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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 “Wei” with four teas that exemplify bold Wuyi flavor, with many featuring distinct fruity notes with a finish that is cozy and sweet. The emphasis on flavor rather than aroma or texture tasting kit is an excellent place to start for those just beginning their love affair with Wuyi oolong teas.

 

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Taste Li Xiangxi’s WEI Collection

This tasting kit focuses on the aspect of “Wei” or flavor in Wuyi oolong , bringing together four teas that exemplify warm & roasted tasting experiences with sweet and fruity undertones and caramel finishes. Taste the Li Family’s classic Big Red Robe alongside the more complex Fo Shou, then continue with the softly floral + sweet Mei Zhan Jin and the incredibly fruity Fei Zi Xiao black tea.

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 familiar with the flavor of Wuyi oolong teas.

Four 25g bags of loose leaf tea are included for a total of 3.53 ounces (100g.) of tea or 20 brewing sessions.

 
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BIG RED ROBE

Li Xiangxi and her family grow this tea in the Longchuan gorge of the Wuyishan National Nature Reserve, hand picking every leaf and delicately roasting this tea in bamboo baskets over charcoal embers to bring out the natural minerality of the region. The family believes strongly in standing against the modern trend to over-roast and cover the natural flavor of the tea, making her Big Red Robe unique among its peers and earning it the recognition of a gold medal in 2016. The cozy tea is well-balanced with strong notes of fruity melon, necatarine, and candied citrus with a savory sweet finish.

 

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FO SHOU

Fo Shou, or “Buddha’s Hand,” varietal is a more exotic and luscious tea than Mei Zhan or Big Red Robe. True to its name, there are strong notes Fo Shou fruit with a hint temple incense and rosewood prayer bead aroma. The Li Family’s darker roast accentuates Wuyi minerality for a surprisingly light body and immediately juicy, strong aftertaste that make this a unique and worthy tea. The large leaves are a beautiful sight as they unfold in a gaiwan or yixing pot.

 

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MEI ZHAN JIN

Though Mei Zhan varietal is usually used for making aromatic oolongs, the Li Family cultivates a small planting of Mei Zhan varietal, and have decided in recent years to use the large buds from their Mei Zhan bushes to make a bud-based Wuyi black tea processed just like Jin Jun Mei. Unlike Jun Jun Mei, made from the tiniest little buds, Mei Zhan Jin is made from large, plump buds. The floral aroma is very reminiscent of a Wild-Picked large buds Yunnan Black. 

 

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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!

 

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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