It certainly wasn’t an easy process of finding farmer Kai, Liu, since most tea farmers in Phoenix Mountain rather keep their business on a local scale and keep it to themselves. For many years, Phoenix Dan Cong oolong tea remained a low profile on the Chinese tea market since local farmers consider such tea as a local cultural heritage and hence still have very little ‘ambition’ to commercialize it to a large national scale. The massive local demand of Phoenix Dan Cong tea is another reason why local farmers are comfortable with keeping their teas to themselves. Interestingly, locals who grow up watching their fathers and grandfathers drinking Phoenix Dan Cong refuse to drink other teas but exclusively Dan Cong oolong tea, and they sip such tea from morning to night nonstop. When I went to visit farmer Liu, we drank his teas from 9pm to 12am after dinner and the next day right after breakfast.
(Panorama of Liu's tea farm)
Located at elevation about 700 meters in Phoenix Mountain, near Rao Ping in Canton, farmer Liu’s 8 acre tea plantation is a beautiful gift inherited from his grandfather. With three generations of heartfelt work and craftsmanship, Liu’s artisanal skills of producing Phoenix Dan Cong tea wowed me seeing it with my own eyes. His tea farm covers a variety of Phoenix Dan Cong cultivars, and the most popular ones are almond aroma, gardenia aroma, duck shit aroma (honeysuckle), honey orchid aroma (Mi Lan), tuberose aroma and Shui Xian. The peak of Phoenix Mountain is about 1200m, and Liu's tea is considered high mountain Dan Cong tea for its location in relation to the peak.
Liu emphasizes on traditional artisanal way of producing tea, meaning from plucking tea leaves to wilting and to tossing in basket (which is one of the most crucial and energy consuming steps of Oolong’s production since without skillful tossing, the natural aromatic compounds will not be derived fully or correctly and tea leaves will be ruined completely), Liu does it with his very own hands or supervises closely of each step. The tea somelier who introduces me to Liu told me a story about her first visit at his farm. She tried to participate the tossing in basket procedure and completely ruined all tea leaves, and when Liu came, he did what seemingly the same way of tossing as she did, only he magically revived all the tea leaves. Later she recalled such experience as one of the most memorable scenes that she has witnessed at a tea farm.
Serene Tea trades directly with him to ensure premium quality tea from tea farm all the way to your cup. You can check out our Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea Collection from farmer Liu.