Monday, September 24, 2007

What is Phoenix Dan Cong?

Phoenix Dan Cong is an Oolong tea, has a long history dates back to Tang dynasty. Chao Zhou Kung Fu Tea is well preserved live chronical history in tea culture. The mountain ranges of Phoenix has long been the nurturing soil of the local tea trees. There are less then 10 thousand old single bushes alive on these mountain ranges today. There were 20 thousand at the turn of the 1900, war and unstable politics were the main cause of ecology decline in the region and the entire country. Wu Dong mountain is the best among the ranges. The oldest bush believe to be about 600 years old, one of the Song Zhong varietal, white leaf type. Although it's the most famous bush world wide, but it's not a tasty tea known by the locals. I have to agree.

Dan Cong is the highest grade among Phoenix tea. Shui Xian being lowest, Lang Chai medium. Dan Cong is a single bush selected for its own distinct aroma and flavor, process separately from other bushes. Hence labor intensive and unique.

Today's commercial grade Dan Cong are cloned using branches from the mother tree, instead of sowing from seeds which flavor can be mutated on its own. Commercial grade Dan Cong contains the exact same aroma and flavor of the mother tree, therefore can be harvested and produce large crops each season unlike the single bush method.

However, old bushes are still processed on its own, one tree at a time today. Farmers are more aware of the plant cycle scientifically, hence better to preserve these old plants by letting them rest for most of the year, harvesting only in the spring.

No comments: