Wu Yi Shan Phoenix Oolong 2011 Early Spring

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Oolong Tea
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From Tea Trekker

This exceptional tea needs an introduction and a short explanation. It is the result of modern experimentation in the tea garden and very careful leaf pluck and manufacture. When this tea was presented to us for tasting we were told it was a Phoenix oolong – a dan cong. Sure enough, it had the right appearance: a long, thick, strip-style leaf with a rich charcoal grey color with an occasional slight tinge of dark brown and greenish gold in the leaf. The aroma had the identifiable floral sweetness of a Phoenix oolong, and certainly when we tasted it the flavor seemed to be that of a well-made, lovely dan cong from a Phoenix plantation garden.

After tasting the tea we learned that we were enjoying a dan cong-style oolong, grown in the outer regions of the Wu Yi Shan in northwestern Fujian Province. In other words, this was a hybrid tea that was neither yan cha nor dan cong, but a skillfully-made newcomer that was manufactured from Phoenix oolong tea bushes (original to northern, coastal Guangdong Province) that had been planted and grown in the inland Wu Yi Shan.

The verdict ? We think this oolong is delightful and we recommend it as an excellent, user-friendly choice for tea enthusiasts who want to become familiar with dark, strip-style oolongs. The aroma of this tea is more reminiscent of the lush, fruity Phoenix oolong style than the austere, minerally, heavily-roasted style of the Wu Yi Shan oolongs.

Each steeping released a cascade of aromas in the cup that hinted at yellow plums, white figs and ripe peaches – a lovely complement to the slightly woody, lightly charcoal-fired flavor of the tea. The characteristic Phoenix oolong style that we tasted in the cup suggested to us that in this instance the tea bush varietal had more influence over the flavor and aroma of the finished tea than the normally dominant influences of soil and climate (terroir).

One does not always have the opportunity to taste the result of such an interesting change of tea bush variety and place. This dark oolong can be successfully re-steeped in an Yixing tea pot at least ten times – perhaps more. We give the leaf a quick rinse, discard the 1st infusion, and then proceed to steep and drink. The leaf does not build to a crescendo and then fall off as some other dark oolongs do – it stays evenly flavorful from 2nd to final cup. We have drunk this tea several times with others and each time have been sated by the 10th steeping and have stopped drinking at that point. But each time the tea was ready to keep going.

Wu Yi Shan Phoenix oolong is an exceptional tea that oolong enthusiasts will enjoy drinking all winter long.
Western-style steeping: (Medium to large sized teapot: 20-32 oz)
Use 2-3 heaping teaspoons (2-3 grams) of tea per each 6oz water
Steep 1-3 infusions at 2-3 minutes each.
Water temperature should be 195° – 205° F

Asian-style steeping: (small teapots under 10 oz or a gaiwan)
Use 2-3 Tablespoons (5-6 grams) of tea per each 6oz water
Steep upwards of 6-8 infusions (or more!) at 10 seconds to 1 minute each
Water temperature should be 195° – 205° F

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1 Tasting Note

1137 tasting notes

Truly awesome tea – so aromatic and robust. Took a while for me to truly appreciate it =)

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