Different manufacturers use different roasting times and temperatures depending on the thickness and size of the leaves. Of utmost importance is to ensure that the teas do not impart a burnt flavor, and rather to enhance their natural floral, spicy, or fruity notes.
The name of this tea is quite intriguing. Yashixiang, which translates to Duck Shit aroma, might arouse much misunderstanding about the real fragrance of the tea. In fact, legend has it that when ancient farmers planted this type of tea, they didn’t want others to recognize how fabulous and delicious the flavor could be. For that reason, they named the tea after Ya Shi, or “Duck Shit” to prevent their precious cultivar from being stolen.
Phoenix Dan Cong tea is one of the three great varieties of Oolong tea, all equally famous; the other two being the tea from the slopes of Wuyi Mountain, and Tie Guan Yin tea from Anxi, Fujian.
Phoenix Dan Cong comes from Phoenix Mountain, near Chaozhou City in the eastern part of Guangdong province. Some of the cultivated tea bushes there are as old as 600 years, and many bushes are more than 200 years old. People who originate from the Chaozhou/Shantou region have a liking for gongfu tea, which is certainly related to their homeland being the proud producer of the famous old tea, Phoenix Dan Cong.
The name Dan Cong has today become a generic term for all oolongs grown on Phoenix Mountain, and the different varieties are becoming more and more widely available as tea lovers learn to appreciate their powerful fragrances and complex toasty and floral flavors.