Off to Phoenix Mountain in a week or so, and hoping that the rain gods have mercy on the harvest this year, I am hoping to be able to procure another batch of that sublime Phoenix Ya Sai oolong, which literally means Duck Poop in the local dialect. The fact that the family who owns the tree complained that neighbors have been stealing clippings to plant in their own gardens for decades, if not centuries, in the lower parts of the mountains, means that there are probably other ‘Ya Sai’ or Duck Poop teas elsewhere. Never having been popular, as it’s been so rare, that this was a tea that the locals love and never bothered to sell. In fact, our favorite Phoenix Mountain young tea master and owner of the real tree, says the Ya Sai does not grow well below the elevation he’s at (mountain peak, 1400+ meters), and that they don’t have the skills to produce such a delicate oolong by hand any way. The taste will be far inferior, so he’s not worried about the neighbors. In fact, the name Ya Sai, or Duck Poop, came about because they were trying to discourage the neighbors- reverse marketing, if you will. Of course, little have these expert tea producers, who parse over the fine line quality of high mountain, original tree, vs low mountain, clippings, can even imagine- here in the U.S., ‘Duck Shit Tea Takes the World by Storm’, according to Forbes.com and some American tea company, who got my story right from my blog it seems, but failed to put the right tea in, nor care that the one tree that produces that tiny little batch of Ya Sai, can never, ever, take the world by storm. It won’t even leave the mountain,unless I go all the way there to hang out with the producers. See the photo of the tea that was supposed to be ‘Duck Shit’ tea? It’s not even Phoenix oolong, check it out: http://www.forbes.com/sites/megykarydes/2015/09/30/duck-shit-tea-haute-tea/#7989cbc54d78
Those of you who have ever had Phoenix tea, you would recognize right away that it’s completely the wrong tea. It looks to me like a Tieguanyin or a neighboring Anxi oolong, but no, sorry, calling it Duck Shit with a sensational title, and not bothering to feature the correct tea, was quite insulting. But then, after all, how would anyone actually get their hands on the real ‘Duck Shit’, or Ya Sai, tea, after all?
So, pre-order yours, and I’ll do my best to get as much as I can from what is actually harvested, that the producer will part with, and that the rain gods do not make the slopes too slippery for my trek up the mountain. And no, we do not procure our teas from the comfort of an armchair behind the computer cutting and pasting other people’s stories.