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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. Spend the Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black, then move on to the intoxicating Reserve Fo Shou. Finally, carve out space and time to carefully taste the Li Family’s Old Tree Shui Xian and Special Grade Shui Jin Gui.

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.

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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OLD TREE WUYI GONGFU BLACK

The unique flavors of Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black comes in part from mosses and competing vegetation that grow naturally on and around the old and untended wild bushes in Tongmu. That mossy, woody complexity is something younger cultivated bushes can’t quite capture. This tea is wild-picked from tea growing untended above the Li Family’s workshop, including bushes around 80-100 years old. This tea allows us to study terroir and better understand what makes Wuyi so special, and is unique for it’s Yun, usually not found outside of Wuyi oolongs.

 

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RESERVE FO SHOU

Fo Shou, or “Buddha’s Hand,” varietal has uniquely large, long beautiful leaves. This reserve harvest is a selection of fine early spring leaves cultivated in the Li Family tea garden within the Wuyi Ecological Preserve. Each leaf is carefully hand-picked and finished in bamboo baskets over wood embers. Fo Shou varietal is particularly juicy and full of temple-like incense aromatics. The reserve harvest shows off the best of the varietal while pairing bringing out the cooling tingling ‘yun’ sensation of truly fine Wuyi tea.

 

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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.

 

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SPECIAL GRADE SHUI JIN GUI

This is one of Li Xiangxi’s favorite teas that her family makes. Her family can only produce several pounds a year, but they are happy to share the harvest, insisting that this Special Grade Shui Jin Gui has the most exquisite aftertaste and that its texture is the best representation of Wuyi as a place. This true Shui Jin Gui varietal grows in the Wuyishan Nature Preserve fed by sweet spring water and protected by mountain mist. It’s Yan Yun is strong and impossible to miss.

 

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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