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Produced lixiangxi_farmerbadge by Li Xiangxi

When Li Xiangxi teaches her students about Wuyi tea, she breaks the tasting experience into four unique elements: “Wei” or flavor, “Qi” or aroma, “Yan” or Wuyi’s unique rocky texture, and “Yun” – the commanding, compelling quality of the finest teas which linger with you long after your tasting.

 This sampler focuses on the aspect of “Qi” with four teas that exemplify intoxicating fragrance and aroma, with floral notes in aroma and flavor. The emphasis on aroma rather than flavor or texture tasting kit makes this an approachable introduction to some of the more complex aspects of Wuyi oolong teas.

 

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Taste Li Xiangxi’s QI Collection

TThis tasting kit focuses on the aspect of “Qi” or aroma in Wuyi oolong , bringing together five teas that exemplify an especially fragrant  tasting experience, with floral high notes and intoxicating aroma. Taste Qilan Wuyi Oolong alongside the Li Family’s Light Roast Qilan, then move onto floral Huang Mei Gui and Dan Gui and finish with Bai Rui Xiang.

There is enough tea included to brew each selection five times times, giving you a chance to explore different brewing methods and pairings while becoming familiar with the aromatics of Wuyi oolong 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 watch

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QILAN

Li Xiangxi’s whole family – brothers, cousins, sisters, aunts and uncles – all pitch in to work their Wuyi Jiuqiu river valley plot. Because of the sweet mountain springs and flavor complexity that plot’s biodiversity contributes to each tea, her family is unique in their careful restrained roasting process. They let the natural perfumed florals and deep rocky minerality come through in their Qilan varietal oolong.

 

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QILAN LIGHT ROAST

The Li Family uses the finest leaves and a labor intensive charcoal roasting process to perfect this high-grade Qilan. This tea is finished with a careful, restrained roasting process to bring out the natural perfumed florals of the varietal. The intoxicating orchid of this tea makes it an excellent example of how aromatic Wuyi oolong teas can be.

 

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HUANG MEI GUI

Huang Mei Gui is an intriguing varietal named after the yellow rose. The Li Family’s careful roasting brings out the wonderful balance of floral and savory that this varietal exemplifies. The earthy notes of taro and sweet corn meld with aromatic rose and jasmine in a way reminiscent of Turkish Delight candies.

 

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DAN GUI WUYI OOLONG

Dangui is a relatively new hybrid, growing famous across China for its big, red osmanthus (dan gui) aromatics. While it has been used for rolled oolong and green tea, it is most well known as a strip-style Wuyi oolong. The Li family’s traditional Wuyi finish brings out the full bodied gripping texture of Dan Gui, while allowing the bright florals to shine through in the lingering aftertaste.

 

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BAI RUI XIANG

Bai Rui Xiang was one of our favorites of Li Xiangxi’s autumn releases in 2015, and the 2016 Spring harvest is no different. This varietal is rich and creamy while smoldering with deep temple incense notes. The vanilla and lotus aromatics keep this tea light and luscious and make it an excellent finish to the QI Collection tasting kit. 

 

Tasting Recommendations

 

Li Xiangxi’s traditional Wuyi Tea Ceremony uses two yixing clay teapots, one for brewing and one as a pitcher. Use 5 grams of leaf in a four to six ounce teapot, rinse with 200° F water, then steep for four to five seconds. Pour the tea without a strainer into the second teapot.

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.

Every three infusions, stop and taste simple hot water. This is a critical part of Wuyi ceremony as sipping water gives a medium for the aftertaste lingering from early infusions to really come out. The water steeping is a way to appreciate aroma and aftertaste.

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