Acquired through the Regional Group Buy. This is only for my second or third purple-ish tea. Still very new to me. I evaluated this tea as best as I could, and I tried to be as concrete in identifying the flavors I was smelling and tasting. I decided to first brew half the sample in a gaiwan and then then other half in an infuser mug.
120ml. No rinse. Steeping times: 30 seconds, 10, 20, 40, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 3, 5, 8, 12.
I had difficulty discerning specific notes in the dry leaf aroma. I wrote: sweet, cloves, grain-like, Cheerios. I let the leaf rest in the pre-heated bowl and smelled an entirely different aroma: tart berries, particularly blackberries and gooseberries. The wet leaf aroma is combination of the previous, smelling of pies made with tart berries, and of Cheerios.
The gongfu method produces a liquor the color of rose quartz. The body is medium, and the texture creamy, and the aftertaste consistently sweet. The tasting portion starts off sour – literally. At the second and third, the tart berries stay in the front of my mouth while the Cheerios note rests in the back. The fourth and fifth infusions are more grainy than sweet/tart. From the sixth infusion to the end, the liquor tastes sweet with a note of chard, the grain having disappeared entirely.
I found steeping the leaf Western method more favorable. This leaf is meant to be steeped this way. Steeping times: 3 minutes, 5, 10.
Two days later, I had an easier time picking out what I was smelling in the aromas. Dry: rhubarb, gooseberries, gooseberry pie. Wet: same notes, but the sweet- and tartness are stronger. I can’t tell what the liquor color is because the inside of the mug is blue. This time, the body is fuller. The first cup, at first taste, has a bitter grass notes, underneath of which is plum. As I continue to drink, the tea becomes more flavorful. The bitterness disappears, the sweetness completely takes over, and the delightfully fruity aftertaste lasts for minutes. The second and third cups taste lighter and not as flavorful, but are just as sweet, with no bitterness at all.
Additionally, I couldn’t find anything off-putting about this tea. Preparing Purple Leaf Tea the gongfu method draws it out too much. Consequently, its personality doesn’t shine through. I highly recommend to steep the leaf in an infuser mug like me or a larger pot. The leaf gives out so much more.