Chairman Mao’s Personal Tea and Special Edition Orchid Grātus for Free

Chairman Mao’s Personal Tea and Special Edition Orchid Grātus for Free
October 8, 2014 Leo Kwan
In Older Achieves
Old tea tree in Fenghuang

Chairman Mao’s Personal Tea
and Special Edition Orchid Grātus for Free 

An old tea tree with a spread crown overlooking the north side of Fenghuang Mountains

In Our Last Tea Trip

Two days before we were set to return to Hong Kong, as I was arguing with Ah Yong — one of my Phoenix producers — about infusion technique, he went to the back of his storage and came back with a handful of leaves and demanded that I infuse that tea to show him. It was a good tea, I could tell by the finish and the smell of the dry leaves. I did my routine for fine Phoenix tasting. He commented on my technique almost non-stoppingly while I was doing it.

The aroma was so pure that I could care less for the mumbling from that Fenghuang villager. Its taste bewitched me.

The East is Red

In 2001, I brought to Hong Kong an extremely rare Single Bush Song Cultivar, nicknamed “the East is Red”, after the fact that it was once a personal tea for the late Chairman Mao Tse Dong. It was the first time anyone offered an 2.5kg annual output, ultimate quality Phoenix oolong in the international market. It was sold for some £300 for 35g and made a media splash for me and my previous tea brand that Christmas.

Leo plucking leaves in Danhu
I was plucking from some younger trees in Danhu for samples

As I grow older, such glitzy sparkles elude my aspiration but the rare quality has its 13 years memorable aftertaste. 

Sitting in Ah Yong’s back office, it now played back to me on every taste buds. And in many ways more beautifully than the memories. “Superb,” said Siu, who came to this part of China for the first time, and has always been quite reserved. She went on to elaborate on her conclusion, and unusually finished the whole gongfu cup, than another, breaking her rule of no tea after three.

Danhu Old Bush Song Cultivar

Ah Yong had never mumbled about my “different” technique from that point on throughout the remaining of our stay, and asked me to infuse all the best teas in his small but fully packed holding.

I asked him the price for that Danhu Old Bush. Almost as expensive as the East is Red. 

It took me a long time before I could fall asleep that night. The taste now lingered in my half consciousness. The next morning I asked Ah Yong if I could take only a portion of that 5 kilo batch, thinking that even if I was not selling it, I could have it all for myself.

So 13 years after that crazy price tea and again in Christmas, I have brought home one more time an exquisite rare dancong. Not that I think it is commercially viable to sell such exclusive harvest in an online shop setting, I simply could not leave Fenghuang without it.

Well, at least I am not offering it at the same kind of crazy markup when my first tea brand was in some airy, expensive mall with sparkly marble floor and a crazier commission to pay. Danhu Old Bush Song Cultivar is ( only ) 102 USD for the standard Tea Hong pack, nowhere near that £300+ pricy tag. I am going to let only a few packs go anyway. The rest is bonus for myself for all the hard work in these 13 years 😉 «See the product page now»

Firewood shack in Danhu
Firewood shack in Danhu, Wudong, Fenghuang Shan. Traditional materials and methods are still being used in Phoenix oolong production

Song Cultivar

If you want great Phoenix taste, there are other choices. Our Song Cultivar has now been upgraded. Harvested from an even better farm than before, higher in altitude and on a more shaded side of Wudong from two really old trees. I just couldn’t make a pass after tasting it. «See the product page now»

Honey Orchid Supreme

Honey Orchid SupremeIf you crave more for the sweetness of Honey Orchid, it has an upgraded version too — Honey Orchid Supreme. Ganged from a few older tea bushes for the rounder profile, fuller body and deeper tones; and again from a more privileged farm for the sweeter and deeper taste. «See the product page now»

Honey Orchid

Honey Orchid 2014 itself has been upgraded as well, though we have decided to keep the old price. «See the product page now»

We have actually struggled and argued a bit whether we should introduce such fine quality to risk our cash flow and commercial soundness. Taste knocked out our conservative business reasoning. If you think I must have gone crazy, I perhaps have. Or perhaps I have only indulged myself a tiny bit of my artist sentiments to let wild my love for such artistic work on the wonderful gift from Nature. 

However, I have not forgotten there are people who want quality at daily prices. That’s why I have started two new varieties.

Introducing Big White Leaf. 

Big White Leaf

Produced using a cultivar called Da Baiye — Big White Leaf, it has a kumquat accent in a soft, sweet body. Well balanced because of great harvest timing and by a very skilled tea master in Ah Yong’s next village. One of my Swiss clients said it is a poor men’s Song Cultivar. Well, we are not sure of that, but at 14.9USD per standard pack, it surely is great value for such fine taste. «See the product page now»

Phoenix Classic

We offer great value options not only for bouquet style Phoenix, but classic style too. Phoenix Classic is produced from the cultivar Baiye. That’s right, Baiye, a totally different cultivar from Da Baiye. The tea is rather like Honey Orchid, but only at 15.7USD. «See the product page now»

Other than the Phoenix oolong range, new products and selections from various categories are releasing soon. One has matured well in our special condition storage and is ready to be enjoyed so we are putting it up now:

Cha Tou: Cream of Puer

Spring Cha Tou — Cream of Puer 2013

We call these cha tou Cream of Puer for a good reason. These little tea leaf nuggets take shape naturally when the tippy leaves are pushed and rolled during the many re-shufflings in the post-fermentation process. Possessing higher percentage of pectin, some of these tender leaf shoots stick together with the likes, forming pearls of dark tea within the huge mounts of loose leaves. Since they have the highest concentration of vitality substances but less bitter ones as the youngest of the leaves, ‘cha tou’ tastes smoother, sweeter and softer. Tea Hong’s top quality Cream of Puer is made only from prime spring harvests for even better taste and health compositions. A real treat for people who enjoy shu cha pu’er. «See the product page now»

That’s plenty of selections to ponder on for tea for the season, but if you want to have more option, there still 70 others at the Tea Hong online shop to choose from. With so many fine choices, you’ll be able to stay happy and healthy throughout the extra fats and calories, packed jammed schedules and quiet moments of the festive rituals.

I wish you a Joyous Holiday and great time with your loved ones, and many enjoyable moments with our tea.

Leo's signature

Leo Kwan 
December 5, 2014


Free Special Edition Orchid Grātus 

Special Edition Orchid Gratus

A week after we returned from the trip, I received a special package of Orchid Grātus of amazing aroma when I opened it. It was not the one for our usual product and much better. I called Ah Yong and asked if he made a mistake. A gift, he said. From a very small batch from a couple of trees from a neighbour who makes even better quality than his. Such wonderful tactility and seductive fragrance when I tasted it. This should be shared.

From now till Christmas, all existing customers will be given a free pack of this special edition Orchid Gratus for each purchase of 188USD or over. Consider that a Christmas gift from me. Very limited quantity only. This offer is valid as long as the stock lasts.