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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 advanced concept and experience of this Yan Yun (岩韵). Though difficult to put into words, the five teas in this tasting kit all share the undeniable charm – the yun – of extremely fine Wuyi teas that linger and stay with you. The emphasis on something that goes beyond simple taste, texture and aroma highlights what makes Wuyi teas so beloved around the world – something easier to taste and experience for yourself than try and put into words.

 
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Taste Li Xiangxi’s YAN YUN Collection

This tasting kit focuses on the subtle and high-level concept Wuyi tea’s Yan Yun. Though difficult to put into words, the five teas in this tasting kit all share the undeniable charm – the yun – of extremely fine Wuyi teas that linger, long after the tasting has ended. Start with the beautiful Wild Unsmoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong foraged from the Li Family’s slopes in Tongmu. Carve out space and time to carefully taste the Reserve Big Red Robe, and invite friends to share the Li Family’s Old Tree Shui Xian.

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 of Yan Yun that is unique to Wuyi teas, especially Old Tree offerings and reserve harvests like these.

Three 25g bags of loose leaf tea are included for a total of 2.64 ounces (75g.) of tea or 15 brewing sessions.

 

WILD UNSMOKED 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.

 

RESERVE BIG RED ROBE

This Reserve harvest is picked from older tree stock on the choicest slopes of the Li Family tea garden along the Longchuan gorge in the Wuyishan National Reserve. Her family carefully hand picks every leaf, using only the best of the harvest for the reserve offering. This tea is hand-finished in bamboo baskets over wood embers to bring out the rich deep flavor. This harvest is a great next step from Big Red Robe in exploring the tingling, cooling sensation of fine Wuyi teas that Li Xiangxi describes as Yun. Only several kilos are produced each year.

 

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OLD TREE SHUI XIAN

This tea is picked from trees between sixty and over a hundred years old. These trees are left mostly untended except for annual careful hand harvesting by the Li Family, allowing the trees to adapt to their mossy environment. This means more polyphenols in the leaf and more flavor in the tea. Because of the age of the plant, the roots go deeper into the soil, drawing nutrients from untouched land and water that has filtered further through the rocky soil and picked up more Wuyi minerality, creating a tea with compelling Yan Yun.

 

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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