In some areas of the Phoenix Mountains (Fenghuang Shan) in Guangdong province, China, there are wild tea plants that remain a source for some of the best oolong teas in the world. Leaves from these old tea trees are prized for the flavor and full body.
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.
Another unique aspect of the Phoenix varietals is that the newly sprouted tip evolves into a large, full leaf very quickly. The twisted leaf oolong processing style, which requires long leaves, is therefore often used on Phoenix teas.
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.
The grower of the Royal Phoenix is a second generation tea farmer, inheriting the business from his father.
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.
Water Temp: 190°F (88°C)
Quality of Water: Best with Spring water
Quantity of Leaf: 2 tsp per 8oz water
Steep Time: 3-4 minutes