What is Yan Yun?

Learning to Taste Wuyi Yan Cha

March 3, 2017

"Lingering aromatics, sweet sensation on the sides of the mouth, mouth watering, and a vaporous persistent quality -
these are what we call Yan Yun." - Li Xiangxi
 
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In her own words, Li Xiangxi teaches about the concept of Wuyi teas’ yan yun in an advanced course on the aesthetics and culture of Wuyi tea. This deep dive into the theory and philosophy is a must for every tea lover who wants to bring a more nuanced understanding to tasting fine Wuyi oolong teas.

This lecture discusses the technical concept of Yan Yun (岩韵), compared to the more general experience of huigan (回甘, aftertaste), qi (气, aroma), wei (味, flavor), and yan wei ( 岩味, Wuyi’s distinctive mineral texture).

To ground the discussion with wider context, the lecture also discusses the concept of Yun (韵) in art and poetry, using the Classical Chinese poem “冬夜烹茶” (Dong Ye Peng Cha // Drinking Tea on a Winter Evening) as an illustrative example.

Lecture excerpted from a tea tasting course at Li Xiangxi’s Wuyi tea school, September 2016

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