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Nonpareil Wudong Song Zhong Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea
Mt. Wudong, rich palette with great depth
Mt. Wudong, rich palette with great depth
Wudong Village, Wudong Mountain, Fenghuang Town, Chaozhou City, Guangdong Province, China
May 13, 2023
One bud with two leaves
|Degree of baking:
Neat and tight strips with natural floral fragrance, glossy dark brown in color
Natural Zhi Lan Xiang, honey and fruit fragrance
Clear and bright orange
Smooth, mellow and delicate mouthfeel, charming fragrance and sweetness linger in mouth for a long time.
Song Zhong (about 30 years old)
Wudong Village Tea Garden (about 1400 meters altitude)
Moderate caffeine (less than 20% of a cup of coffee)
Store in airtight, opaque packaging; in cool, dry place
The aroma is introverted and lingering, the fragrance blend well with the liquid, giving a strong sense of “perfume”; Rich in taste, infusion enduring with prominent sweet aftertaste
When talking about Chaoshan, many tea lovers’ minds go to Chaoshan Gongfu Tea, which is mainly Phoenix Dan Cong oolong. Of this, the most famous and best-loved is Song Zhong Dan Cong, whose history can be traced all the way back to the Song Dynasty.
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.
Note: For Wudong Dancong, tea that is harvested in April is often light baked with a greenish brown apperance. After that, it will be re-baked in June, September and December respectively. The re-baking of this tea has imparted a deep brownish-black color to the leaves, noticeably darker than before. For the first few infusions the most prominent note is the tea's floral fragrance, coming from the still-wrapped leaves; following a few more steeps, the leaves stretch out, allowing its fragrance to meld into a mellower, smoother taste that fills the mouth. The re-roasted Ya Shi Xiang has not only a mellower taste, but also a better interplay between the flavor and the fragrance as well.
Chinese Gongfu Method
|Teacup: 12oz / 355ml
|Gaiwan: 3.8oz / 110ml
|212℉ / 100℃
|212℉ / 100℃
|Brewing time: 5 - 8 mins
|13 steeps: rinse, 10s, 10s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 35s, 40s, 50s, 70s, 90s, 120s
|Rinse time is around 5 seconds
1. High altitude
Wudong Village is known as the birthplace of “Famous Phoenix Tea”. At an altitude of around 1400m this area is cloudy and foggy year-around, and the high precipitation is very beneficial to the growth of tea trees. The main biochemical components that add to the tea’s quality are more reasonable here, too; for example, the theanine content here is significantly greater than other places, which results in a less bitter taste and fresher, brisker sensation of the tea liquid.
2. Good soil
The soil here is volcanic in origin, meaning it is very high in organic nutrients and suitably acidic. The soil types are mainly yellow, red, chi hong, and paddy soil.
3. Tianchi lake (Heavenly lake)
At the top of Mt. Wudong lies a Tianchi Lake, with perennially irrigates the tea trees and imparts a greater diversity of unique minerals to the leaves such as phosphorus, potassium, and iron. These help to give the tea a smoother, mellow-sweet taste.
4. Ecological growth management
The tea here is picked only once a year during the spring season. Due to the high altitude the environment is remarkably unpolluted; when picking, farmers use only traditional, manual methods, which maintains the freshness and integrity of the leaves and trees as well as helps to retain the original natural aroma of the tea.
Landscape of Mt. Wudong
Named after the mountain upon which it stands, Wudong Village is located on the eastern side of the Mt. Wudong in the northwestern part of Fenghuang Town. The village is not only the most famous production base for Phoenix Dan Cong oolong tea, but also is the highest tea village in all of the Fenghuang Mountains. The special climate and soil conditions here provide abundant polyphenols and aromatic substances for the tea trees during their slow growth period.As one of the three famous oolong teas, Phoenix Dan Cong is known worldwide, and boasts Wudong as its best and most beloved.
The fresh tea leaves is only picked once a year in spring
The branches of the trees are blanketed in moss, which is a unique feature of high-mountain and ancient tea trees.
Newly picked danchong tea leaves
Photographs by TeaVivre Member Chris
Chaozhou, among the 73 Phoenix Mountains, is known for its tea, beautiful scenery, and fresh air. It has a mild, humid climate with an average annual temperature of 20℃ and rainfall around 2100mm. The mountain is both a tourist destination and the main production region of China’s well-known Phoenix Dan Cong oolong tea, which draws its unique fragrance and flavor from the prime climate and soil here.
In 1982 Dan Cong was recognized as one of the 32 most famous teas in China. The mountain has over 20,000 acres devoted purely to tea gardens, among which is an ancient tea forest of over 3,000 trees mostly between 200 and 400 years of age; the Song Zhong Tea King trees here are up to 600 years old.
Mr. Wen and his family are all Chaozhou natives and tea farmers, with his parents having crafted Phoenix Dan Cong for as long as he can remember. Once he inherited their craftsmanship he insisted on making teas with the traditional charcoal-baking method, which takes time and energy and is fairly low efficiency with only 5kg of usable tea produced. Despite this, though, he and his family persisted with their traditional craft: Wudong Dan Cong Oolong tea, planted and perfected by hardworking Wudong tea farmers, is both a simple, delicious tea in quality, and also holds the pure essence of nature and the spirit of the ancient tea trees.
Song Zhong is a large-leaf arbor type of tea tree, selected from the natural hybrid progeny of the Wudong Mountain Phoenix narcissus population. Its leaves are oval in shape with a shiny surface, and always grow obliquely upward. Tea made from this variety has a strong aftertaste and is resilient throughout many steeps.
Dan Cong is also known as “duck shit aroma” tea; naturally, there is a story regarding the origin of this name. The first tree of this type was found along Wudong Mountain growing in yellow soil with dark green leaves, shaped similarly to the Schefflera octophylla - the Australian octopus tree.
The tea made from this tree had a noticeably rich aroma and taste, which made people curious about what kind of tree it was. This in turn made the owner of the tree nervous that someone would steal his tree, so he falsely claimed it to be “duck shit aroma” tea in order to dissuade interest. However, the vulgar name did nothing towards this, and the tree started to spread. As a result it came to be found all over Phoenix Mountain, and its popularity continue to grow.
In 2014, experts from the Fenghuang Tea Association decided that the tea’s scent is more similar to the fragrance of wild honeysuckle, and as such tried to change the name to Yin Hua Xiang or “honeysuckle aroma”. Somewhat unsurprisingly, though, the original name remained because so many tea lovers prefer it more.