2021 Rou Gui Wuyi Black Tea
2021 Rou Gui Wuyi Black Tea
Crafted By the Li Family
- DATE OF PICKINGSpring 2021
- Wuyishan Ecological PreserveWuyishan, Fujian
- Rou GuiTea Varietal
Rou Gui is one of Wuyishan’s most famous and sought after varietals, and one of the Li Family’s most awarded teas. Rou Gui is known for so transparently showcasing the terroir, the unique microclimate, of specific subregions within the Wuyishan Ecological preserve. The Li Family took the audacious step this year of setting aside a portion of their widely-respected award-winning Rou Gui and trying an experimental new finish, allowing the tea to slowly sun-oxidize into a black tea instead of going through traditional oolong finishing. The result is a stunning but extremely-limited harvest of spice and mineral-driven Rou Gui black tea, bolstered by an intensely creamy backbone and a building oolong-like aftertaste. They’ve achieved the nuance and staying power of an oolong but with the honeyed allure of a black tea.
- truespice90cinnamon, ginger, rosewoodtruefloral60peonytruesavory60rye, toasted ricetruefruit40papayatrueminerality, lingering aftertaste
- spice - cinnamon, ginger, rosewood
- floral - peony
- savory - rye, toasted rice
- fruit - papaya
- texture - minerality, lingering aftertaste
the Li Family also recommends
- 2022 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.
- 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.
- 2022 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.
'The Wuyishan Ecological Preserve was shaped by ancient volcanoes, giving it a mix of extremely rocky and sandy soil. This soil contributes to the flavor of the region’s tea though regulating water drainage and encouraging deeper roots, as well as through its mineral-rich mix of nutrients the tea absorbs as it grows.'
- 56-820520 seconds5562056 seconds2512room temp8 hours
oz.use 205° watersteep 20 secondsresteep many times
add 5 sec. each infusion
Gongfu5 g.6 ozuse 205° watersteep 6 seconds
add 2 sec. per steepingenjoy many steepings
oz.use room temp. waterrefrigerate overnight
8 hoursadd ice & enjoy