phoenix oolong

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New Harvest Phoenix Oolongs

A few years ago, I chanced upon a hidden village deep inside the Phoenix mountain in Guangdong, China in my many years of exploring this mountain. The valley was filled with two things: intense mist and fog, and some very old tea bushes. Upon closer look, they were not bushes, but miniature tea trees. The arbor type called Single Grove (dancong) grows only in the Phoenix Mountain- huge bonsai trees who branch out from the root. They grow very very slowly, but are also incredibly difficult to harvest. Thick milky white lichen grow on the wet branches, and the phoenix bird beak-like leaves are sparse and few at the ends of these branches. In the hidden village, over 1000 years ago, the legend was that the She tribal people of the village were graced with a heavenly warrior. After defeating a Mongol king, the warrior was granted a limitless gift…

It’s Hard to Say Which is your Favorite

It’s hard to say which is your favorite kid, and so, which is my favorite tea? I love the specialness of each and every artisan tea region I buy from, but if I had to choose one, it has to be Phoenix Mountain oolongs. There is simply no other tea that tasted like it, and no other environment nor trees like these.
This photo of the tea pickers harvesting on top of the old Ya Sai tree (I think, the old ones look very similar) is a photo from Mr. Wei, who is just over 30 years old, and whose goal in life is to surpass his past masters in tea making skills and innovation. Live long and prosper so we can continue to enjoy these fabulous Phoenix teas!

The life force on these arbor type Camellia Sinensis are strong-…

The life force on these arbor type Camellia Sinensis are strong- the roots dig into the rocks and secure themselves as the finger like groves reach upward. One of the original, 700 year old trees, the Song Zong, was chopped up by a madman a couple of years ago, but is regrowing nicely. All around, I noticed just how much giant rock is actually under the thin layer of soil, washed away from the heavy rain. Though Wuyi teas are known as Yancha or Rock teas due to the 10cm layer of soil floating above rocks, the Phoenix teas here appear to be growing in almost the same conditions, on rocks. This character was rarely pointed out, and despite being one of the two most expensive oolongs in China (and therefore the world). Mr. Wei said one of the teas he makes in ultra small quantity is called ‘the Lightening Tree’, and fetches 62,000 RMB per Jin, almost exactly $10,000 USD per lb! Feeling privileged to be having these teas from top of this mountain in our selection every year; the creme of the crop, as they say, from the very first day of harvest, reserved for us despite fierce competition. Friendship and appreciation goes a long way.

Mr. Wei, a more talented young tea maker I never saw. I have…

Mr. Wei, a more talented young tea maker I never saw. I have known him for just around 5-6 years now, and he was great to begin with, but reaching new levels every year. When I told him the Ya Sai plagiarism story, he chuckled and said maybe because there are tons of Ya Sai in the market in his town now, courtesy of the neighbors. By tons, he meant, like a few hundred low mountain lbs. He himself is partially guilty- he loves the Ya Sai so much his offspring clippings of the mother tree can now produce nearly a hundred lbs or more, if the weather was normal this year. The reverse marketing did not work out- Duck Poop tea is now a fashionable tea in his town at Phoenix Mountain because he made such a sensation! But sadly, I told him, the Forbes article was not about…

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