Verdant Tea

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family Collection

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family Collection

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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: 

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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Sparrow’s Tongue Wuyi Oolong (25g)

Sparrow's Tongue, or Que She is named after the shorter, smaller leaves of this distinctive and uncommon Wuyi tea varietal. Sipping Que She is a strong example of "Yun": each infusion brings out more and more of an almost electrical tingling sensation on the tongue and back of the throat. This sensation is inherent to the highest quality leaf from older established tea stock growing in the right rocky conditions in Wuyishan, but it is brought out by slow low-temperature firing in bamboo baskets for fifteen hours at a time, resting several weeks and repeating four to six times. This sensation is bolstered by a caramel base with sandalwood aromatics and notes of ripe plantain.

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Chun Lan (25g)

This extremely limited offering is crafted from the Chun Lan varietal, rarely seen outside of Wuyishan. It was originally selected by Li Xiangxi as a reserve tea to share with our CSA-style tea club members. Hand-fired Chun Lan combines all the big orchid flavor of Qilan with incense spice and cooling yun. The "Yun" sensation in this tea builds with each infusion over time. After several steepings, this Yun begins to dominate as a lingering physical sensation that strengthens the growing mineral texture and flavor.

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Wild Tongmu Unsmoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (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 Jun Mei (25g)

Jin Jun Mei Wuyi black tea is one of the most labor intensive and demanding teas to produce. Fine Jin Jun Mei is made exclusively from tiny spring buds, and requires thousands and thousands of hand-picked golden buds to make a single pound of finished tea. The result is a downy tea with a thick full texture, and a beautiful elegance. Li Xiangxi's spring-fed tea grows out of rocky, sandy soil, yielding a rich mineral flavor true to Wuyishan's unique terroir.

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Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black Tea (25g)

The unique flavors of Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black comes in part from mosses and competing vegetation that grow naturally on and around the old and untended wild bushes in Tongmu. That mossy, woody complexity is something younger cultivated bushes can’t quite capture. This tea is wild-picked from tea growing untended in Longchuan Gorge above the Li Family's workshop, including bushes around 80-100 years old. This tea allows us to study terroir and better understand what makes Wuyi so special.

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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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