Before I continue with "Get to know Phoenix Tea (3) - Naming", I did a side by side tasting of the 2 Huang Zhi Xiang flavor teas: Ao Fu Hou 200+ yrs old mother tree, Huang Zhi Xiang 50+ yrs old (early clone).
Dry leaves: Ao Fu Hou (left), Huang Zhi Xiang (right).
Left (200) is mature, not uniformed, thinner but wider leaves, green with yellow bits.
Right (50) is dark green, uniform in size and color, small strands.
Tea trees reach its prime around 50 - 60 yrs old depending on the living condition, meaning leaves are meatier, more flavorful than younger trees. At sea level, tea tree will decline at 75 yrs old. At high altitude, ideal living condition preserve tea trees longevity beyond prime years. However leaves grown slower, thinner, but ensure full flavor with silky texture, also tannin level is low, hence little to no astringency, hui gan is awesome.
Left AFH is light amber, right HZX is light yellow in color.
Spent leaves: main difference is in shape of leaves.
200+ yrs old tea: aroma is subtle and lingering through out the session, even long after drinking. Tea soup is creamy and milky, very smooth and full, the sweetness is quite pronounce, combined with the creamy texture, it's almost like drinking milk tea. After 20+ infusions, flavor is not longer noticeable, but tea soup is still round, full and silky. My body started to respond to the qi shortly after just a couple infusions.
50+ yrs old tea: aroma is definitely more present than 200+ yrs old tea. Sweetness is more honey like, less creamy and smooth than its older counter part. It's very high in caffeine, in case you are sensitive to it. Both of these teas are powerful in qi.
What to look for in Phoenix tea:
Older trees in high altitude: subtle aroma, taste and texture
Younger trees on high altitude: aroma and taste
Young trees below 800 meters: sharp aroma, flat texture