Purple Rain

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea
Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt, Floral, Flowers, Round , Sweet, Tannic, Tannin, Wood
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Edit tea info Last updated by Rumpus Parable
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 4 oz / 118 ml

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From Leaves of Cha

This purple tea is from one of the three unique purple cultivars. Called variously “Purple Tea”, “Purple Bud”, or “Zi Cha”, it is a naturally occurring mutation of Camellia Sinensis Assamica. It grows all over the Yunnan Province but accounts for less than 1% of the cultivated Assamica produced there. The purple (or russet in my translation of Lü Yu) color is a result of the tea plants producing anthocyanin to combat the humid summers and high levels of ultraviolet light at the higher elevations.

This Zi Cha is a delicious tea and is another example of the wide variety of black teas from Yunnan. I simple can’t get enough of purple tea.

Named in honor of Prince, who tragically passed away at 57. The rarity of this cultivar reflects the rarity of musicians like him. And, of course, there is the whole purple thing. Have a sip and reflect on the artistry of the tea and the musician. Better yet, listen to some Purple Rain or 1999 or whatever Prince musical incarnation suits your fancy while sipping this tea.

So far 2016 has not been kind to my favorite musicians, having lost Bowie earlier in the year (hence the Golden Years Yunnan Black Tea I carry).


Origin: Mangjing Village, Jing Mai Mtn., Lancang county, Simao, Yunnan
Grower/Teamaster: Mangjing Village Coop
Elevation: 1600-1700 meters
Harvest Date: Autumn 2015
Cultivar: Purple Varietal of Camellia Yunnan pu-erh tea, aka Zi Cha
Plucking Standard: 1 leaf 1 bud
Processing Notes: Fresh purple leaves processed into a flat needle style
Nickname: Purple Needle, Zi Cha. The “Purple Rain” nickname is a tribute to Prince, who crossed over on 4/21/2016.
History/Pedigree: Lü Yu, in his “Classic of Tea” says “Tea that grows wild is superior; garden tea takes second place. Whether grown on sunny slopes or in shady groves, the best leaves are russet.”
Brewing Suggestions1:

Water: 190˚-200˚F
Tea: 2g per 4oz of water (about a level 2 tsp2)
Infusion: 3-5 minutes. Two infusions at shorter infusion times.
Tasting Notes:

Stimulating mouth feel with hints of citrus, caramel, and sugarcane. Floral aroma.
1 Brewing suggestions are just that. Try it the suggested way then experiment. In this case I suggest first experimenting with the infusion time. I found the sweetest profile at 4 minutes. I do a second “1/2” infusion only on the shorter first infusion times as I found the astringency starting to creep past my taste preference on the longer times. Some tea drinkers like to use slightly hotter and longer times for each subsequent infusion.

2 Weighing your tea is always the best way to control your dosage. I provide approximate volume measures for convenience but they can be problematic due to the variance in tea leaf shape and size. It’s best to use the single appropriate volume measure for the tea, i.e., don’t try to measure 1.5TB using two spoons meant to measure 1 TB and a ½ TB. Use an actual 1.5 TB measuring spoon. Yes, they make them! I like the oblong ones to handle longer leaf styles.

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1 Tasting Note

310 tasting notes

Dark with that touch of acrid charcoal-black-burnt brown but it is way deep down into back of mouth and throat.

It has a medium level astringency that spreads across the entire top of tonue.

There’s a bitter, sort of rotting wet winter leaves, flavor that fills the mouth with it. While at the same time it has a lighter sweetness tending towards a malty feel and taste but not going there… just a hint that it could, but doesn’t. If that makes any sense.

That lighter sweetness starts during the sip in the back of the throat but higher up, just above, the dark acrid bit I spoke of. Then in the finish it moves to the upper half of the mouth with strongest at middle between front and back of the roof.

Id gives a deep and round impression. Fills the mouth, hitting multiple areas with the sensation of flavor. Causes production of a little extra saliva to pool at where the teeth and tongue meet in front, but not a dryness strong enough in mouth for such production from astringency level or style. Just an odd little texture and reaction note there.

As it cools a pink, a soft flower petal pink, takes up the place of the sweetness before and holds on with whites and pinks of light flowers into the cooler tea’s finish.

Hot ranging down to cool as I drink my cup the finish on it is very quite long and it is a tea that makes you want to take gulps almost from the way it leaves your mouth.

I bought this on a whim, being lured to the Leaves of Cha site by their post on the name and discount code in memory of Prince. I then found myself excited by the site in general’s mix of teas I was familiar with and more that I wasn’t combined with their very thorough info on their tea pages. Ended up grabbing a few things new to me.

I’d say this one was definitely for me and I’d recommend it.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt, Floral, Flowers, Round , Sweet, Tannic, Tannin, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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