This tea is an enigma. The leaves are purple from anthocyanins, Butiki calls it an oolong, and while the leaves are shaped like oolong, the brewing recommendation is 170F. That’s considerably lower than usual for an oolong, almost as low temperature as some delicate green teas. I can say from experience that brewing it any warmer than this does make some bitterness emerge. The liquor color reminds me of plum wine, mostly peach or a subtle orange from the meat of the fruit, but with a slight rosy purple tinge from the dark purple flesh. This tea does not brew purple, but it is ever so slightly more pink or violet tinged than a usual oolong tea. The leaves are certainly a deep eggplant color.
The flavor seems plum as well, with subtle lingering notes of tangy red berries like raspberry and floral overtones. There’s an undertone of wood and green bean like you might expect from some Chinese green teas, but it is subtle and secondary to the sweet flavors. There’s a very subtle hint of cinnamon if you let the tea cool a bit.
Unfortunately, the taste overall is not quite as clean as it could be. It leaves a bit of a dry feeling in the mouth, though if you brew it lightly it isn’t overpowering.
EDIT: I have taken some more time getting to know this tea and developing a proper gongfu brewing method for it. It took a bit of experimenting, but I’ve found a good formula to be 2.5g per 100ml for 45 seconds at 170F. Add 15 seconds to repeated infusions. Going by this method, I was able to get MUCH fruitier and more floral notes out of this tea, barely any of the vegetal flavor. The sweet and mild woodiness was still there, reminding me of rooibos or honeybush. I’ve raised my rating of this tea quite a bit since the initial review because a lot of really unique and nice qualities have emerged since I figured out a good gongfu method. I would definitely recommend this tea to any tea enthusiast, as it is unique to try this purple-leafed tea. It really helps you explore the world of tea. My only qualm is that the ending notes of flavor just aren’t all that clean. They’re a bit dark, earthy and dry. It’s not a bad thing, per se, but not terribly common in high quality teas. To me a quality tea has a clean finish. Still, the front end flavors of this one are so lush that I find myself coming back for more.
Flavors: Berries, Flowers, Plums, Wood