Tea and origin: Oolong tea from Da Zhi Mountain, Feng Huang (凤凰), Guangdong. The farmer is Huang Xian Sheng, and the tea was harvested on 11 May 2014
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Link to Phoenix Dan Cong
Min River Tea is a western company based in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China. Founded in 2010, Min River Tea only buys tea directly from farmers – not middlepeople, wholesalers or trading companies. Min River Tea also only purchases teas that are manually picked and meet EU/US standards for chemical safety and pesticides. By directly buying from farmers, they feel they can better control quality.
This is the first time I’ve tried a tea from Min River Teas, so I thought I’d start things off with their November tea of the month, Phoenix Dan Cong.
Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of full, twisted leaves. It has a classic oolong aroma: a bit toasty, with some honey-like notes
Infused tea: The first infusion cups out a light yellow liquor. Subsequent infusions are darker. The first infusion is light – both aroma and flavour. With the second infusion, the tea starts shining: the liquor is darker, the aroma is more prominent and the liquor is more flavourful. I pick up a complex mix of fruity and floral flavours in the body of the tea. At first, I detect an apricot flavour, followed by rose notes. By the second and third infusions, it is a medium-bodied tea with a moderate amount of astringency that leaves a slightly dry mouthfeel
Infusion tips: Although you can make this tea with various types of teaware, I would suggest using a gaiwan. I put five grams of tea in a 150ml gaiwan and steeped the tea for 30 second with water off the boil. For each subsequent infusion I increased the infusion time by 20 to 30 seconds. I tried using a glass teapot with this tea, but I found it didn’t pull the aroma or flavour out of the leaves. If you do use a teapot, you might want to steep the tea for two minutes (or more). Try infusing this tea three to five times
Conclusions: The complexity that this tea has is very special. While it has classic oolong flavours, I found that the fruity and floral notes in the body provides a whole other dimension to oolong drinking. It is a real winner, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The complexity of the aroma and liquor will throw your tea taste buds for a loop!
Retail price: 100 grams for £20.00