Phoenix Oolong is also called Dan Cong Oolong. This tea originally grew in the high mountain areas in the Phoenix town in GuangDong province, but is now also cultivated in five near-by towns. Dan Cong means single bush. I was told that in old days, the tea leaves from each tree were picked and processed individually to ensure the quality and a unique fragrance. However, nowadays, only those very distinctive tea trees that have been living for over 100 years on the top of Wu Dong mountain in Phoenix town still go through this traditional process. Most of these ancient trees can only produce several pounds in the spring of each year. So only a few people have the opportunity to taste them. Young Dan Cong tea trees follow a massive production process. Dan Cong tea can be harvested in four seasons each year. In general, spring and winter Dan Cong teas are better than summer and autumn teas. Now you understand why the price for Dan Cong Oolong teas ranges from $50 to over $1000 per pound.
This exceptional Oolong tea was discovered in the Song dynasty around 1279 according to the Chinese authority. It was at one point given as an Imperial Tribute Tea. This tea is famous for its rich variety of fragrances. According to Mr. Li, the owner of the Phoenix tea shop in the tea wholesale district in Guangzhou, there are more than thirty kinds of different fragrances in Dan Cong Oolong teas. All fragrances are natural products of the combination of tree type, growing environment and the fermenting process. Each tea farmer uses his secret technique which has been passed down through generations along with the tea trees to make his special brands.
The most common Dan Cong tea fragrances include Honey fragrance, Almond fragrance, Orchid fragrance, Magnolia fragrance, Gardenia fragrance, Osmanthus fragrance and some fruity fragrances. I like to call this tea Canton Oolong. This is one of my favorite teas for sharing with close friends.