Winter harvest Honeysuckle Oolong tea from Phoenix Mountain is famous for robust floral notes that flood your palate and fill your nose. Honeysuckle fragrance is one of our favorite varieties of hand crafted Oolong teas. This tea was picked on the very last harvest day of the winter season--November 18th. Following that pick, the tea trees crept into their winter slumber. The reason for choosing the last or second to last day is the same reason as why the first spring pick is so sought after. Only these two times per year are the tea leaves growing the slowest. Slow growing gives the tree more time to fill the leaves with nutrients and pack them with the maximum flavor and fragrance molecules.
Storage: Store unused portions sealed in an airtight bag away from light in the freezer at 5F/-15C or below.
Brewing water: Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) 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 Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water available please see good substitutions on our water page.
Brewing temperature: 99-100C/210-212F
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.