Verdant Tea

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family

Tasting Wuyishan with the Li Family

Regular Price $58.25 $52.42
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This bundle includes 25 grams of five different teas for 125g total (25 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.

This bundle includes four 25g bags and five 5g bags for 125g total (25 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: 

Hua Xiang Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong Wuyi Black Tea (25g)

While Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is usually smoked, the same leaf material and finishing technique can be used without the final smoking step. Hua Xiang means floral fragrance, referring to the natural but subtle floral notes in Xingcun Xiaozhong varietal that are brought out through the Li Family’s expert hand-processing. When smaller leaf material mixed with delicate buds is used, rich vanilla undertones can develop, accenting the savory nutty flavors. The main difference between this tea and a classic Wuyi Gongfu Black is that Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is not necessarily curled and twisted as thoroughly, giving it a more open structure suitable for incorporating that smaller bud and leaf mixture that wouldn’t work in the tight twists of Wuyi Gongfu Black, but both are very traditional calls back to the very earliest black teas in the world.

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Qilan (25g)

Qilan varieties is almost legendary for its deep luscious orchid notes and its subtle incense spice. The Li Family cultivates established 40+ year Qilan bushes on their rocky volcanic mountainside plot in the Wuyishan Ecological Preserve, letting the tea build complexity through biodiverse plantings, and carefully preserved natural forest cover. They hand-pick their Qilan and expertly bring out the florals through hand-crafting over a meticulous 12 hour turning and fluffing process called yaoqing. The careful and restrained roast on this Qilan really allows the florals to shine through, bolstered by the rocky minerality that the Li Family’s teas are famous for.

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Shui Xian Wuyi Oolong (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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Bai Ji Guan (25g)

Bai Ji Guan is a rare 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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Wild Tongmu Unsmoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (25g)

This special offering Wild Tongmu Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is picked one young leaf at a time, entirely by hand. 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. The result is beautiful long twisted leaves packed with textural complexity and minerality.

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Black Buds Jin Jun Mei (25g)

Xingcun Xiaozhong varietal tea in Wuyishan can produce black and gold buds. While the golden bud expression has been encouraged through cultivation for its stunning color, Li Xiangxi and her family often prefer the depth and complexity of black buds. This tea still uses the same tiny buds and the same meticulous hand-picking as their golden buds Jin Jun Mei, but with a more spiced and savory flavor profile.

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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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