Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Feng Huang Dan Cong • 凤凰单枞

On Phoenix Mountain, One is Many.  

If I had to choose a single favourite tea, which I hope no one ever asks me to do, I just might have to pick Feng Huang Dan Cong. 

Feng Huang, 凤凰, is Chinese for Phoenix, and Dan Cong, 单枞, can be translated as 'single bush'. Simply, dan, 单, is one, and cong, 枞, is many, so, to me, the name Feng Huang Dan Cong, is like a poem, "On Phoenix Mountain, one is many."

The name originates from a combination of Phoenix Mountain, where the tea grows, and the technique of keeping the leaves harvested from each tree separate, rather than blending the leaves, how most other teas are produced.

There are many other ways that one becomes many on Phoenix Mountain, though.The oldest tree of the mountain, about 900 years old, over a couple of centuries, spread across the slopes, covering the mountain with tea trees. The trees that grow on Phoenix Mountain are known for their single trunk that umbrellas out into many branches, and on each branch sprouts several leaves. I haven't been told where the original tree came from, but I like to imagine the seed was dropped there by the old Phoenix of the mountain, but feel free to believe otherwise... ^_^

The mist covered mountains are the perfect place for growing tea. Hot days and cool nights also add to the quality of the leaves, which is why mountain tea is so nice. The rocky terrain of the moutains also add the warmth and richness of the tea. The higher up the mountain, and the older the tree, the better quality the tea leaves are. It's because of the unique flavour of each tree that they are kept separate. The area also has thousands of years of tea history and is a likely place of the origin of Gongfu Cha.

Since I've yet to visit Phoenix Mountain, the photos I've used come from here: http://www.hojotea.com/article_e/phoenix_e.htm#

If you're interested, it is an excellent, much more in depth article on Phoenix tea.

Wu Dong Mountain, a part of the Phoenix Mountain chain, is where the best trees grow.

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