Phoenix Honey Orchid
Wudong Mountain, in Guangdong Province, China, is known for its ancient terraced slopes and tree-sized tea plants that yield prized phoenix oolongs (dancong). This tea, from the honey orchid (mi lan xiang) cultivar, is named for its characteristic floral fragrance and flavor, and it hails from the remote village of Gui Zhu Hu.
Experienced craftsmanship is apparent in the consistent-size leaves, which undergo a carefully monitored process of oxidation, twisting and heating before a final firing after a few months’ rest.
When put into a hot gaiwan or teapot, layered aromas of stone fruit, baking spices and a base note of flowers rise, followed by a low, sweet-woody flavor. Prepare with water just off a boil. Quick infusions will yield a lighter taste, and longer ones will bring out phoenixes’ characteristic deeper notes—this style is one that rewards experimentation over dozens of subsequent steeps. Be sure to enjoy the aroma of the unfurling leaves after each infusion; the fragrances shift prismatically as they cool, from tropical blossoms to buckwheat honey.
Region: Guangdong Province
Tasting Notes: lily, dried apricot, cedar
Year of Production: Spring 2022