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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 “Yan” – the cliffs of Wuyishan – with four teas that exemplify Wuyi’s signature rocky texture. The emphasis on texture rather than flavor or aroma tasting kit makes this a great illustration of Wuyi oolong’s mineral Yan texture and mouthfeel.

 

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Taste Li Xiangxi’s YAN Collection

This tasting kit focuses on the aspect of “Yan” or Wuyi oolong’s signature rocky texture. It brings together five teas that exemplify the “mineral” aspect of Wuyishan’s famous rock oolong teas. Taste the rocky Shui Xian and compare with the famous Bai Ji Guan, then move onto the buddy Mei Zhan Jin and finish with perfectly smoked and beautifully balanced Wild Smoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong foraged from the Li Family’s slopes in Tongmu.

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 unique textures of Wuyi Yan Cha.

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

 
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SHUI XIAN

Li Xiangxi’s family has been hand picking and processing tea for generations. They are lucky to have a mountain plot along the Longchuan Gorge protected from the elements. Their tea is fed from a mountain spring, with plants between ten and one hundred years old, all grown traditionally without fertilizers or pesticides and picked by hand by the family. This Shui Xian varietal picking really shines with the Li Family’s delicate charcoal roasting process to bring out the deep florals.

 

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BAI JI GUAN

Bai Ji Guan is a rare and unique varietal in Wuyi. The Li Family cultivates a small amount of Bai Ji Guan on their mountainside plot. This extremely light, beautiful, almost Dancong-like tea is full of the mineral notes that define Wuyi. It is thick and packed with unique vegetal undertones and florals. The Li Family’s careful cultivation and roasting means gorgeous giant light-colored leaves and a bright crisp brew.

 

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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. 

 

WILD SMOKED ZHENG SHAN XIAO ZHONG

Wild Tongmu Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is picked one young leaf at a time, entirely by hand, and entirely by native residents living Tongmu. The tea plants are wildly propagated by seed and left untended. This natural selection creates genetic variation and diversity between each standalone tea bush. Each bush grows between one and three meters high, out of cracks in the volcanic rock of the Tongmu mountains.

 

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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