Gold Thread Honey Orchid (金絲密蘭香, Jīn Sī Mì Lán Xiāng, "Gold Thread Honey Orchid Fragrance") is a sub-cultivar of Honey Orchid, which is one of the most popular breeds of Phoenix Oolong. It is so named because it is cloned from a particular Honey Orchid plant whose leaves are golden in color as opposed to green. Farmers discovered that this golden plant, in addition to its unusual coloring, also had a distinctive flavor and fragrance from its siblings. This tea exhibits a biscuit-y, slightly spicy aroma on top of the classic fruity sweetness of Honey Orchid. Like most Phoenix Oolongs, the dry leaf is dark, almost black. Whereas regular Honey Orchid and most other Phoenix Oolongs have leaves that end up green after multiple steepings, the spent leaves of Gold Thread Honey Orchid have a deep bronze color. Because it is a less-common sub-cultivar and has only been grown for a few generations, it is easier to get Gold Thread Honey Orchid that is closer, genetically, to the original mother tree. As a result, the Qi is also superior to normal grades of Honey Orchid.
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Unmistakably in your face Dancong. Intensely fragrant, overpoweringly floral, soapy (a reference for me to strongly scented hand soaps), and buttery. Fruity in an unidentifiable way, kind of a bright melony, Tutti Fruiti chewing gum sort of flavor. Definitely get the honey and orchid qualities. For someone who likes Dancongs this would likely be a very enjoyable tea, but the Shui Xian was much more in my comfort zone. And yet the lingering flavors and mouthfeel of the finish are quite lovely.