Fenghuang Dancong (Phoenix Single Bush) is a collective name for the oolong tea specially grown and produced in Chaozhou area, China. Different types of Dancong are separated and cultivated from the excellent individual plants produced from the Fenghuang Shuixian plants. All types of Dancong follow the single bush picking and single bush tea production method.
There are many types of Dancong, each with its own characteristics. In fact, Dancong tea types are so varied that even local tea farmers cannot know them all. There are about hundreds of Dancong cultivars after many generations of tea farming. Let’s find out the basis of Dangcong classifications.
Named After the Shapes of the Tea Plants
- Large Bush Tea: the tree is tall, large (arbor type) and flourishing.
- Wang Tian tea (Looking Up Tea): the height of the plant is around 8 meters, looks like it stands in the middle of many short tea bushes and looks up to the sky.
- Tuan Shu (Circle Tree): the tree branches grow out like a big round circle.
- Chicken Cage: the tree looks like a cage for chickens in a farmhouse.
- Girl with Umbrella: it looks like a girl holding a green umbrella
- Large Grass Shed: the tree grows like a shed that the farmer stock grass for the cattle.
Named After the Leaf Shape that is Similar to a Certain type of Leaf
If you hear grapefruit leaves, persimmon leaves, guava leaves, bayberry leaves, citrus leaves, bamboo leaves etc. in Chaozhou, people are probably talking about different Dancong tea types. Seeing these names, can you imagine the shape of the various fresh tea leaves?
Named by Leaf Colour
Under this classification, tea leaves are divided into white leaves (actually light green or yellow-green) and dark leaves (the actual leaf colour is dark green).
Named by Leaf Size
There are types like big dark leaves, baby dark leaves, big white leaves and baby white leaves.
Named After the Appearance of the Dry Tea Leaves
Big bone red, Da Hu Qi (shape like a leech with small ends), silk tea, noodle tea, “glue paper wings” (like the wings of a dragonfly, opened up and thin).
Named by Location of the Tea Plants
Wudong Dancong (Dancong from Wudong Village), Shitou Huang Zhi Xiang, Zhongping Zhi Lan, Chengtou Zhi Lan, Shemen and so on.
Named After Events or Historical Background
For example, “Oriental Red” was named during the Cultural Revolution period.
For example, the “Eight immortals crossing the sea”, as well as the Ya Shi Xiang (Duck shit) tea we have introduced before.
Named After a Flower that Resemble the Aroma of the Tea
This is the most versatile classification method and the most widely accepted one. People may wonder if the actual flowers were used during the tea production process. The answer is a resounding no. These amazingly intoxicating aromas that smell like gardenia, magnolia, osmanthus, pomelo, jasmine, orange blossom etc., all come naturally from the tea leaves!
All of the above classifications reflect the unique style of the Dancong. Many tea names are related to local dialects and traditions, and it may not be easy for outsiders to understand. That’s why the Dancong tea types commonly found on the market are usually named according to the aroma types:
Fenghuang Dancong Top 10 Aromas (Since 1996)
- Huang Zhi Xiang: the fragrance is similar to yellow gardenia
- Zhi Lan Xiang: the fragrance is nice and sharp like orchid.
- Gui Hua Xiang: it has a osmanthus aroma.
- Xing Ren Xiang: it has an obvious almond fragrance.
- Mi Lan Xian: It smells like the honey- like sweet aroma of sweet potato.
- Ye Lai Xiang: it smells like a tuberose.
- Jiang Hua Xiang: its smell resembles ginger flower fragrance, and it is also known as “Tong Tian Xiang”, meaning intense aroma that could reach the sky.
- Rou Gui Xiang: It has a cinnamon aroma.
- Mo Li Xiang: it has a jasmine fragrance.
- Yu Lan Xiang: It is like a magnolia aroma.
Of course, everyone could have a different top ten list in their mind.
Yes, figuring out Dangcong types is complicated. That’s partially because Fenghuang Dancong is oolong tea. With oolong’s unique production process, even the same tea tree could produce teas with different aromas due to the differences in picking, making or preservation.
And even if one type is defined by one aroma, it often contains a variety of other aromas too, which could resemble other flowers, fruits, cream, nut, honey and so on.
To find out which Dancong type is your favourite, or just to enjoy different drinking experience, it is always fun to drink more and compare. After all, there are so many types to try, which is also a reason why the Dangcong is so interesting and attractive to many.