Whether we’re out in the tea fields or at her Tea Ceremony school, spending time with Li Xiangxi is always a true pleasure. We recently went to visit her in Wuyishan to share tea together and prepare for November’s upcoming subscription box in our new CSA-style tea of the month club.
Above, Li Xiangxi brews one of the five new teas that will be featured in November’s box: Huang Mei Gui. Club members will also get the chance to try her family’s Bai Jiguan, Fo Shou, Jin Fo and Mei Zhan Wuyi oolong teas.
Li Xiangxi’s personal tea set is very simple. Instead of a giant, formal tea board or carved wooden tea table, she uses a small stone tile and a river rock to rest her tea tools, gaiwan and pitcher.
This more restrained set up helps bring focus to the tea, allowing guests to sip and taste without getting distracted by bells and whistles. This sort of set up is also simple for anyone to recreate in their own homes. Extra water and washes are poured into a large bowl, while a small towel is kept on hand to catch any wayward drips.
At her school in Wuyishan, Li Xiangxi teaches tea culture and ceremony. This include the basics – from rigorous taste training to the nitty gritty how-to’s of how to make a good cup of tea for your guests – as well as the particulars of rural Wuyi tea ceremony, and even the finer points of incense and how to play the guzheng (zheng)!
Biodiversity is key with Old Tree (Lao Cong) Shui Xian. The mosses that grow in a thick carpet under the tea trees also cover the roots and trunk of the 80+ year old trees, and even hang from the branches. The aroma of these mosses and other plants growing nearby (as well as their competition) helps give Old Tree Shui Xian it’s unique characteristics.
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