Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia)

Dan Cong Wulong Tea 2019

A rare example of traditional Dan Cong wulong made from old Phoenix Mountain tea trees with an intense lingering floral fragrance like magnolia that endures through numerous pale amber infusions. Produces a complex and full-bodied smooth flavor that fills the entire mouth, without the astringency typical of young Dan Cong wulong. Finished with a traditional roast over lychee wood charcoal.

Clear selection

Tea Origin
Wu Dong Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Chaozhou City, Guangdong Province, China

Tea Bush
Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia)

Tea Master
Wu Jianhua and Chen Hongwei

Harvest Time
Late April

Picking Standard
Zhong kai mian

A rare example of traditional Dan Cong wulong made from old Phoenix Mountain tea trees with an intense lingering floral fragrance like magnolia that endures through numerous pale amber infusions. Produces a complex and full-bodied smooth flavor that fills the entire mouth, without the astringency typical of young Dan Cong wulong. Finished with a traditional roast over lychee wood charcoal.

Since this tea is picked from older tea bushes, the bitter heaviness often associated with Dan Cong wulongs is not present. This tea is much more mild, but still very rich and complex. The rich aroma will cover your mouth immediately and will stay with you until the last infusion. This is a high quality Dan Cong, perfect for those who want to try tea made from older tea bushes. Once brewed, the tea has a full-bodied flavor that fills the entire mouth. The degree of intensity of its natural magnolia fragrance endures through numerous infusions.

The name Magnolia comes from the natural floral aroma of the variety of tea bush used in its production. Coaxing this natural fragrance out of the leaves is largely due to the skill of the tea master who withers, oxidizes, and roasts the tea. A skilled tea master will carefully control the speed of leaves’ oxidation during a tea’s processing to help develop and highlight the unique qualities of its natural aroma.

Harvest and Processing

The processing of Yu Lan Xiang begins when leaves picked at the end of April, the spring season for wulong tea in Wu Dong Mountain. The top 3-4 fresh leaves are picked, following the “zhong kai mian” picking standard. Leaves are picked around noon, and are carried back to the factory before 5 PM.

Fresh leaves are withered outside in the sun for an hour or two, depending on how cold the weather is, and then they are moved inside and evenly separated in piles about an inch thick on large round bamboo trays. The trays are stacked on wooden shelves, where they will stay for about eight hours. During this time, the tea master checks the leaves very often to monitor their oxidation. Every half hour or so the master will shake the bamboo trays, twisting the tea leaves. This forces the cells to break on the edges and surfaces of the leaves, gently and naturally oxidizing the tea.

When the tea master judges it is time, the oxidation process is halted by frying the leaves in very hot rolling machines. The leaves will quickly be fried for 7-10 minutes at about 200°C, adjusted depending on the amount of tea leaves. After that, they will use kneading machines to compress and twist the soft, hot tea leaves. The pressure is controlled to give the right amount of compression to twist the leaves into their long shape.

The twisted, wet leaves will then be dried by roasting for about 45 minutes. The mao cha is now completed. The leaves will still have stems and some leaves that will not fold because they are too old. These unwanted leaves and stems are sorted out by hand. After the sorting process, the Dan Cong will be roasted twice more — once using an oven and once again using smokeless charcoal. This is a special quality of this tea. Most other Dan Cong are now only roasted in an oven, and not over charcoal.

The Particular Origin of Dan Cong Wulong Teas

Yellow Sprig’s origin of Chaozhou in China’s southern Guangdong province is famous for producing Dan Cong wulong tea. The climate here is tropical, bordering on subtropical, and the yellowish-red soil is rich and fertile.  According to Chaozhou’s local history, the nearby Phoenix Mountain was first cultivated for tea production over 600 years ago.

The Phoenix Mountain tea region is very large and has many different peaks within it. The tallest peak, Wu Dong Mountain, is where the region’s tea history began. There are still over 4,000 tea bushes here that are over 100 years old. The oldest of these bushes is the mother bush of the Huang Zhi Xiang (Yellow Sprig) variety. The mother bush is six meters tall and is about 600 years old.  Old bushes like these have large tree-like trunks and deep root systems and are locally referred to as “half-tree” tea bushes. The tea brewed from their leaves bears resemblance the robust and concentrated quality of old tree Puer tea from Yunnan.

The farmers of the Phoenix Mountains traditionally grew tea by seeds, but like apples, seeds will produce different types of bushes. There are many different varieties of tea bush in Wu Dong Mountain. Tea drinkers describe Dan Cong wulongs from Guangdong Province as possessing ten different aromas.

Wulong Producing Regions

Historically, four regions in China were the first to produce wulong tea. These regions were the Wuyi Mountains in north Fujian Province, Anxi City in the center of Fujian Province, Taiwan island across the ocean from Fujian, and in Chaozhou City near the coast between Fujian and Guangdong Provinces. Nowadays there are many tea regions that produce wulong tea, but these four regions were the first. Chaozhou City is famous for producing Dan Cong wulong tea.

The Legend of Phoenix Mountain in Chaozhou City

The namesake of Phoenix Mountain is a legend from the last years of the Song Dynasty. As the legend tells, a young Song Dynasty emperor and his officers were being chased by Mongolians attacking from the north. They were forced to travel for a long time and pass through this mountain range. The emperor was very thirsty, but had no water to drink. A bird flew overhead and dropped tea leaves and seeds into the emperor’s hands. His servant instructed him to chew the leaves to quench his thirst. The emperor did so and was refreshed. He pronounced the tea a treasure sent to him by the legendary phoenix. By this legend, the mountainous region was named in the bird’s honor.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

 

 

Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia) 2019 brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass, porcelain or yi xing clay pot
Amount: 1 Tbs of tea leaves
Water: 212 F (boiling) filtered water.
Infusion: First infusion for 1-2 minutes. The leaves are good for seven infusions.