Monday, August 19, 2013

Phoenix Dan Cong (orchid flavor) • 鳳凰烏龍蘭花味

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Phoenix Dan Cong (orchid flavor) • 鳳凰烏龍蘭花味
Fènghuáng Dān Cōng (lánhuā wèi)

It was a long time before my tea-making skills even began to match that of the folk at Kkik Da Geo. I still have a long way to go but I remember the excitement I felt when I was first able to get eight nice tasting infusions from a single pot, getting passed four was a huge step. Or even getting one great tasting cup, I used to exclaim to my wife, "It tastes like Kkik Da Geo!"

I was so fond of Phoenix Dan Cong that it was the first tea that I began to master. One day, after having a particularly successful Phoenix Dan Cong session, I dropped by the tea house just in time for the start of another pot of Phoenix Dan Cong.

With the taste of my earlier tea still lingering in my mouth, I couldn't wait to sip Mr Ahn's to confirm how similar my technique had become. My arrogance was quickly squashed as I raised the the first cup to my mouth, failing to observe the color and smell and took a sip of tea that that was absolutely nothing, NOTHING like my own.

"This is Phoenix Dan Cong?" I asked. With a grin, as though he knew my mind, he explained that it was a lighter fermentation process, only 25%, compared to the 50% fermentation of the "honey" Phoenix Dan Cong I was accustomed to. The leaves are long and twisted, like the "honey" one, but most similarity ends there. Compared to the "honey" leaves' dark, rusty colour, these are more green with streaks of yellow and hints of cranberry.

This lighter one is said to have an "orchid" fragrance. My first impression was that it tastes like what I'd imagine a lotus flower would [but doesn't] taste. It eventually conjured strong memories of the Tiger Lilies that grow on Lower Mill Road, where I grew up. Having since had green tea that was mixed with orchid blossoms, this tea does have a remarkable orchid flavour.

Mr Ahn recommended filling the pot very full, about 50%, with the young leaves and using cooler water than usual, around 70°C. I've had a poor success rate with this tea, on my own. I tend to land either on the bland or harsh side of the complex, floral textures of the tea Mr Ahn severed, confirming that I do indeed still need much practice!

No comments:

Post a Comment