Fenghuang Dancongs and other Phoenix oolongs are my own favourites. I drink a lot of them. Contrary to most people’s expectation, I do not use the gaiwan daily and infuse 250 ml of the tea at a time, if it’s only for myself. Otherwise I use a 850 ml teapot, or a 1.5 litre one.
The infusion time I use for these fine teas is normally between 5 to 10 minutes.
Yes, you read it right. Long steep.
Although this way it will be difficult to get the tea as strong and delicious as I want it, drinking large amount of tea is better when it is not so intense. Gongfu tea to me is reserved for carefully preparing to an ample strength for savouring, but at tiny portions. Rather like sitting down with a cup of expresso in Italy. Or a glass of single scotch, or cognac, or good old shochu, for that matter.
A properly conducted long infusion on a slightly smaller leaf to water ratio yields a full taste profile and a mouth feel that is tasty and yet light enough for a delightful drink throughout the day.
When I have had a bit too much food, classic style Phoenix, such as Honey Orchid, Phoenix Classic or Orchid Gratus are my natural choice for ridding that stuffiness in the stomach.
After gym, or if my inner heat is intense, bouquet style selections, such as Eight Immortals, Black Leaf, or Big White are effective in cooling down the body. Sometimes I make it a little lighter than normal to replenish my systems with water.
Using the gaiwan to prepare a substantiated, yet small cup of Phoenix oolong has a special position for my life outside of work.
It is a virtual getaway for a few minutes or for sitting down to enjoy a company. I may use a really fine one such as Song Cultivar or Orchid Literati.
In rare occasions when there is an onset of cold or flu, a few cups of gongfu style Fenghuang Dancong is as powerful a defensive as vitamin C, cold pills or instant hot lemon, if not more, and much better to drink. If you want to try this, remember to make it not too strong and drink while the liquor is still quite hot. Keep the portion small, but repeat it a few times.
My personal experience is, if you drink enough of good tea everyday for a few years, you rarely need to confront such nuisance as colds or flus.