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The quality and characteristic of Phoenix Dan Cong oolong varies a lot on each batch. As this tea is one of very important groups of tea in our lineup, we only purchase this tea visiting the production site after tasting many different batches. This is the 6th time I visited there.

The reason why we are not visiting Phoenix town in April

The plucking of Phoenix Dan Cong oolong is carried out in April. Fresh leaves are plucked and withered, and undergone series of fermentation steps to process it into mao-cha. The mao-cha of Phoenix Dan Cong oolong gives green grassy or herbs flavor. The mao-cha is collected by the master who conducts firing process. The firing process is conducted with charcoal fire for more than 24 hours. For every 1-2 hours, tea is removed from the fire and then gently remixed so as to redistribute the moisture evenly. The manufacturer therefore cannot sleep continuously more than 2 hours during the tea firing season. For firing Phoeonix Dan Cong oolong, the temperature should be not too high. Once tea is baked at too high temperature, it causes scorched flavor on tea. In other words, the firing of Phoenix Dan Cong oolong required extremely high skills, lots of patient and care on each tea. Thanks to the highly skilled-required firing process, the flavor of tea changes from green celery note to sweet fruity flavor. I am visiting Phoenix town in June or July since it is just a right timing that the firing of tea is generally completed. For some special tea, we also discuss with manufacturer for further firing. Depending on the type of Dan Cong tree, some tea produces more attractive flavor with further firing process. We can discuss with the manufacturer and decide what to do on the spot if we are visiting there.

There are many old tea tree in WU Dong Shan

Oolong tasting marathon

As previous year, we bought more than 20 types of Phoenix Dan Cong oolong this year. On that day, I arrived the factory at around noon, yet I only managed to finish our tasting at around 3am. For tasting tea, it is not necessary to drink. Just like wine tasting, we can judge the taste once we put tea in our mouth. However, we did not dare to do that since Phoenix Dan Cong tea is so expensive and I was not brave enough to do it in front of the Phoenix Dan Cong master. After tasting tea for nearly 12 hours, I have tasted and drunk more than 100 rounds of tea. No matter how good tea is for health, too much tea is not appropriate. The next day, I felt extremely tired as if I was coming back from the mountain climbing.

The mountain of brewed tea leaves.

We have bought around 20 types of Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong. They will arrive in September or October since we need to conduct series of pesticide analysis. However, I always suggest the tea of last year or even older. Tea will usually mature very well and produces very intense fruity flavor if we keep it in the environment that contains low moisture and no oxygen.

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