For those who are mostly attracted by the aroma of tea, Feng Huang Dan Cong (Feng Huang Single Cluster) is the most unforgettable one if you have tried. Sometimes it can be confusing for the wide variety of names. Let’s have a look at what exactly is Feng Huang Dan Cong today!
Feng Huang Dan Cong, together with Tie Guan Yin from An Xi and Wu Yi Cliff tea from Fu Jian, are the three most famous and classical Oolong in China. Popular legend says when the Emperor of Song Dynasty passed by Feng Huang Mountain during his escape to south, his servants made him a tea to ease the thirst from long traveling. This beak-like tea leaves picked nearby sent out compelling aroma and amazed the King. People started plant the tea tree widely after, and thus the most ancient/origin species is called Song Species.
This story definitely increases the charm of Feng Huang Dan Cong. However, the oldest Song Species tea tree is just around 600 years old, while the Song Dynasty ended in 1279 A.D., the authenticity is yet to be examined.
Feng Huang Dan Cong is mainly planted and produced in Feng Huang Mountain range in Guang Dong, and Wu Dong Mountain is acknowledged to be the best place of origin among the range. With an altitude of 1200m, Wu Dong Mountain is covered by clouds and mists year round. The humidity and the day-night temperature drop are both large in that area with yearly average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. The soil in the Feng Huang area is fertile, full of trace elements and organic matters. All these geographic conditions increases carbohydrate and amino acid which bring out the sweetness in tea liquid, and decreases polyphenol which results in bitterness and astringency. These factors contribute to the sensational aroma and unique sweet lasting charm.
Common questions go as: does Feng Huang Dan Cong equals to Feng Huang Hsui Xian? Is it just a general product name of tea making in this area, in this way, or it actually has to be produced by a singletree basis?
In fact, the name “Feng Huang Dan Cong” can represent the tea tree species, the specific product name, as well as a certain grading.
In terms of species, Feng Huang Dan Cong (single cluster) tea trees are the superior clusters selection of Feng Huang Hsui Xian. As Feng Huang Hsui Xian tea trees belong to arbor, which is large in both size and productivity, and the manufacture unit of Feng Huang area is usually in small scale family basis, each tea tree and production formed an unique identity/type. As time goes by, Feng Huang Dan Cong became a particular tea tree species apart from the ordinary Feng Huang Hsui Xian.
On the other hand, as the flavor of Feng Huang Dan Cong got more and more popular, the term “Feng Huang Dan Cong” has became a certain product name. It can stand for all tea produced with Feng Huang Hsui Xian species in same way as Feng Huang area.
Further more, in the Feng Huang area, people used to categorize the tea into three grades from good to common: Dan Cong, Lang Tsai, and Hsui Xian. Thus, it is also correct to recognize “Feng Huang Dan Cong” as a certain grading.
The harvesting time of Feng Huang Dan Cong is according to the tree species, usually start from February to mid of May. The standard of fresh leaves needs to be just matured terminal facing- leaves with one tip and two leaves. The manufacturing process is complicated and with strict regulation, including withering both under the sun and indoor, setting, tossing, fixation, rolling and roasting. The best time of drinking is 15 days after it’s produced. The taste of some species becomes even better at the end of the year.
We'll share about aroma types and brewing suggestion of Feng Huang Dan Cong in next article, hope you find it as interesting as we feel!
By Vicky C.