Fenghuang (Phoenix) Dancong Tea Types - The Ultimate Dancong Classification

Fenghuang (“凤凰” or Phoenix) Dancong is a type of Chinese oolong tea produced in the Phoenix Mountain of the Phoenix Village in the city of Chaozhou, Guangdong province. Fenghuang Dancong most distinguishable characteristic is its fragrance and aroma, it China is often praised as “tea perfume” or “drinkable perfume”.
In 1996, Chaoan County Agricultural Administration Office along with Fenghuang Town People´s Governemnt conducted a large-scale 18 months investigation on the tea trees and their origins across 12 administrative districts and 34 “natural villages” of the Fenghuang area.
The growing area of many different fragrances' cultivars at that time - such as pomelo flower fragrance, apple, sweet potato, honey, coffee fragrance etc... - was already quite small, and this together with the fact of a year-after-year decreasing production capacity of “Duck Shit” Dancong, resulted in combining “Duck Shit” (there is controversy here) with the other above-mentioned varietals, and therefore giving raise to the nowadays widespread “Fenghuang Dancong Top 10 Fragrance Types”:
- Yellow Gardenia Fragrance (黄栀香: Huangzhi Xiang)
- Orchid Fragrance (芝兰香: Zhilan Xiang)
- Magnolia Fragrance (玉兰香: YulanXiang)
- Honey Orchid Fragrance (蜜兰香: Milan Xiang)
- Almond Fragrance (杏仁香: Xingren Xiang)
- Ginger Flower Fragrance (姜花香: Jianghua Xiang)
- Cinnamon Fragrance (肉桂香: Rougui Xiang)
- Osmanthis Fragrance (桂花香: Guihua Xiang)
- Night Flower Fragrance (夜来香: Yelai Xiang)
- Jasmine Fragrance (茉莉香: Moli Xiang)
Dancong (单 --> single 丛 --> crowd/cluster) in Chinese means “single or unique cluster or group”, and that is because each cultivar derives from a specific and unique cultivar with its own fragrance and aroma features, reason why it is often said about Fenghuanf (Phoenix) Dancong “one tree (varietal) one fragrance”, each nowadays’ type of Dancong would have its particular fragrance pattern, different from the others. Therefore, the above classification as per in picture refer to nowadays’ 10 most well-known Dancong aromas and cultivars.
There are many varieties of Fenghuang Dancong, so that in order to ease tea training and education management, tea leaves' plucking and selling tasks etc… tea people and industry has made the above classification and naming of Dancongs according to its tea tree morphology, growing environment, age backgrounds and aroma characteristics. After long-term accumulation of experience and optimization, there are still hundreds of strains and Dancong names.
At that time, Mr. Huang Bozi analyzed 5120 trees stems and according to the different fragrance notes dividend Phoenix Dancongs into: 8 types of flower nectar fragrance, 4 types of (Chinese) medicine fragrance, 3 types of fruity fragrance and 3 types of other fragrances…
Therefore, we can classify Dancong into 4 categories:
- Flower Nectar Type: yellow gardenia fragrance, orchid fragrance, honey orchid fragrance, osmanthus fragrance, magnolia fragrance, grapefruit flower fragrance, night flower fragrance and jasmine fragrance. Only later, Mr. Huang Bozi added the Silver Flowers fragrance (the famous "duck shit fragrance").
- (Chinese) Medicinal Type: almond, cinnamon, ginger and bitter fragrances
- Fruit Type: bayberry, apple and sweet potato fragrances
- Other Fragrance Types: honey, coffee and other fragrances