everything in this issue is about belonging and this tea is the quintessence of that. it’s the kind of tea that would be served up in a big pot in a decent hotel or fine restaurant with loads of food served in ever revolving turns.
Phoenix classics have the sublime aromas of their xiang or fragrance types cousins without being specific to one the result is a lively burst of peach, lychee, longan (the darker, tart cousin of lychee) and was that almonds?
the best thing about this classic is that it has enough aroma to delight but doesn’t steal attention so it pairs well with food. i highly recommend eat lots. PART TWO: pairing.
Phoenix oolongs are notoriously difficult to brew properly, earning the name gongfu cha or “skilled effort.” therefore i recommend you get your hands on a tea master brewer (pictured above) or something similar. warm the vessel. go western style to save heartache: use 1g to each 100ml and steep for 5 minutes @ 85-90C. hotter will be stronger, slightly less aroma, with a wee bite. you can pour all the tea out, but i leave it in and let it stay in while i eat (no more than 300ml – or just over a cup,) so the brew gets more astringent in a way that stands up to food well. PART TWO: fancy gongfu style brew tips