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2023 Songzhong Dancong Phoenix Oolong


Light to medium charcoal roasted tassels unbraid themselves upon a steep to suspend a peach colored soup with a light + tight mouthfeel.  The brisk, punchy body holds up an impossibly well-structured aromatic profile of fresh biscuits, gardenia, fruit leather, and honeysuckle, devolving into mossy wood and sun baked cereal grains upon cooling.  The orchestral swell and decay of a single sip ends by leaving you with a fragrant sweetness on the exhale.

With a history as old as the dynasty it was named after, 宋种 Sòng Zhǒng dancong commands the attention of the tea master; doing justice to a respected cultivar as storied as this one is a classic metric of level of craftsmanship in the area.  Thus, signs bode well when we asked Wen Jian Fu what tea he was most proud of and he pulled out this Songzhong.  Mr. Wen, the vice president of the Chaozhou Tea Industry Association, is a quiet, intense, straightforward, and disciplined man.  He is serious about his craft and insists on maintaining quality control by overseeing every step, especially the ending charcoal roasting step.  Spend enough time with him, and you might get to see a few soft spots emerge below his cool and tough exterior.

Well-resourced with family trees of various ages at various elevations, Wen's Songzhong gardens were planted in 1955 and rest at an elevation of 870 meters, enabling this tea to hit high marks without completely breaking the bank. Harvested in spring 2023, this one was roasted and rested 3 separates times, the last one right before the Chinese New Year.




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