蜜兰香 · Poetically referred to as “perfume of honeyed orchid”, Phoenix Honey Orchid is an oolong tea. · 2017
It is produced from leaf material taken from old single trees (dan cong) in the Li Zai Ping village, situated around 1,200 metres above sea level along Phoenix Mountains in Guangdong Province, China.
While initially somewhat bitter, a intense sweetness and distinct orchid fragrance rapidly appear in the nose and linger in the throat. The liquor yields a warm golden syrup colour, and boasts notes of mulled stonefruit, a soft orchid and root vegetable taste that is a signature of this style.
Li Zai Ping Village, Wudong Shan, Guangdong, China
Plucking: 20th April 2017
Family: Ms. Cindy Chen
The leaf material is plucked from old single trees (dan cong) in the Li Zai Ping village, situated around 1,200 metres above sea level along Phoenix Mountains in Guangdong Province, China. According to Ms. Chen, the style is processed more authentically to the way of the locals of Chaozhou, the birthplace of gongfu cha. In practical terms, this means multiple sessions of deep roasting over charcoal — a total of three times at 12 each time — with an interval of about a month and half between sessions.
Although considered by Ms. Chen as a medium roast, we are assured that is deeper and more prolonged than usual. Baking over charcoal completes the processing and ensures the tea achieves mellowness ready for consumption.
Orchid, root vegetable, treacle
The excellent processing and the ageing over several years of storage has ensured mellowness while maintaining complexity of flavour. Although it may seem untoward, bitterness is the first taste sensation on the tongue. But this is quickly replaced by a welcome succour; incredibly clear orchid flavour, hints of stonefruits and a mellow roasted taste that is distinctly reminiscent of sweet potato.
When brewing with gongfu cha style, a quick rinse of the leaves will relieve some of the initial bitterness from the taste. Hot (just off boiling) water and a series of short steeps are recommended. Up to six infusions were delicious prepared in this way.
How to brew
Pair this tea with:
Freshly cut lychee, melon or Maraschino cherry chocolate
Honey mustard chicken breast, salted egg yolk, quark
Preserved quince, dried orchard fruit, chargrilled peppers
Spicy soft-shell seafood; chilli crab or crayfish in light butter
Enriched breads such as brioche or challah