Li Xiangxi likes to group by tea type in tastings. She recommends trying the black teas together. Start with her Black Buds Jin Jun Mei, to taste the way downy buds affect the flavor and texture. Then move on to the smoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Take a break before starting on the oolongs. Begin your oolong tasting with the Li Family’s classic Big Red Robe before moving to the Shui Xian and finishing with the beautifully aromatic Qilan.
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.