Flavor Profile:Toasty texture, fragrant aroma and sweet, high-bounce taste similar to nectarines and peaches.Ingredients:Oolong Tea Leaves.
The Phoenix Mountains (Fenghuang Shan) in Guangdong, China are home to famous varietals in oolong teas. In our last visit to this area, we studied at least seven different varietals. Notable and popular amongst them is the Mi Lan (Honey Orchid) varietal. Our name for it is Royal Phoenix.
Single Trunk Trees
The Phoenix teas are known as 'Dancong'. The tea bushes have a unique structure, consisting of a single trunk. Many other areas in the world are multi-trunk structures.
Fast Leaf Maturity
Another unique aspect of the Phoenix varietals is that the newly sprouted tip evolves into a larger full leaf very fast. This helps the twisted leaf style of oolong processing done on all Phoenix teas.
An area within Fenghuang Shan is the Wudong mountain, home to old growth tea plants. Sourcing tea from Wudong is a challenge due to its limited availability and popularity, but we are hoping to start bringing you selective teas of that region also.
The grower of the Royal Phoenix is a second generation tea farmer. After inheriting the business from his father, he has been steadily making progress towards better agricultural standards and improving the processing factory.
Making Royal Phoenix oolong invloves precise rolling and baking techniques to fully develop its characteristic texture and fragrance. The roaster is a tunnel roaster (looks similar to a coffee roaster), that rotates, while the leaves are tumbled with convection heat.
For daily drinking, a smaller amount of leaf with a longer steeping time gives a rewarding cup with little effort. This teaâ€™s tightly rolled leaf requires fairly hot water (180 to 200 F) to bring out its full taste and unique aroma. Steeping 1 teaspoon of leaf per 8 ounces of water for 3 to 4 minutes will typically yield 2 to 3 satisfying infusions, although some oolongs will provide more.
Another common method would be to enjoy the tea â€śChinese style." Merely place a few leaves at the bottom of a cup or glass, add hot water, and cover. After a couple of minutes or so the leaf will unfurl and sink to the bottom of the vessel allowing you to drink from the top. When the water is down to just over the leaves, simply add more water. This style provides many infusions for a small amount of leaf.
Of course, the most famous way to drink oolong tea is Gongfu style. (Gongfu is the Chinese term we derive â€śKung Fuâ€ť from. It means to do something skillfully.) Though it takes many years to perfect the true Gongfu tea ceremony, a simplified version can be practiced at home.
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