Results: Distinct flavor and beautiful pink liquor are worth trying. Don’t forget to add a squeeze of lemon and watch the color brighten up.
Vendor: Yunnan Sourcing
(use either of my links above for $5.00 of your first order)
Type: Green (Zi Juan purple varietal)
Origin: Spring 2018, Lancang County, Yunnan Province, China
Tasting: 5g / 175°/ 150ml / R10, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 (seconds)
Gong-Go Gear: Gourmia GTP9815 (get yours via my Amazon Affiliate Link)
Average number of infusions: 5
I was really excited about trying this tea. Purple teas are something new for me and this one looked interesting.
A product of Lincang County, the area is well known for its fine pu’erh and moonlight white teas. The Jing Mai mountains are particularly known for producing some of the finest teas in the area.
Unlike white/green/black, purple teas are not a new type but rather a varietal that has red to purple colored leaves. The chemical producing this color is a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Blueberries, for example, are high in anthocyanin and the glorious colors of fall leaves also can be attributed to them. They also have a protective role such as against cold and the reason my tomato plants look red rather than green right now ( the nights are cold in the desert this winter).
These distinct teas can occur both naturally and bred for this distinct coloring. Here is what Yunnan Sourcing has to say on the subject:
Purple Beauty, on the other hand, is the result of human cultivation.
The tea community first began to notice the Purple Bud variant at Wuyi Shan. Purple Bud has long been known as a scattered deviation that grows extensively among different kinds of tea plants. It is most common in summer tea. High anthocyanin content provides its purple color. It also results in a bitter flavor, which has given the purple buds a reputation as unsuitable for tea.
I do have to say that I got “NO” bitterness from this tea at all and tried a number of different infusions attempting to get the flavor just right for my personal taste. There are also some wild health claims out there, especially coming out of Africa regarding purple teas, but a brief search couldn’t find any scientific research to support them.
There is also a neat trick you can do with this tea and is a great way to get kids interested in tea – add lemon and the color changes. In the two images below, the one on the left had lemon juice added that really brought out the unique color of the tea (my camera didn’t do it justice, sorry).
Regrettably, the flavor didn’t strike my fancy. I tried three different rounds, changing up the leaf volume, the water temp, and steep times but couldn’t get past a taste that is very difficult to describe. In the end, I went gong fu style. The flavor of spinach is predominant, but it wasn’t until I had a mango sorbet that it clicked. For me, the tea tasted like a combination of mango and spinach resulting in a strange chemical flavor that I didn’t care too much for. I will say though, that I found the flavor much improved with a squeeze of lemon. I should also add that I have another black style purple tea that I absolutely love (review coming soon). While I didn’t care so much for this tea, if you’re looking for a green that isn’t bitter, this might be the one for you.
faint musty forest
lovely pink grapefruit (deeps w/lemon juice)
strange spinach/mango combo
juicy, not drying at all
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 1 :
unique vegetal spinach/mango & some peppercorn
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 2 – 3:
flavor rounded out and not quite as strange / a squeeze of lemon was a big improvement
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 4 – 5:
Lost all flavor & a touch drying on the mouth