Verdant Tea

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family Collection

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family Collection

Regular Price $69.20 CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK

This bundle includes six 25g bags of Wuyi tea for 150g total (30 sessions).

Wuyishan is one of the most famous tea growing regions in the world, and true hand-crafted tea from within the Wuyi Ecological Preserve is incredibly elusive with a proliferation of imitations out there. That is why we are so lucky to be working with the dynamic award-winning Li Family, who have been visionaries in restoring biodiversity and forest cover within the preserve and leaders in oolong craft.

Li Xiangxi, founder of the Yangxian Institute of Tea Culture, works with her brother and cousin to finish deep aromatica and wildly complex oolongs, as well as traditional old-school black teas from their ancestral home in Tongmu.

This collection represents a classic tasting curriculum, spanning the most important flavors, textures and aromas to be familiar with in beginning to understand what makes Wuyishan so special. This kit has been put together to provide a foundation to explore the wider Li Family collection with a deep tasting vocabulary, and of course, to come out with a true sense of the Wuyi microclimate.

 Taste Wuyishan with the Li Family's teas: 

Rou Gui Wuyi Oolong (25g)

Rou Gui is known for its cinnamon spice, but in the Li Family’s capable hands, the cinnamon spice is bolstered by tingling cooling undertones and deep minerality. This Rou Gui is Li Xiangxi’s focus in all her taste training courses at her family’s Yangxian Academy, served to students and visiting dignitaries as a classic representation of what the varietal is capable of.

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Big Red Robe (25g)

Li Xiangxi's family grows this tea within the Wuyishan Ecological Preserve, hand picking every leaf and delicately roasting this tea in bamboo baskets over charcoal embers to bring out the natural minerality of the region. Li Xiangxi's eldest brother oversees the family's oolong teas, and believes strongly in standing against the modern trend to over-roast and cover the natural flavor of the tea. This makes the family's Big Red Robe unique among its peers. While Big Red Robe is named after five original bushes that still stand today in Wuyishan, modern Big Red Robe is made from Qidan varietal, which is known for its tremendous balance, and deep warmth. It is truly the archetypal tea of the region, and the place to start your exploration of Wuyi Oolongs as a grounding point of reference. The Li Family’s Big Red Robe consistently wins gold medals at Wuyi tea competitions.

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Mei Zhan Jin (25g)

Mei Zhan varietal is famous for its rich and focused fruit-forward oolong made from long skinny spring leaves. Recently, Mr. Li has been experimenting with a stand of his family’s iconic Mei Zhan in early spring when the plant puts out huge buds that are too delicate to withstand oolong processing. He personally leads the hand-picking of the Li Family Mei Zhan buds and brings them to the family home and workshop in Tongmu for Jin Jun Mei meticulous black tea hand-finishing. The slow oxidation in bamboo baskets brings out big savory notes and sweet rich honey and cream.

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Wuyi Gongfu Black (25g)

Li Xiangxi's family has been hand picking and processing tea for generations. Their tea is fed from a mountain spring, with plants between ten and one hundred years old, all grown traditionally without fertilizers or pesticides and picked by hand by the family. This Shui Xian varietal picking really shines with the Li Family's delicate charcoal roasting process to bring out the deep complex forest notes and minerality that make Shui Xian so famous.

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Jin Jun Mei (25g)

This 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.

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Jin Fenghuang Wuyi Black Tea (25g)

Jin Feng Huang Black comes from transplanted Fenghuang Dancong from Guangdong established in the mountainous rocky slopes of Wuyi. As in Guangdong, these plants are cultivated as single bush trees instead of hedges. The result is an elegant expression of the bright, fruity, complex and sweet flavor of Fenghuang Dancong with the deep mineral notes of Wuyi. Black Tea Xiao Zhong style processing tempers the naturally tropical fruit of Dancong and supports it with elegant wood. Because this tea is grown as single bushes and picked only once a year, the annual yield for the Li Family is very small. We are excited to share this small batch from the Li Family's tea gardens.

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"Praised by emperors
and immortalized in poetry across the ages,
the Wuyishan Ecological Preserve
is the cultural epicenter of tea.

My family has been tending to wild bushes and farming old tea trees
within the preserve for generations.

Living in a place of such natural beauty, we have come to seek balance
in our agriculture and balance in our tea. We preserve the natural forest cover,
we use beyond-organic methods, and we finish our teas by hand in small batches
- all to honor the gift of the place we call home.

I invite you to take the time to taste in our tea the deep complexity, rich texture, and intense aromatics
that define the true heritage of the Wuyishan Ecological Preserve."

 

- Li Xiangxi 李享熹

Our Home: Tongmu, Wuyishan

tea plants grow on the slopes above our family home in Tongmu
our bamboo aqueducts bring spring water to tea plants and our family home

 

  • the most famous tea region in the world

  • wildly propagated tea bushes

    grow out of volcanic rock

  • biodiversity strictly preserved

    by National Park designation

  • established old-tree tea rootstock

  • rocky soil and sweet mountain springs

    for intensely textural teas

  • wild foraged and hand picked tea

    accessible only by family and local Tongmu natives

Our Family

 

Li Xiangxi, her brother, and her cousin work together as a team to manage the family’s wild-preserve teas in Tongmu & old growth varietal oolongs along the Longchuan river.

Li Xiangxi is an ordained Taoist priest, and founded the Yangxian Academy to teach Taoist tea ceremony as well as a philosophy of tasting and growing tea that is in harmony with nature.

While many investor-backed farmers ignored environmental laws in the early 2000’s, tearing out native trees to plant more tea, Li Xiangxi worked with her brother and cousin to reduce the family’s footprint when she inherited the land, encouraging rich wildlife and biodiversity. This effort has made her family pioneers in sustainable farming and local champions as the whole region becomes more mindful of its future and responsibility as the most famous growing region in the world.

Li Xiangxi and her family’s harvests amy be smaller, but their care in agriculture and their meticulous hand-finishing process have won them awards and inspired change throughout the region.

Li Xiangxi and her cousin work with wild foraged leaves at the family home in Tongmu
Mr. Li in the family's Old Tree Shui Xian grove

Our Teas and Craft

traditionally firing Wuyi oolong tea
tiny buds growing untended in Tongmu

We believe that tea should be part of daily ritual.

We finish each leaf with the care that it takes to create tea with lingering aromatics, intense aftertaste, rich engaging texture, and the elusive yun, or after-sensation.

We delicately tease out the aromatics through an 18 hour fluffing and turning processso demanding that our family can’t take the time to sleep when tea is being finished. We devote ourselves fully to the process and see it all the way through.

When our teas' aromatics are just right we lock them in with another 16 hour hand firing, a nearly lost art that we are working to maintain to bring out texture and yunin every leaf. After the initial firing, we rest our teas at least a month and often re-fire up to five time for the perfect balance.

Our dedication wins us gold medals annually at Wuyi tasting competitions, but more importantly, it honors the gift of tea that this incredible region gives us.

Hear our vision for tea

We aren’t in this business for money. We share tea as a connection to nature and as a cultural bridge. We work with importer Verdant Teabecause of years of friendship and deep shared values. We invite you to explore just a handful of videosfrom our time together.

If you are buying tea from one of the most famous regions in the world, video sharing the voices of the growers should be one of the most basic minimums from any importer.

Learn even more!

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