The Tea Practitioner’s Zijuan Purple Raw Pu’erh | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

Every cup of tea is like an adventure, where every sip is slightly different. So, when I saw a pu-erh that was needle-shaped like a Japanese sencha, I had to see what it was about!

Description: “Zijuan Purple Pu’erh is a long, twisted leaf, with an interesting background.”

Instructions: 4 grams | 150 ml | 94°C | 30 seconds; + 5 seconds additional steeps | small teapot*  

Review: The “interesting background” of this tea is that the purple hue of the leaves is a genetic mutation where the younger leaves and buds have anthocyanin which produces the distinctive colour. The young leaves were then picked and processed into a raw/sheng pu-erh.

The long thin needle-shaped leaves had an indigo hue and it was not what I expected from a pu-erh. However, it did have the fermented, mushroom, musky earthy smell that I equate with pu-erhs. Since it looked like a sencha and the label on the packaging suggested using a clay pot, I used my shiboridashi from Secret Teatime because I wanted to see the leaves unfurl. The liquor quickly picked up a brown colour with an indigo tint and smelled earthy, mossy, musky and damp like grass after the rain.

Infusion 1 (30 seconds): After 30 seconds, it had light pu-erh notes – fermented, earthy, woody, mushrooms and mildly. After the sip, there was dryness at the back of the throat that lingered.

Infusion 2 (35 seconds): The 35 seconds infusion created a darker liquor and had a fermented, woody and faintly mineral and floral taste. The liquor had become quite astringent at the back of the throat.

Infusion 3 (40 seconds): The liquor maintained its dark colour and was mostly bitter and drying at the back of the throat.

After the 3 infusions, the dark green and purple wet leaves kept its straight shape and did not unfurl as much as I expected. It had a roasted, musk and woody smell.

Overall, as someone who is not a fan of astringency, this tea was not for me. However, I looked up anthocyanin and it seems to have astringency property to it, which makes sense given how the tea was! Despite me not enjoying the tea, I am still glad I tasted it. For anyone who wants to try a “purple” tea, a different type of pu-erh or is a fan of astringency, this is the tea for you (2.5/5 rating).

  • Type: Pu-erh tea
  • Origin: China, Yunnan Province, Menghai Tea Garden
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Tea
  • Company: The Tea Practitioner

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!