Honey Orchid Red Tea Bag and Coin
Honey Orchid Red Tea Bag and Coin
Honey Orchid Red Tea Bag and Coin
Honey Orchid Red Tea Bag and Coin

Honey Orchid Red Tea Bag and Coin

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Honey Orchid (蜜兰香) is the most famous of all Phoenix Mountain dancong (单丛) cultivars. Dancong teas are descendants of field selected single stock wild varieties with distinct characteristics. Honey Orchid dancong is known for its honey and orchid notes, accompanied by lychee aroma. Since the last years of the Southern Song dynasty, with 900 years of history, the Chaozhou region east of Guangdong province neighbouring Fujian province is famous for dancong made into wulong tea. A red tea version from this cultivar is unconventional and uncommon.

Guangdong province does produce red tea, but at a distance of 500 km northwestward at Yingde City (英德市), north of province capital city of Guangzhou, there is a successful example of red tea. In 1959, Yingde Red Tea (英德红茶) was successfully cultivated from the selection of Yunnan assamica wild grown trees. Chaozhou is wedged in between the two major red tea producing regions of Yingde on its west and Fujian Wuyi Mountain on its east, it benefits from red tea techniques from both regions. 

We have two versions on our list - tea coins of 6g each and teabags of 3g each. Compressed shape of coin first started from a customer's order and slowly became a regular item in the tea estate. The auspicious coin shape is perhaps to facilitate higher acceptance in a region more inclined towards wulong tea instead of red tea. It is not very common for red tea coins in the market and we are excited to savour its flavour. Following the tea coin, tea bags are made for convenience. They are packed in pyramid shape in bags made of corn fibre.

Brew Flavour
We are using distilled water to brew in a Parchmen glass gaiwan, using the full coin of 6 gm to 120 ml of 90°C water. For 120 ml water, add water to the Parchmen gaiwan until it touches the wooden sleeve. Normally, we will use lower temperature water to brew red tea, which should be treated much like a delicate green tea. However, its compressed shape warrants higher temperature to break open the shape. It took 1.5 min for the tea coin to start to unwind and we poured out the tea then. The brewed leaves is amazingly intense on sweet floral notes, and we picked up honey and maltose, and curiously also of red wine, cask strength whisky and daijingo sake. The tea colour is golden reddish and the aroma is strong on honey and stewed fruit notes in addition of the usual stonefruit notes of red tea. This is when we are tasting both the cultivar and the processing techniques. We brewed for a total of 4 times using the same temperature and time to enjoy the characteristic notes of Honey Orchid wulong tea on a deeper and brighter base of a red tea process. The tea coin only fully opened up at the fourth brew.

For the teabag, we are using a mug of 200ml size with 90°C water. After 1 min 15 sec, the brew turns amber red and the tea's characteristics start to show. For faster infusion, we 'fished' the teabag five times. As we drink, we continue to add water to a more diluted but still enjoyable flavour.

Come onboard and travel with Parchmen & Co to savour our world in a cup!

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