Yunnan old-style purple varietal leaf tea

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190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 oz / 177 ml

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  • “Frankly any old-style, old tree tea and purple varietals are to my liking. This tea combines these two aspects. As one contemplates the dry leaf, before steeping it, it seems to talk of loving,...” Read full tasting note

From Tea Trekker

This tea is really spectacular!

What a glorious treat for both a Yunnan tea enthusiast and for someone who has never tasted a wild-grown, old-tea-tree-varietal Yunnan dian hong. This tea is manufactured from a very old varietal of camellia sinensis – the Ye Sheng varietal – which was identified and named even before the Assamica varietyn eastern Assam India.

This natural, local, indigenous varietal presents an argument for Yunnan being a strong candidate as the original location of tea as a wild plant. Grown around 2000 meters in altitude, it is a hearty tree that reflects the terroir of its forest habitat.

Starting with the dry leaf: expertly-formed large leaf tea shows an open, gentle twist. The color is completely unique – it is gray and brown and cordovan all at the same time and then there is an edging of a rich, dark reddish stain that is reminiscent of the color of burgundy wine in the glass. The wet leaf shows a similar profile, however the leaf takes on a modified hue.

The first prominent aspect of the aroma startled us – the dry leaf smells similar to our well-made yan cha! So, even though this leaf is from old tea trees in southwest China, the aroma of the dry leaf is similar to that of a mature-tea-bush oolong harvested in central China. There is complexity to spare in the aromatic quality of this tea: the allure of the earth-floor combines with mushroom and clean, dry moss teases the palate.

When steeped, the aroma adjusts and clarifies, bringing in the softly spicy notes found in RouGui yan cha – what tea enthusiasts call “tea cinnamon”. There is a dry, slightly minty returning flavor that is quite pleasant as it lingers on the palate.

This is an extremely rare tea and will not be available in any sizable quantity. TeaTrekker contracted for 10% of the entire 2014 manufacture of this spectacular tea with the remainder being sold mostly on the domestic market in China. It will improve with age for many months and should drink well through 2015.

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1 Tasting Note

3 tasting notes

Frankly any old-style, old tree tea and purple varietals are to my liking. This tea combines these two aspects. As one contemplates the dry leaf, before steeping it, it seems to talk of loving, careful hands that cut long, well developed but young and tender leaves in spring 2014 then processed them to a subdued cordovan color, delicately twisting them to come up with an exceptional flavor and aroma for my tasting still now in 2016. This is one of the longest lasting teas in the mouth that I have ever tried. The first time I steeped it, while meditating later on , I was distracted but its persistent taste. Perhaps it lasted almost an hour!
This morning I made two steepings for 3 minutes at 190°F and it is so smooth, so velvety. Nothing harsh, by any means. A full bodied, complex taste and, as I say, long in the mouth. A few hours later, I have made a third steeping at 195°F for 5 minutes and it retains its entire flavor, perhaps gaining in subtly—or is it because I am more awake now? I will later on do a fourth steeping— I have done it many times— at 200°F and for 6-7 minutes and it will still maintain a good taste level, although by this time, it will be less pronounced.
Tea Trekker is indeed true to its reputation which such a fine, very top-notch tea. They definitely have an excellent hand at making their contacts and choices. Their quality is very consistent, indeed.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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