Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong: easy guide, top 3 best teas

Last updated: August 24, 2020 at 0:27 am

What is Phoenix Dan Cong oolong tea?

Phoenix Dan Cong oolong is a rare variety of tea, with an interesting anecdote to its name. Dan Cong literally means single bush in Chinese. Historically, this kind of tea was harvested from an individual tea tree. Legend has it that traditional Dan Cong Chinese oolongs are still produced from the ancient tea trees, some tens and others even hundreds of years old. In reality, however, these teas are very treasured and almost impossible to find in the Western world. According to more prosaic definitions, the name Dan Cong Oolong is generally applied to all roasted oolong teas produced in the Phoenix Mountain region of China’s Guangdong Province.

What kind of tea is Phoenix Dan Cong oolong?

Phoenix Dan Cong oolong is harvested in the spring, plucked as a single bud and two or three leaves. When dry, the leaves are dark, slender and glossy. When steeped, they create an amber colored infusion.

Just how rare is Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong?

The answer lies in the name itself. “Dan Cong” oolong must come from a “single tree”. Traditionally, Phoenix Dan Cong Oolongs would be sourced from standalone tea bushes planted randomly in the wild, typically on mountain slopes. Needless to say, such tea trees are rare. And by extension, authentic Phoenix Dan Cong Oolongs – especially those harvested in the spring – can get pretty pricey. You’ll find a number of cheaper teas labelled as Phoenix Dan Cong Oolongs, which are sourced from tea gardens. The aroma and flavor of such teas will differ quite drastically from the real thing. That’s because tea trees cultivated in gardens are pruned frequently, which means their branches and leaves grow faster and have less mineral and organic content.

Tasting notes and reviews

The best Phoenix Dan Cong oolongs have a smooth, “long” taste. They start as toasty and woodsy and linger in your mouth, presenting sweet and fruity notes with subtle hints of lychee and dry grapes. When wet, the aroma of the leaves also bears hints of “wet rocks and maybe stonefruit”.  The general consensus among tea drinkers is that a “pass-through room temp rinse” and a short pour produces a better flavor the first time around. Following this, the tea emanates a “musky, grassy aroma surrounded by a nice sweetness”. Those who aren’t into excessively floral notes will appreciate its “delicate flavor”, often reminiscent of “slightly roasted nuts with a touch of honey”. This is one of those teas that ages gracefully and gets better over time.

Tea tips

  • Brewing your Phoenix Dan Cong oolong right is key to enjoying its interesting fruity flavor. A short first infusion will enhance these notes.
  • While buying Phoenix Dan Cong, pick a spring-harvested batch. When harvested later, the tea tends to develop a bitter, astringent taste.
  • Try other Chinese oolongs. Ti Kuan Yin, native to Anxi region, and Da Hong Pao from Wuyi Mountains are some of the most famous.
MeiMei Fine Teas Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea Magnolia Fragrance – Chinese Oolong Loose Leaf High Aromatic High Mountain

MeiMei Fine Teas Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea Magnolia Fragrance – Chinese Oolong Loose Leaf High Aromatic High Mountain

Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong tea is known for its variety of fragrances and the rich mineral content of its tea leaves. The dry leaves usually are twisted with a dark color. The leaves have a reddish edge, which is a result of a process called Peng Qing or Yao Qing, that is an oxidation process unique to the making of oolong tea.
Nonpareil Wudong Song Zhong Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Nonpareil Wudong Song Zhong Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

The trees for this tea grow along Wudong Mountain at an altitude of 1400 meters where the natural environment is superior and conducive to the development of the leaves and formation of tea polyphenols and important aromatic substances. Also important is how the tea here is picked only once a year, and is cultivated via traditional farming methods without any kind of cutting, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers. The dry leaf of Song Zhong maintains a sweet, smooth honey aroma; brewed with boiling water, this fragrance overflows from the gaiwan and melds with a clearer fruit fragrance beneath. The tea liquid is sweet and fragrant, with a rich yet mellow taste that leaves a lingering aftertaste. Compared to Ya Shi Xiang Dan Cong, Song Zhong has a stabler aroma, with a richer, fuller thickness and flavor.
Lao Cong Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid) Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Lao Cong Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid) Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

When we drink tea, our mouth is filled with the natural aroma of the leaves, like an elegant perfume. Because of this, many tea lovers say that dan cong is a kind of drinkable perfume; when savoring the tea, the taste is mellow and smooth with a strong, sweet aftertaste, the sweet honey and elegant orchid flavors mixing perfectly with the mountain minerality to build a totally unique drinking experience. Drinking this tea in a zisha teapot can better bring out the unique flavors of this tea, and make its aroma and flavor more vivid.

More tea, please

Show next
Mad Tea Club