Honeysuckle Phoenix Mountain Oolong Tea (Master Huang April 25th)
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This Honeysuckle fragrance Oolong is a medium oxidized tea hand crafted from Wudong peak on Phoenix Mountain near Chaozhou, China at an elevation of over 1000 meters. Honeysuckle and Pandan leaf dominate the fragrance, while Honeysuckle and Sweet Osmanthus fill out the complex and savory flavor characteristics. This tea is the epitome of why we are so enamored with Phoenix Mountain oolongs.
As with many of the lightly roasted Oolong teas from that region, it is a particularly feisty variety. The quality varies wildly not just from year to year, but even from day to day. Extremely skilled hands are required to bring out the best in these teas, and Master Huang does his craft exceptionally well. Even with his expertise, however, weather conditions play a far larger role that in any other tea variety we carry. Rain on the picking or processing days will keep the quality from getting anywhere near its highest potential. During this year's Honeysuckle harvest time we were fortunate to get the best of the season on April 25th from Master Huang.
We were introduced to him the same way as the other 5 tea growers we work with there--from Chaozhou chefs and street food vendors we have known for over a decade and a half.
As an aside, this tea sometimes goes by the alternate name Duck Poop. There are a number of legends floating around as to the origin of this other moniker, but the stories to explain it are sketchy at best. Kind of similar to the one about George and the cherry tree.
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: 99-100C/210-212FBrewing method: 3-5g tea leaves (~1-2 heaping Tablespoons), 60-80ml (~1/4-1/3 cup) water each time with quick infusions in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot.
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.