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Produced lixiangxi_farmerbadge by Li Xiangxi

Li Xiangxi’s family lives in nature preserve near the Longchuan river gorge in Wuyishan. They pick wild tea in the bamboo forested ravine behind their family home, and further down the road, they cultivate many varietals of Wuyi tea in their mist-covered valley plot. Li Xiangxi uses the profits from tea farming to support her school of traditional Wuyi tea ceremony.

This sampler is a chance to try a broad range of Wuyi black teas from the Li Family. From famous buddy Jin Jun Mei to smokey Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, fruity Feizi Xiao and more, tasters will see the wide spectrum of flavor and aroma that’s possible in hand made Wuyi black teas.

 

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Taste Li Xiangxi’s Black Tea

This invitation to Wuyi black teas offers a very broad range of the Li family’s black tea. Taste their traditional Wuyi Gongfu Black tea, and contrast it with their smoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong or fruity-lychee Fei Zi Xiao. Then compare their classic Jin Jun Mei with their Tongmu Reserve Jin Jun Mei made entirely of tiny golden buds.

There is enough tea included to brew each selection five times times, giving you a chance to explore different brewing methods and pairings while getting to know the breadth and depth of flavor that can be found in Wuyi black tea.

Five 25g bags of loose leaf tea are included for a total of 4.41 ounces (125g.) of tea or 25 brewing sessions.

 
Click to watchLi Xiangxi in Wuyi

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WUYI GONGFU BLACK

Wuyi Gongfu Black is exciting because the unpredictable, beautiful and complex flavors of each wildly propagated tea bush melds perfectly in this rustic and honest expression of the land. Wuyi Gongfu Black tea is one of the best styles suited to the wild tea – traditionally oxidized and delicately twisted for a tea with sweet, mellow cocoa, sweet citrus, and a woody finish.

 

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ZHENG SHAN XIAO ZHONG
SMOKED WUYI BLACK TEA

Li Xiangxi’s family smoke their tea at their family home in Tongmu, controlling the level of smoke by picking out and carefully drying just the right pieces of resiny sap-laden wood to smolder, scenting in small batches for perfectly controlled flavor. Through careful management of pine wood, Li Xiangxi and her family seek to emphasize the intense minerality that is natural to everything growing on the bamboo-covered slopes above the Longchuan Gorge.

 

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FEI ZI XIAO

This intriguing varietal is sometimes literally translated as Concubine’s Smile (or laugh). However, this doesn’t quite capture the feeling in Chinese. The tea is named after a type of lychee fruit, which is called Feizi Xiao (妃子笑) – a fruit that was so loved by a famously beautiful royal consort that it always made her smile. The natural lychee aroma in this unscented black tea must be the inspiration for all fruit-flavored black teas.

 

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JIN JUN MEI

Jin Jun Mei Wuyi black tea is one of the most labor intensive and demanding teas to produce. The picking window is so small and the skill required so high, that every experienced farmer in the Xingcun works together to pick Jin Jun Mei buds for each other over the first weeks of spring. This classic Jin Jun Mei is a mix of black and golden buds for a more robust, satisfying taste experience that combines honey sweetness with notes of steamed bun and sweet potato. 

 

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TONGMU RESERVE JIN JUN MEI

Li Xiangxi’s old family home is in Tongmu in a protected ravine with wild bamboo, orange trees and native flowers growing around the wild tea bushes. Once a year in the early spring, Li Xiangxi and her family pick the tiny golden buds off the wild tea bushes growing behind her family home. This Jin Jun Mei (Golden Eyebrows) is one of the most prized teas in China, making it a rare commodity.

 

Tasting Recommendations

 

Li Xiangxi’s traditional Wuyi Tea Ceremony uses two yixing clay teapots, one for brewing and one as a pitcher. For black teas, however – especially smoked and extremely buddy teas – Li Xaingxi recommends instead using a porcelain gaiwan. Use 5 grams of leaf in a four to six ounce gaiwan, rinse with 200° F water, then steep for four to five seconds. Pour the tea without a strainer into the second teapot.

For the Tongmu Reserve Jin Jun Mei, use cooler water at about 180-190° and avoid using a strainer to enjoy the beautifully effect of the fine downy hairs of this bud-set tea.

Use scent cups and tasting cups if at all possible. Scent cups are taller porcelain cups designed to trap the aroma of a tea. If you don’t have scent cups, simply use a smaller cup as a scent cup and pour the infusion from the smaller cup into your drinking cup, then smell the empty cup before drinking out of the full cup.

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