China has vast tea-production areas. Almost all the great mountains in the country produce famous teas. The great mountains have lush forests, misty cloud seas, and clear springs. Together, they make a warm, humid, and shady environment suitable for the gowth of tea trees. Almost all the famous teas made in the past and modern times are from the great mountains.
Dancong (single clump) Tea from Mt. Phoenix
Mt.Phoenix is located in Chao’an County to the north of ChaoZhou City of GuangDong Province. About 1500 meters above sea level, its mean peak is the highest peak in ChaoZhou Distrct. The areas is close to the South China sea and enjoys a warm climate and plenty of rainfall. It is covered with cloud, mist, and moist air all the year around, making it an ideal place to cultivate Phoenix Narcissus, an improved tea tree variety.
Accoding to the legend, tea planting in Mt. Phoenix started in the end of the Southern Song Dynasty. At that time, Song Emperor Zhao Bing was forced into exile by yuan army. At the wudong hill in Mt. Phoenix, he was thirsty. His attendants picked some tender leaves from local tea trees and cooked the tea for him. The tea proved a great relief for Zhao Bing and he highly praised it. Since then, people in Chao’an widely planted tea trees and named local tea tree “Song Strain”. Today, on the cliff of the WuDong Hill, the two characters “Song Strain” can still been seen. In the WuDong Hill of Mt.Phoenix, there are still over one thousand tea trees planted in different dynasties, including the Song( 960-1279), the Yuan (1279-1368), the Ming (1368-1644), the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and even the modern times. The oldest tea trees are 800 years old and they are the offspring of Song Strain.
Phoenix Dancong is made with only the leaves of the high-quality individual tea trees among the tall Phoenix Narcissus group variety. The finished tea is straight, fat, and yellowish brown, with intense natural flower scent. The tea soup is clear and has a strong sweet and brisk taste and a special mountain taste and honey flavor, which linger even after repeated brewing.
There are at least over 80 varieties of Phoenix Dancong Oolong tea. The most famous ones include Yellow Branch Aroma, Cinnamon Aroma, Irises and Orchids Aroma, Pervasive Aroma,Jasmine Aroma, Almond Aroma, Sweet-scented Osmanthus Aroma, Whitish Honey Aroma, and Honey Orchid Aroma.
Though all growing in the WuDong Hill and made into the strip-shaped tea with green stem,green central part, and red edge, the Phoenix Dancong tea trees have different ages and different germ plasm and thus their own mountain tastes and honey flavors. During brewing, a strong aroma can be smelt ten steps away. The tea soup has a strong taste and lasts long. Tea picking and making should be done differently according to the different flavors of different tea trees. The Phoenix Dancong Tea made with freshly mature tender tips has a unique quality.