Dan Cong Chou Shi (单枞抽湿) is an unusual, lightly oxidised, Phoenix oolong. This is a modern type of oolong from Phoenix Mountain that undergoes very light oxidation and cool temperature baking to preserve the natural highly floral aroma and taste of the fresh tea leaves. It is a most unusual Dan Cong oolong and a must-try for any fans of complex teas from Guangdong. This particular batch is from the April 2018 harvest.
Dan Cong (单枞) is the general term that is used to refer to oolongs that come from Guangdong and specifically from Phoenix Mountain. Dan Cong literally means ‘single bush’ as traditionally these oolongs were all plucked only from single semi-wild trees. It has now become the generic term to cover all Phoenix Mountains (Fenghuang Shan 凤凰山) and sometimes other Guangdong oolongs.
This Dan Cong Chou Shi comes from Fenghuang Shan near Chaozhou in Guangdong Province and is from the trees of the Shui Xian cultivar. The Shui Xian cultivar is traditionally a popular choice for Phoenix oolong tea since it has a particularly pronounced floral character. This tea undergoes a modern crafting method that is referred to as ‘Chou Shi’, which literally means ‘dehumidification’. This refers to the minimal processing it undergoes, especially when it comes to baking; one can think of the leaves as just being ‘dehumidified’ rather than thoroughly processed. This modern-style processing involves baking, not just at high temperature, but by using alternating hot and cold temperatures. This prevents the leaves from heating too much thus reducing the level of roasted flavours common in Dan Cong teas, while also preserving the green floral aspect of the fresh leaves.
The creation of this Dan Cong Chou Shi is largely driven by market demand for highly floral, lightly oxidised oolong teas. When we first tried it, we were instantly reminded of our award-winning Wen Shan Bao Zhong pouchong from Taiwan; there is similarity in the refined floral and slightly baked aspects of both of these teas. The very large leaves of Dan Cong Chou Shi have a dark and bright green appearance and a lovely fresh aroma. The lightly golden liquor produced has a slightly baked osmanthus flower aroma that is exceedingly pleasant. The taste is highly floral with a lovely lightly baked edge to it. The character is fresh and bright with creamy and nutty notes. The long-lasting aftertaste has a light mineral aspect (this is where you can definitely see the parallels to traditional Dan Cong teas) that is combined with an aromatic floral quality.
This tea is bound to appeal to fans of Dan Cong oolongs as it provides a fascinating comparison to those traditional teas. But it would also appeal greatly to fans of modern, lightly oxidised, floral oolongs, of which it is a stellar example!
It is best brewed at 80°C for about 3-4 minutes according to your taste. As expected, it will stand multiple infusions well.