes meticulously requires a lot of effort and mastery.
Throughout the fermentation process, only the edges of the leaves are oxidised while the middle parts remain green. When the leaves are rolled, Dan Cong Oolong can seem dark brown and even black. This is the reason why some oolongs (including this one) may be mistaken for black teas especially when they are dry. Nonetheless, once the leaves are infused, the oolong will reveal its true character. Can you see it?
Another name of this tea is ‘duck shit’ oolong. When I first discovered this tea, I was translating messages from the tea seller by using an online application. We were both aware that translation did not always work between Chinese and English. When one of his texts translated as ‘duck shit’ I thought that it was a translation error. Silly me!!! How would I know that it was a literal translation and according to the rumour tea farmer called it that way so that people would not be interested in his tea? Neither he would have known that his logic could fire back.
Origin: Phoenix Mountain, Chaoan County, Guangdong province
Harvest time: Spring 2019
Leave colour: Dark brown/golder when dry; green when infused
Liquor colour: Deep bright yellow
Tea aroma: Rich floral fragrance
Steeping/brewing: You can use 85-100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time and use your common sense.
Shelf life: Up to 5 years or more (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)