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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 Rou Gui Light Roast and compare with Rou Gui Medium Roast, then move onto Tie Luohan and finish with Bai Ji Guan.

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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ROU GUI LIGHT ROAST

The Li Family grows their Rou Gui varietal in higher elevation above the Longchuan Gorge in the curves where mist settles between the peaks and protects the tender tea leaves from afternoon sunlight. Growing among wild bamboo, orange trees and flowers, this Rou Gui picks up a complex aroma. In contrast to their darker roast Rou Gui, the beautifully controlled light roast process preserves the natural flavors of the tea and the land.

 

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ROU GUI MEDIUM ROAST

While the Li Family often makes a point to stand against heavy roast processing when it takes away from the natural flavor of a varietal, they make an exception for Rou Gui. Because Rou Gui is so naturally spicy, a slow, careful and thorough charcoal roast brings out the spice and blends it with the minerality of the soil. This Rou Gui is the darkest roast the Li Family offers and it shows off their family’s award-winning skill.

 

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TIE LUOHAN

Tie Luohan (or Iron Arhat) is one of the four famous varietals that define Wuyi oolong teas, making it a very sought after commodity, with true Tie Luohan varietal in low supply. The Li Family cultivates a small amount of Tie Luohan on their mountainside plot. While some Tie Luohan can be overly roasted for a flavor that is almost smokey, the Li Family’s careful finish allows the natural complexities of the varietal to shine through for a brew that engages the whole palate and satisfies with a compelling, lingering finish that goes on and on.

 

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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.

 

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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