Friday, December 27, 2013

Trip to China

 3 more days to place your order before leaving
I will be going to China on 01/12/14.  Yes, I have been waiting for this trip for a long while.  Landing city is Guangzhou as usual where the biggest tea market world is located.  I will try to visit a new tea mountain which I have not pick out a place yet.  In the 4 weeks long period, I will find that a mountain with tea with great food!  

Here is the shipping schedule for the time being: last day to ship orders is 01/11/14, orders received  between 01/12/14 and 02/08/14 will be shipped on 02/09/14.  Hurry in to get your teas!

We will keep rolling out a new Tea Of The Day everyday during the trip, they will be shipped after I return to the states. 

Tea ware sale

Tea Habitat is having a tea ware sale as the new year special.  Take 20% off all tea wares!  Sale last til 01/11/12.  Don't miss the chance to get those special items you have been eying!  Yes, even the stoves are on sale.  

Happy New Year! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Back to normal

We have upgraded our website with the newest version.  Everything should be up to date and functioning correctly with usps and paypal.  Please email us at if you encounter any problems when browsing the website.   We appreciate your feedback greatly. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Plumeria Fragrance dan cong oolong

I have been drinking only one tea in the last few days,

2012 Zhong Ping Ji Dan Hua - Plumeria Fragrance

The fragrance is more lovely than I remembered.  A tea without bitterness and astringency is always my preference.  My bottom line of a good tea is sweet and rich texture.  Aroma in my opinion is gift from heaven, even though most teas do come with some kind of aroma.  Beautiful and long lasting fragrance is definitely the cream of the crop.  


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Tea of the day

We want more tea lovers to know about Phoenix Dan Cong teas, particularly those with discerning taste.  This promotion provides the opportunity to try new teas at a friendly cost.  We will do our best to have a different tea each day.  To catch a few you have been eying, make sure you come early enough.  Good luck! One ounce of single tree dan cong oolong tea at 50% off the original price per day, catch it while you can~

Friday, October 25, 2013

Snap shot

I was drinking a cup of 2011 You Hua Xiang - Pomolo Flower Fragrance this afternoon. I just felt like taking a picture of the moment in the sun, a lazy afternoon and a cup in hand, life is peaceful, a slight bliss like a sunbeam shining through my heart. Being alive and healthy is what should I say, a good thing to have...... it can be simple as is.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 He He Chang Hou Run Shu Pu Erh Brick - pre order

Meng Hai He He Chang Tea Factory made Hou Run Shu Cha 
Shu pu is quite a controversial topic in the world of pu erh. I personally think like any category of tea, there are great, good and there are sub quality products. This is one of the most balanced cooked/shu pu of the year of 2013, according to a few well known tea collectors. Highest praise for a shu pu I have heard in a long time.  Soft, buttery, rich and vibrant, a trace of sweet lotus flower aroma, similar to Jin Zhen Bai Lian, and it can last many many brews.  Hou Run means thick and nourishing, best described the tea.  My friend called it meaty. On top of the quality, price is right!

250g per brick  $40 each
4 bricks in each box 1kg: $140
6 boxes in each case 6kg:  $775

We locked down only 4 cases at this price, will be expired by end of Nov, get it while you can.  Price may go up double next year.  

Free economy shipping to anywhere in the world from China for case orders, ships right away.

For under a case orders, we will arrange for shipments after I come back from China in Feb, shipping charge may apply at our normal fixed shipping rates.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life is too short!

Heart breaking news!  Sickness took the life of a young 17 years old girl had yet to bloom into her adulthood just yesterday.  It was shocking news to me and many of us who had just begun the fund raising not long ago, wishing every bid we do can make her life a little better.  But what a harsh reality it is to her parents whom were living in fear of loosing her, and now must face days ahead without her.  Morning~  I say nothing more....

Thank you all for making your purchase in the last few weeks, the fund raising portion will still be sent to the parents to pay for the hospital bills.  In our tea circle, so far we have raised over 100k rmb, I don't know the exact total number thought.  Thank you for your kind hearts and good deeds!  May all of us be healthy and peace in heart~~~ 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Water and tea from different years

I have to write this down so I can digest it better.

The same water can be good for one tea and not great with the other even though they are from the same region but from a different year.  This is mind boggling to me. 

From a recent tea frenzy made with Frasier mountain spring water, I was amazed how great a tea become with this water, mostly 2012 crops, but disappointed by the result when using the same water with dan cong teas from another year say 2011.   While using filtered water boiled in bamboo charcoal, the result is the opposite, 2011 crop taste better than 2012. This baffles my brain, not knowing why. 

Perhaps, the weather, rain fall and over all atmosphere condition had conditioned the growth of tea plants, hence the essence of the same tree differs year from year.  And because of this, the contents in natural spring water acts like a catalyst when combined with tea.  We know soil content is a notable element which is part of the essence of tea, it is understandable local spring water enhances local teas, this matter should be consistent too, because environmental change occurs simultaneously to both spring water and tea plants at the same time in the same region.   However, when combining water and tea from different region, you have an open box of Pandora!  Tying regions together is one way to go, but must add to the variable is the tea tree contents changes year to year, rematching the right water is now a new task. 

Another question is spring water should be difference from year to year as well, same water from same source brewing tea of different years of the same region, should that also have compatibility issue?   ie, water from phoenix mountain of 2012 brews Zhi Lan Xiang of 09 may have huge difference compare to water from phoenix mountain in 2012 brews the exact same tea and same year. That is ignoring the 3 years of aging. 

Tea, making a good cup of tea, bringing the best out of a tea is a never ending game!  Just as you think you know enough about tea, something new surfaces to challenge your knowledge.  Too many questions, too little time to drink tea in a life time!  :P

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The simplest way to enjoy a cup of Dan Cong oolong tea

Gong Fu tea takes time and concentration, a good mood and good company also desired if possible. If you think gong fu style is the only way to make a good cup of dan cong oolong, here is an easy way out, the result is also very tasty. Some times I think it is even better this way.

Take 2 to 2.5 grams of dan cong tea leaves, for commercial grades you can use up to 3 grams. Any more than that might be too strong.
Use a large and THIN gaiwan, 200 ml would be ideal. A big thick coffee mug does not bring out the same result.
You can see the ratio in the picture below
Fill up the gaiwan with boiling water with the water landing on the side of the gaiwan not hitting the leaves directly. Do not cover.
Good tea leaves are packed with substance hence heavy in weight, it sinks to the bottom of the cup quickly, the quicker it sinks the better the quality of the leaves, it must have a rich texture!
Do not disturb the tea while steeping, drink as you go, each level of tea has its own complexity, as the taste intensify, your sense of taste awakens. 
Fill up for another cup of tea and more
What can be easier than making a cup of tea by just adding hot water!   I actually like drinking old bush dan cong teas this way more than gong fu nowadays.  It allows the personality of tea to reveal naturally under any parameter.

This method also works very well for WuYi rock teas and quality green teas, not recommended for teas that are high in astringency and bitterness. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Typhoon hits Chao Zhou

For the last few days, Eastern Guang Dong province was hit by severe typhoon.  City of Chao Zhou was in the center of this harsh weather, with over 4000 trees being up rooted!  A water reservoir dam is partly destroyed.  Lucky enough the tea gardens had relatively less damages compared to the city. 
Ever since 2010, bad weather hits the area every year!  We can only wish for better days in Spring 2014, we need a good crop of Dan Cong teas! 

Marriage between water and tea

Any serious tea drinker knows how important water is to tea, just like what a soul mate can do to ones life.    Tea is who we are, water can change tea as a mate can change us.  The best of tea can be awaken by the best matching water, just as the hidden potential in us can be brought to to life with the right person. 

Recently, Martha and Richard gave me a big jug of Spring water from Frasier Mountain which they filled up on a trip.  It is the best spring water I find in the states that is best for Dan Cong oolong.  After testing with several 2012 and 2013 DCs, all of them performed much better, the aroma has re-bloomed, the taste is sweeter and richer.  After so many years of brewing DC, I am so deceived to assume I can not mess up a brew too badly.  When the characters of DC are not so up front, I just assumed the it is lacking in some ways.  In fact they are there asleep, all it takes is the right water to wake them up.

One of the ugly ducklings is the 2012 Hong Di - Red Stem, every sip is a spring blossom down the throat, then comes the soothing honey nectar, finished with a mouth full of fragrance.  Just as a rich and beautiful DC should be. 

Yi Xing tea pots

Yi Xing Clay Teapot Shui Ping Hu 90 ml

Yi Xing Clay Teapot Horse Carriage 120 ml 1302

 Taiwan Purple Clay Tea Pot - Mei Ren Jian 180ml 1302

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2012 Gong Xiang

Wow, you just never know how well can a dan cong become with time.  I had one today as I was packing teas, 2012 Gong Xiang.  The aroma is amazingly apparent at the nose, in the taste and lingers in the breath.  Most of the time, the flavor becomes better, the texture becomes smoother.  For Gong Xiang, the aroma is better significantly.  I had not had a tea with a fragrance last this long, not even the 2011 Gong Xiang of the same tree.  A slight floral fragrance can still be traced on my taste buds after many many infusions.    I am liking it very much!!!!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

a picnic

Just a picnic on a cool cloudy day. What a wonderful time!

Just to say I am alive and drinking tea

For a long time, I don't know what to write about tea.  It has been part of me just like air, you tend to forget breathing it most of the time, but who can live without it!

Today's teas, two whites and a dan cong.  We all put away teas and forget we have them at all, until one day, digging through an unattended box, then there they are, what a surprise!
5 years old silver needle gourds
7 years old white peony
2013 Song Zhong
The white peony is very nice, deep rich finishing, mellow as an aged tea should be.  The Song Zhong performed extremely nice with Fraiser Mountain spring water, a generous gift from Martha and Richard!  The silver needle gourd white tea is hard cord, with lotsa caffeine which made my heart pounding fast.  It may not be something I prefer, but only for those with needs of caffeine rush.  :P

Monday, June 03, 2013

Tea Tour of China!!!

Ah.... Martha, what have you done!!   :P

Tea tasting is fun and can be extremely challenging to me by those with active minds.

A tour of the Chinese tea mountain and markets!  If you are interested in going to China with Imen, roam around the tea markets in Guang Zhou, see the tea plantations in China, taste fresh tea leaves cooked in meals, watch how tea is made, and drink tea well in to the night at local tea houses, we are planning a trip for you.

I have in mind a relatively relaxing trip for the first time, 10 days trip around Thanks Giving time, during the world tea expo period,  begin with flying into Guangzhou city:

day 2 and 3, check out the largest tea market in the world (over 10k merchants) and the largest world tea expo of Guangzhou.

day 4, lunch or dinner and tea at an antique house converted restaurant, a food massage after that, tea drinking well into the night

day 5, 6 fly to Hangzhou, visit the world famous west lake and visit the local life, museum and garden

day 7, head up to Longjing mountain to check out tea fields, stay overnight at the mountain village

day 8, & 9, head over to city of Shanzhou, up the mountain of Shan, a lunch and/or dinner by the local tea farmers, mountain free range chicken, wild boar ham and fresh tea, bamboo shoot meals, run wild amongst the tea bushes if you dare.

day 10, fly back to Guangzhou, then head home.

We will try to stay in clean environment at all time, however remote tea mountains can be a bid country style without the fancy toilet, please consider that before jumping on board.  This is mostly happen on day 8 and 9.

I pick the above itinerary out of the consideration of our concern of comfort and level of foreign cultural shock.  Most of the time we will stay in cities with modern comfort, only a day or two of rural experience. 

Transportation, hotal, tour tickets and meals will be included with a tour guide in every location, fully insured.  Please keep in mind, if you have severe food allergy and/or health condition, go at your own risk. 

If you are interested, let me know soon and I will put this into action.  Flying to China in Nov is low season, air fare is relatively affordable.

In the future, we can plan trips to other tea regions combined with local sight seeing and food.  Yunnan, Wuyi mountain, Huangshan mountain are all great tea producing regions at the same time are famous tourist area.  If one trip is not enough for you, there are many many more tea mountains to see in China.  At least I find it fun to combine tea and sight seeing together, but can not be tea hunting alone. 

Well, it's a thought for now and you can chip in your thoughts, perhaps we can make this happen very soon. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tea event at UCLA 04/23/13

This is the 5th year that the NCAM of UCLA will be hosting the tea event consecutively.  As one of the volunteers of the event, I am very proud to be part of this event for so many years. 

Since it has been a few years, if a freshman attended all 4 events, he would had been graduated by now.  So my concern is what should I talk about when there are students had been to more than one events, I am sure they would not want to listen to the same materials over and over again. 

Tea can be a deep subject, it never ends.  For young minds which may or may not have much exposure to the world of tea, what would they be mostly interested in knowing? 

I personally think tea can be separated into several categories:

1, the basic of understanding types of teas by color, cultivation, processing
2, tea brewing
3, how to identify tea by quality
4, drinking tea and health
5, energy of tea and nature

each category can be extended with many sub categories, which become a large tops on its own

I don't have time nor  that the students have the patience to listen to a 5 days talk at once.  What would you be interested to know if you were one of the audience?  Your input is appreciated greatly. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My first tea tree

I got this last week, it's a small plant sown from seed.  The seller did not specify the varietal only informing seeds are from China. Let's play the elimination game for now until I receive feedback from China for its identity.  From the look of leaves, it is not pu-erh, it is not green tea, it is not wuyi rock tea, not dan cong either.  I am aiming for one of the varietals from Anxi oolong region.  My guess is Huang Jin Gui.

One might wonder why plant a tea tree, and why years later?  Well, I wish I could have started a few years back so it would be producing by now.  Last year, I visited the long jing producing region and had young tea leaves fried free range chicken eggs.  It was so refreshing and delicious, I can not forget how wonderful it tasted.  So planting a tea tree solely for this purpose is in my mind ever since. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tis the season to drink Dan Cong oolong!!!

Dan cong oolong is a moody tea alright.  Season's change also changes Dan Cong teas' performance.  I find fresher the dan cong is, the better it will taste in Spring, Summer and part of Fall.  They hibernate during winter.  When spring comes, they bloom again releasing fabulous fragrance and sweet like nectar. Winter is a season for aged or heavily oxidized dan cong or teas that hold the same characteristics. 

Cupping through my stocks of dan cong oolong of various harvests, most of which tasted better than I last had it during Fall and Winter. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2011 You Hua Xiang - Pomelo Flower Fragrance

Today, I am preparing for the first tea tasting of the year, cupping teas in stock is my task for the next few days.

2011 Dan Cong teas are now fully open up!!!  I am extremely delighted to find 2011 stocks are performing at its prime.  The fragrance is rich, the texture is silky, the flavor is intense and full.  After taste is refreshing aromatic sweet intense and long lasting.  My favorite is You Hua Xiang so far.  It is well rounded with everything you want in a cup of nurturing tea! 

Time after time, dan cong teas prove to become better with time!  Look forward to sharing these wonderful fairy teas at the tea tastings!   

Spring Tea Tasting 2013

Spring is here!  Weather is getting warmer day by day.  Let's have tea by the sea again.  

Spring Tea Tasting by the sea 


 Spring Tea Tasting
Spring has arrived, enjoy a warm afternoon by the sea with tea.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 1 pm

Point Vincent Lighthouse Park at Palos Verdes Peninsula

2012 Long Jing Green Tea
2012 Crystal White Long Jing Green Tea

2007 You Hua Xiang -- Pomelo Flower Fragrance

2009 Au Fu Hou - Gardenia Fragrance

2011 Mo Li Xiang - Jasmine Fragrance

2011 Lao Cong Shé Men - Shé Entrance

2012 Zhi Lan Xiang - Cattleya Orchid Fragrance

2012 Po Tou - Ginger Flower Fragrance

$35 per person
Reservation only, no drop by please

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

2009 Au Fu Hou

Drinking an Au Fu Hou the other day, after a few years, all of its strength has surfaced. My one and most important definition of good tea is it makes you feel good regardless of flavor and price.  Old bush dan congs share one characteristic, it's soothing to the body, soft and relaxing as taking a spa treatment amongst blooming orchids. 

Like wine, each yield and crop has its own stamps of characteristics, richness, depth, substance are the fundamental essence of quality measured by aroma and flavor.  For Dan Cong Oolong tea, my personal favorite years are 09 and 07.  They are richer and deeper period!