This tea was yet another one of my forays into unique Chinese green teas. So-called purple teas, in general, are still somewhat new to me, and prior to trying this tea, I do not recall ever trying another green tea produced from a purple tea cultivar. If this tea is representative of all such teas, these purple green teas are very likely not for me. I can appreciate what this tea had to offer, but it did not offer the traits of Chinese green teas that I generally find to be most enjoyable.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted muted aromas of roasted grain and roasted almond. The rinse brought out a stronger roasted almond aroma as well as an aroma of cooked spinach. The first infusion then saw the nose turn a little more vegetal while something of a berry-like presence started to make itself known. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, roasted grain, cooked spinach, grass, and cream accompanied by hints of lemon. Subsequent infusions saw a touch of coffee appear on the nose with stronger berry tones and hints of woodiness. New flavors of coffee, blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, red grape, malt, minerals, wood, umami, and popcorn hull appeared as the liquor turned more bitter and more astringent. The final few infusions were dominated by mineral, umami, and wood notes backed by hints of grass, blueberry, roasted almond, and a late-emerging menthol-like quality.
This was such a strange and challenging tea. In terms of both smell and taste, there were numerous points where it reminded me more of a Dancong or Wuyi oolong than any kind of traditional green tea. The texture of the tea liquor was also something else. It was rather full-bodied, yet displayed an alternately grainy and slippery texture that made it hard for me to focus on the flavors it presented. In the end, I did not find this tea to be bad, but it most certainly was not for me. As mentioned earlier, it did not offer enough of what I tend to enjoy in a Chinese green tea, but then again, I doubt this tea was intended to compete with most other Chinese green teas. If you are into really quirky teas, this will probably be your thing. I, however, will likely be sticking with more traditional Chinese green teas for the foreseeable future.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Coffee, Cream, Grain, Grapes, Grass, Lemon, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Popcorn, Roasted, Spinach, Umami, Wood