The first time I went tea hunting in China I went hunting Dan Cong Oolong tea.
I first found out about it from one of my greatest teachers, Dr. Liu, who is a Chinese Medicine doctor and Medical Qigong master. He taught me that in ancient China, the traditional Chinese medicine doctors and monks used wild tea for healing, medicine, martial arts and meditation.
When a wild tea tree grows naturally on its own high up in the mountains, the medicinal effects could be quite potent. Dr. Liu for example uses wild Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong Oolong to treat asthma, depression, and much more. Ever since Dr. Liu introduced me to wild tea I have been hooked, drinking it almost every day. It is my favorite tea not only because of the taste, but also because of the way it makes me feel. No matter how bad I am feeling the tea seems to lift my spirits. If my energy is low, it gives it a boost, elevating it to new heights.
The more Dr. Liu taught me about wild tea, its benefits and stories, the more intrigued I became.
Phoenix Mountain is over 1,749 meters (5,738 feet) high. I drove to Phoenix Mountain with Dr. Liu’s brother in law, Chen, who already had a relationship with the farmer, and a translator because Chen could not speak English.
“Stop here! This is a beautiful tea farm,” I requested.
Chen, (my friend who drove me there) refused. He explained, “Most of these tea farms are sprayed with pesticides. Even the ones that are not, the elevation is low enough that the run-off from the other farms leaks chemicals onto the other plantations. You also cannot trust most tea farmers that they have real, ancient wild tea trees. The farmer we are going to see I have known for years and I fully trust him.”
As we drove up the windy mountain road, I stared out over the edge of the cliff, looking down at a drop of over a thousand meters. My heart started beating a little faster. Driving further up, we came to a small village. The village sat right near the cliff of the mountain. The only thing that stopped this village from falling off the edge was the thin thread of road that we were driving on. There were no other roads in this town and two cars could barely squeeze by each other because the road was so narrow. As I looked out of the car window onto a sea of clouds, mist was all around us. We were so high up we were in the clouds! I felt as if I was walking through a dream. As we passed one of the last houses in the village, a little old man with rough fingers and sun tanned skin waved to us. Chen quickly parked his car and then a whole family rushed out to meet us.
“He cha!” The farmer shouted in Chinese with a smile, urging us drink tea. They quickly began brewing some fresh, very long leafed, dark but fragrant oolong. This tea was so fresh the leaves had not even completely dried yet. As we sipped this amazing and energizing brew of apricot-tasting, autumn-like tea, the farmer told us a fascinating story.
“This is no ordinary tea,” the farmer explained, “our family has been on this land for over 800 years harvesting this tea. We have a very special technique for not only harvesting but also drying and rolling the tea that was passed down through the generations of our family.” Whatever this technique was, it sure produced some of the best teas I had ever had. “The trees on our land here are ancient trees, many dating back hundreds of years. The government documents the oldest one as over 1,000 years old, even before my family was here,” he added.
We tried a wide variety of Phoenix Mountain teas. My favorite was the Wild Snow (Yesheng Xue) tea, which was oolong infused with the flavors and aroma of fresh jasmine, osmanthus and apricot and hints of toast. The Qi from this tea filled me with a fiery energy, banishing any fatigue I may have felt and lifted my spirits and mood. The amber liquor left a lingering taste on the palate. This is one of the best teas I’ve ever located and as there are only limited quantities available, I can only get enough for my best customers and friends.
If you are interested to read more about my tea hunting adventures in China check out my book Wild Tea Hunter
For Teas are not available online, you can contact us to get it especially for yourself: email@example.com
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