How to brew Feng Huang Dan Cong - Phoenix Single Bush Oolong Teas
Dan Cong is delicate and some what difficult to brew. Ok it might be the most difficult to brew. I had trouble when I first encounter DC. Either the aroma was not as pronounced or the tea became bitter fast for most of the commercial grade Phoenix Dan Congs Oolong Teas.
Like any tea, water, temperature and timing are crucial in maximizing the potential of the leaves.
For new teas (under 5 yrs): use 3rd boil water for first infusion. Pour boiling water from low to high and make sure leaves tumble around. Force plus temperature will open up the leaves from aroma to taste. Use 2nd boil water for the next 3 infusions, 1st boil water when leaves open up entirely.
For old teas (5 yrs and older): 3rd boil for first infusion. Pour water from low for every infusion. 1 boil for the next 2 infusions, 2nd boil for subsequent brews.
For very old teas (20 yrs and older): 3rd boil for immediate in and out rinse, drain and shake all the water out, even just a few drops, leave lid open and wait till temp drop to room temperature, then brew as above method.
Phoenix teas are closer to wild varietals compare to other domesticated varietals, it can be bitter when the tree is young, especially summer/fall productions. In situations like that, steep for shorter time (minus 5 seconds from above) for the first 3 infusions. Leave of this quality can last about 7 or 8 infusions. Old bushes can last 15 - 35 infusions.
Quantity (for old bush DC only):
When not using kung fu style method, use 1 g in 120 ml gaiwan, steep for 2 minutes in boiling water.
A little trick to taste/smell your tea. Use 2 fingers to close your nostrils, take a sip of tea, swirl it around your mouth to feel the texture. Then let go of your fingers, the flavor and aroma will purge through your nose, you can clearly smell the flavor with intense sensitivity. It's kinda like separating the taste and smell from the same sip of tea. You can experiment with other food too.