Tucked away in eastern Guangdong province in southeastern China lies the prestigious Phoenix Mountains, a remote and rugged but pristine area that is home to some of the most majestic teas on Earth. Three factors help contribute to the distinctive flavor of these teas:
- terroir – the combination of the rough terrain, wild weather, unique vegetation, pristine water, and other factors help impart a special minerality that is unlike any other tea
- tradition – this includes both, the methods that artisans use to cultivate the tea leaves and craft the teas, passed down within their families for many generations
- age – the tea bushes in these areas are often untouched until they prosper into older, stronger, mature tea trees, making for far more complex tasting notes than can be found in teas from younger bushes
In a previous post, we looked at how difficult and labor-intensive it is to craft a good Phoenix Dan Cong tea, and so today we want to welcome some of the newest members of this outstanding category to our tea collection for you to enjoy! While we still offer the inimitable Wu Ye (“Dark Leaf”) and the exotic Chi Ye (“Red Leaf”), referenced in our previous post, we now offer many more.
Here’s a look at some of our best Phoenix oolongs, perfect for daily drinking and entertaining your guests:
- Mi Lan Xiang (“Honey Orchid”) – Mi Lan Xiang oolong is a perfect introductory tea for those new to Phoenix Dan Congs. It has excellent flavor-to-price value, and it tends to be a little more forgiving to prepare than others. When infused, one will be quickly and joyously overwhelmed with a sticky honey-like sweetness in the nose, followed by the subtle, smoky aroma of orchid with a hint of vanilla, all wrapped up in a creamy texture.
- Yu Lan Xiang (“Magnolia”) – While Mi Lan Xiang makes for the perfect introductory Phoenix oolong, Yu Lan Xiang might make for the perfect point of contrast, showcasing the diverse range of flavor that Phoenix oolongs can possess. This tea trades in the honey notes for a different kind of sweetness, reminiscent of wheatgrass expertly blended with tropical fruits like papaya and mango.
- You Hua Xiang (“Pomelo”) – You Hua Xiang might be our personal favorite Phoenix oolong. It entices and pleases with its fruity profile. True to its namesake, this tea is certainly suggestive of pomelo fruit, but there’s an exciting complexity to the flavor that goes beyond this, introducing one to notes that are native to South America, such as passion fruit and pomegranate.
- Ya Shi Xiang (“Ying Hua”) – This particular Phoenix oolong is named after a kind of Chinese honeysuckle flower. Similarly, it has a honeysuckle fragrance that is best described as more pronounced but less sweet than the honeysuckle commonly found throughout North America (lonicera periclymenum). Rounding out this floral fragrance are hints of butterscotch and cassia cinnamon.
If you ever wanted to venture into the world of Phoenix Dan Cong oolongs, these four varieties will have you covered. They are distinctive and exciting unto themselves, but they also offer excellent points of contrast with each other, revealing just how much breadth and depth there is to the tastes of Phoenix oolong teas.