09 Purple Bud Pu-erh tea

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Pu'erh Tea
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From JAS eTea

This purple-bud (紫芽) Pu Er tea is from Wenshan village (文山) in Jinggu (景谷) county in Yunnan province, where the mountain altitude is over 2000 meters.

Purple-bud Pu Er tea is made from the tender single bud of the wild, purple-bud Pu Er tea trees maocha. This tea is called three-color tea. This means the fresh buds on the tea trees are purple, the dried tea is shiny and dark, and the infused tea leaves are green for the first one or two years. The purple-bud Pu Er tea tree is actually reported to be a rare tea tree variety in the Yunnan large-leaf tea trees and is famous for its high health benefits, high percentage of anthocyanidins, and amino acids, particularly tea polyphenols.

Currently, there is still no road that a car can navigate to this Wenshan village. The team needs to walk about 3 hours to reach this remote village. The spring yield of purple-bud tea is extremely low, around 50 kgs. The team has to buy partial kilos from various farmers to collect enough fine tea for a reasonable production. Given this, collecting the maocha from the farmers is quite an arduous adventure. After gathering a sufficient quantity of purple-bud maocha, the tea is pressed by traditional stone, which is good for the future storage, and quickens the process of aging.

In the current Pu Er tea market, there are many fake purple-bud Pu Er teas. Many tea merchants use the Zijuan (紫娟) or Zicha (紫茶 purple tea) Maocha and market them as pure, purple-bud Pu Er tea to increase their profit margins at the expense of the consumer. The difference between purple-bud, Zijuan and Zicha lies in the shape, fragrance, taste. But the easiest way to tell the difference is by the particular tea leaf shape. Purple-bud tea has no tea hair or tea saw on both sides; the Zijuan and Zicha do not share these characteristics.

This tea is an outstanding candidate immediate drinking or for long-term storage. If the tea is aged for about 5 years, it will start to demonstrate an aged aroma, sweet and thick taste. However, I am liking it just as it is in this very young state. When brewed with some attention to timing, there is virtually no astringency and the lingering taste on the palate is absolutely wonderful. I think I am in love with this tuo.

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