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Phoenix Dan Zhu Oolong literally from the single bush

[2017.01.03] Posted By

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We have been regularly visiting the Phoenix village every year for selecting Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong. In 2016, we managed to purchase a new category of tea called Danzhu oolong.

The meaning of Dan Cong in Phoenix village

Literally, Dan Cong refers to the single tea bush. However, nowadays Dan Cong is not used as the meaning of single tea bush in Chaozhou of China.

img_6332 Most of Phoenix Oolong tea that is available at lower price is the garden tea. These teas should not be called Dan Cong.

For now, the word Dan cong is used for the meaning that tea is not grown in garden style but grown as independent tea bush style. Farmers or manufacturers usually group the tea that carries the same genetic trait and gives inimitable fruity or flowery characteristic and name it as Dan Cong. Each batch of Dan Cong usually consists of not more than 5 or 6kg. For teas that are grown from the seed and do not have unique or distinctive flavor, they are called as Shui Xian.

What is Lao Cong?

Amongst Dan Cong oolong, there is a category called Lao Cong. The Lao Cong means Dan Cong oolong harvested from the very old tea tree. However, there is no strict definition on the exact age of tea tree. Based on my experience, it is pretty much depending on the manufacturer. Some of them called the 100 years old tea tree as Lao Cong, and yet some of them define the 100 years old tree is still too young. The Lao Cong is either from one single tea tree or it’s a group of tea trees that share the similar age, genetic trait and the flavor. After all, Lao Cong only refers to the tea that is made of relatively older tree. It is not the term to define that tea is from the single tea bush.

img_3258 Tea trees of Phoenix oolong are not grown in garden style. The old tea trees are named as Lao Cong.

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Dan Zhu Phoenix Oolong

The last category of Phoenix Oolong is called Dan Zhu. The Dan Zhu means tea is collected from the single bush. Nowadays, this term is not only used for Phoenix oolong but also for pu-erh tea. In fact, if one just collect tealeaf from one particular tea tree, process it and sell it individually without mixing with any other tea tree, technically it is also Dan Zhu tea. However, the common practice under the Dan Zhu category is the tea manufacturer will only introduce the tea collected from a very old tree tree.
For Phoenix oolong tea, the altitude is also a crucial factor to affect the quality. The Wu Dong Mountain is known as the source of the best quality Phoenix Oolong. In Wu Dong mountain, only a scarce number of old tea tree grown at higher altitude ( > 1000m). Phoenix Oolong only comes from a small area, unlike pu-erh tea which covers a vast production area. Apparently, those famous Dan Zhu must be from the reknowned tea tree that anyone in the village knows about. Usually, the price is not low; nevertheless, the main concern is the tea has to be pre-booked ahead of the beginning of tea season in order to secure some quantity.

img_3497 A huge tea tree of Wen Zhong. This tree is owned by Mr.Wen.

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We purchased 3 Dan Zhu oolong in 2016

In 2016, we managed to purchase 3 types of Dan Zhu Phoenix Oolong tea. All three teas are collected from the famous tea trees grown at Wu Dong Mountain. In particular, we bought extremely well-known tea called Wen Zhong (文種). This tree grown at the upper hill of Wu Dong village and it is owned by Wen family. This tree was there since long long time ago, and no one precisely know how old it is. This tea tree is very famous that it even appears in the book of Phoenix oolong. I can say it is one of the old tea trees that represent Phoenix Oolong.
Right now, these 3 teas has already arrived both in Japan and Malaysia. We plan to bake tea at lower temperature to awaken the tealeaf before we officially release.

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img_5901 The right top is the photo of Wen Zhong

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