History: The Discovery of Purple Tea
In 1985 a group of researchers went deep into the forests of Yunnan with an ambitious goal: to uncover and isolate a rare type of tea tree characterised by purple leaves. Since the 50s several farmers have reported to have seen unusual purple tea trees. Yet, they've never been confirmed by scientists. Finally, 1985 was year of breakthrough and the existence of these tea trees are finally confirmed.
Research followed and the experts were astonished by how unique and different the flavours were relative to the common Yunnan large leaf cultivar. Besides just celebrating this ‘shennong’ like discovery moment, the leaves of this purple cultivar turned out to produce amazingly beautiful aromas. Teas made from this cultivar today is known as ‘zi juan’ (紫娟) which literally means ‘purple beauty’.
Till today, purple tea is still rare. It’s not a mainstream tea, but there are definitely some hardcore fans out there, who love the intense aroma it offers.
Our Tasting Notes
The colour of the cake is characterised by dark purplish leaves that turn dark green when steeped. It brews a tea liquor that is yellow with purplish hues.
When sipping this tea, you’ll enjoy a smooth mouthfeel that effectively quenches your thirst. There is a long lasting hui gan (aftertaste). Due to the young age of this purple tea there’s still a slight, but still enjoyable, level of bitterness.
Nevertheless, this purple cake is delicious to enjoy right now, and has great potential for further aging, allowing it to also obtain more ‘cha qi’ (tea energy). We highly recommend to purchase one for now and a second cake to revisit the flavour a few years down the road.
Health Benefits: Anthocyanin
For a delicious tea like this, discussing health benefits might be a bit off topic. Yet, it’s worth to mention that purple zi juan tea contains a multiple of anthocyanins (a type of polyphenol) relative to other teas. In fact, we’ve seen sources stating between 30 to 100 times more. The presence of high amount of anthocyanins is especially visible during processing: when frying the leaves, one has to move and stir fast, in order to avoid the leaves to stick to the pan.
Anthocyanins is an excellent antioxidant that prevents against heart disorders, eye problems, UV damage and improves skin elasticity. Though preliminary findings regarding this relatively new tea, further academic studies are needed to further confirm the findings.
|Steeping time||2 min|
|Steeping temperature||100 °C - 212 °F|
|Leaves per 500ml / 17oz teapot||5 gram|
|Tablespoons / 500ml (17 oz)||n/a|
|Tea Caffeine Content||high|
|Tea Region||Puer Village|
|Tea in Chinese||紫娟|