Verdant Tea

Wuyi "Si Da Ming Cong" Definitive Oolong Tasting Kit

Wuyi "Si Da Ming Cong" Definitive Oolong Tasting Kit

Regular Price $49.50 CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK

This bundle includes 25g each of four different Wuyi oolong teas for 100g total (20 sessions).

This kit is a rare opportunity to try all four of the Wuyi tea varietals recognized as the 武夷四大名枞, the Wuyi Si Da Ming Cong. These are the four teas recognized by traditional consensus as the most definitive representation of the flavors, textures and aromas that Wuyi oolong has to offer.

If you are interested in getting a glimpse at the aesthetic “standard-bearers” of the weighty Wuyi traditional this is the place to start. These four teas in many ways set the modern vision of the ideal, and their deep minerality, textural complexity and layered aromatics are strived for and judged against at every Wuyi tea competition.

With the Li Family’s perfectly situated plot of old growth tea within the true Wuyi Ecological Preserve designation, and their commitment to biodiversity in the fields and meticulous hand firing in the workshop, it is no wonder that their Si Da Ming Cong teas earn them gold medals year after year.

With such small harvests it is a rare event to have all four Si Da Ming Cong in stock at the same time. If you are interested in a foundational understanding of the quintessential Wuyi flavor, try these together while they are here.

 Taste Wuyishan's Si Da Ming Cong 

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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Dark Roast Tie Luohan (25g)

Tie Luohan (or Iron Arhat) is one of the four famous varietals that define Wuyi oolong teas, making it highly sought after, with true Tie Luohan varietal in low supply. The Li Family uses a meticulously slow hand firing to bring out the varietal’s natural qualities - a balance of minerality, chocolate notes and subtle florals. Delightfully, the tea finishes with cooling cedar and a light lingering sparkle that pushes towards yun.

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Shui Jin Gui (25g)

Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle) is one of the four famous varietals that define Wuyi oolong teas, making it a very sought after commodity, with true Shui Jin Gui varietal in low supply. The Li Family treats this spring harvest tea to a slow and subtle hand-firing to bring out the minerality that comes from growing tea in the mist covered rocky Longchuan gorge in the Wuyishan Nature Preserve without covering the natural fruit and citrus flavor that makes Shui Jin Gui so famous.

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Bai Ji Guan Oolong (25g)

Bai Ji Guan is a famous (though rarely-seen) and unique varietal in Wuyi. The Li Family cultivates a small amount of Bai Ji Guan on their mountainside plot. This extremely light, beautiful, almost Dancong-like tea is full of the mineral notes that define Wuyi. It is thick and packed with unique vegetal undertones and florals. The Li Family's careful cultivation and roasting means gorgeous giant light-colored leaves and a bright crisp brew.

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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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