Ginger Flower Fragrance （Jiang Hua Xiang 姜花香）Phoenix Mountain Oolong Tea (Master Lin April 8th)
We just love to see the surprised looks of guests in our tea house when they taste this tea. Within the first and second infusions, an assertive yet smooth flavor of ginger comes through. Many can't help but smile when they find out there is no actual ginger in the tea and the complex flavor is completely natural with no added flavoring agents.
Actually the flavor is less ginger like and far more galangal (a ginger relative) like. Which makes sense given the connection between this tea and the local food from Phoenix Mountain and Chaozhou (a town highly respected for traditional foods located very near Phoenix Mountain). Galangal (sometimes written galanga) is more esteemed than ginger and replaces it in most of their specialty foods. Added to the stock for making their famous braised goose, stuffed in marinated chicken, ground into fish porridge and even shredded to use in marinaded fresh starfruit and mangoes. This is one of the many things that distances Chaozhou cuisine from standard Cantonese food.
And yes paring this tea with ginger or galangal spiked foods works wonders for the flavors.
Storage: Store unused portions sealed in an airtight bag away from light in the freezer at 5F/-15C or below.
Brewing water: Earth2O brand mineral water most closely matches the slightly hard natural spring water on Phoenix Mountain and produces the finest results. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well. If you don't have Earth2O water available please see good substitutions on our water page.
Brewing temperature: 100C/212F
Brewing method: 5g tea leaves (~2 heaping Tablespoons), 100ml (a bit less than 1/2 cup) water each time for 5 seconds in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot. After the first 10 infusions, increase each infusion time by 5 seconds. To produce lighter tea, either decrease amount of tea, increase amount of water or decrease brewing time. To produce stronger tea, either increase amount of tea, decrease amount of water or increase brewing time. You can easily adjust to suit your individual taste.
Notes: Small quick infusions showcase the changing flavors of each cup. Longer brewing times in larger quantities of water end up more homogeneous, but still very good results.