I wanted to try Purple varietal red (black) tea, as it is an interesting cultivar. I have it from spring 2012.
This is a expertly fermented black tea was crafted using a wild tree purple leaf varietal from Dehong prefecture. This wild tree varietal grows wild in the mountainous areas west of Mang Shi town in Dehong. Ye Sheng ” 野生“ varietal aka “Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze var. assamica (J. Masters) Kitam.” is a primeval varietal that pre-dates Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica and is a naturally occurring non hybridized varietal. It is naturally bug repellent, grows wild in the forests of Yunnan at an altitude of 1600-2200 meters.
The package from Yunnan Sourcing took time to arrive, but teas were of exceptional quality. Package came from some Chinese village, not from a big city, more fun.
Dry long curled leaves are mostly very dark, but some are light brown. Wet leaves after rinse release a spicy smell of camphor and sugarcane.
1st steep at 97°C for 45 seconds: very dark liquor with spicy (slightly similar to some ripe pu-erh) eucalyptus undertone brave taste. Astringency is not displayed, but lays behind. A bit spicy sweet aftertaste. It is 1 year old now, and some complex flavor developed, as it is written on site. It was more straightforward at first, when I only bought it.
2nd steep at 100°C for 50 sec.: Smell and taste are more complex, full bodied and moderated, elegant, earthy and spicy. More pleasant to me. A bit of sour sweet licorice candy undertone. This is a taste of old wild tree.
3rd steep at 100°C for 1 min.: Camphor undertone, sweet and not a wild, but elegant taste.
4th steep at 100°C for 1 min.: sweet bold drink with camphorous undertone, lingering, with spicy aftertaste.
5th steep at 100°C for 1 min.: medicinal notes, with earthy additions. moderately spicy and watering sweet.
It is easily capable of 7-8 good steeps and more.
Spent leaves are red brown, like leaves of some heavily fermented teas, i.e. ripe pu-erhs.
Nice tea, but I’m not a big fan of red (black) teas this days. Still it’s interesting and inspiring tea for some special moments, when you want a cup of a red tea.