2023 Bai Rui Xiang Wuyi Black Tea
2023 Bai Rui Xiang Wuyi Black Tea
Crafted by the Li Family
- DATE OF PICKINGSpring 2023
- Wuyishan Ecological PreserveWuyishan, Fujian
- ELEVATION600 M
- Bai Rui XiangTea Varietal
Bai Rui Xiang varietal is named after the Winter Daphne, a heady aromatic flower native to China. Traditionally finished as an oolong, this tea always has a rich nuanced undercurrent of incense spice and cooling tingling minerality. This year, the Li Family saved a small portion of this reserve harvest Bai Rui Xiang to finish as a black tea using old-school sun-oxidation in bamboo baskets at the family workshop in Tongmu. The result is a beautifully complex black tea where the intense florals of the oolong finish take a back seat to the cooling tingling textural excitement this tea has to offer, along for a rich spiced brew full of Wuyi’s famous minerality.
- fruit - pear
- floral - rose, peony
- spice - nutmeg
- savory - fresh rye bread
- texture - crisp, sweet, vaporous
the Li Family recommends
- Hua Xiang Zheng Shan Xiao ZhongWhile Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is usually smoked, the same leaf material and finishing technique can be used without the final smoking step. Hua Xiang means floral fragrance, referring to the natural but subtle floral notes in Xingcun Xiaozhong varietal that are brought out through the Li Family’s expert hand-processing. When smaller leaf material mixed with delicate buds is used, rich vanilla undertones can develop, accenting the savory nutty flavors. The main difference between this tea and a classic Wuyi Gongfu Black is that Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is not necessarily curled and twisted as thoroughly, giving it a more open structure suitable for incorporating that smaller bud and leaf mixture that wouldn’t work in the tight twists of Wuyi Gongfu Black, but both are very traditional calls back to the very earliest black teas in the world.
- 2023 Zheng Shan Xiao ZhongThe earliest Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, (or Lapsang Souchong as it is commonly referred to in the West) was never deep-smoked. The smokiness was a natural and subtle addition that came from drying the leaves in a wok heated by pine wood. The smoke from the pine wood naturally mixed with the tea, creating a deeper and more foresty flavor that accentuated the tea's minerality. The Li Family preserves this old-school aesthetic with careful application of smoke from local resinous pine. The sweet, roasted quality of the smoke processing blends with the rich flavor of the tea to yield a dark fruity flavor, and bring front and center the mineral texture of the soil of Wuyi.
- 2023 Wuyi Gongfu Black
Li Xiangxi works with her brother and cousins in the Wuyi Ecological Preserve to harvest this propagated-from-seed Xiaozhong varietal leaf and process it using traditional heap oxidization techniques and curling to bring out the tea’s natural complexity. Grown on a hillside in a ravine that collects a pocket of natural mist all morning, the tea buds slowly, yielding an incredibly sweet brew. The tea picks up mineral texture from the rocky volcanic soil and the natural spring water running through the Li Family’s plot. Deeper complexity comes from the natural genetic variation of allowing their Xiaozhong tea to grow from seed instead of cuttings, creating a rich multi-layered taste experience.
'Wuyi is legendary. Any great Chinese art collection will be full of inkbrush paintings of the misty mountain peaks that make up Wuyi. Visiting Wuyi evokes the feeling of finally meeting someone that you have read about for years. The rocks of Wuyi aren’t just famous for the inspiration they gave to great Song dynasty painters. The true legends involve magic, and of course, Wuyi tea.'
oz.use 208° watersteep 15 secondsresteep many times
add 10 sec. each infusion
Gongfu7 g.6 ozuse 208° watersteep 5 seconds
add 3 sec. per steepingenjoy many steepings
oz.use room temp. waterrefrigerate overnight
8 hoursadd ice & enjoy