Aged & Rested

JingMai Purple Leaf Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh

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Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh

 

JingMai Purple Leaf Sheng Pu-erh

 

Appearance: long, dense, dark colored leaves with a purplish /black tinge
Flavor: sweet, woodsy; forest-floor flavor
Aroma: lush, herbaceous, complex aroma. We detected notes of Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary and marjoram and a little menthol mint and celery seed.
Liquor: pale amber color in the cup

 

JingMai Mountain
Lincang County, Pu-erh (Simao) Prefecture
Yunnan Province, China

2016 Spring Pluck
(2-years rested)

Note on Steeping Pu-erh:

 

Mao cha is traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped.
This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. This rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping.
Use additional, appropriately-heated water for the 1st steeping and subsequent re-steepings.

 

Western-style steeping in a medium-large sized teapot 20-32 ounces:

 

This is not a recommended method

 

Asian-style steeping in a small teapot under 10 oz or in a gaiwan:

 

Use 1 Tablespoon or 3 grams of tea per 6 oz water
Use water that is 185°F-195°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 30 seconds
Add additional hot water and steep 2nd infusion for 45 seconds
Increase the steeping time an additional 5-10 seconds with each additional infusion
Expect to re-steep this leaf  3-4 additional times

 

For best enjoyment, this tea should be steeped short or Asian-style.

 

We suggest:

 

3 grams or 1.5 Tablespoons leaf to 6 ounces water
a quick rinse of the leaf
one 30 second 1st infusion
one 40 second 2nd infusion
an additional 5/10 seconds for each subsequent infusion

 

Coming soon!

Unlike most other tea, Pu-erh is made from mao cha and not directly from fresh leaf.

So what is mao cha? Mao cha is a simple ‘rough’ manufacture of leaf materials that consists of:

 

plucking
withering (indoors and or outdoors)
firing
rolling & shaping
sun-drying

 

Mao cha is considered both finished tea and half-made tea. It is essentially young sheng Pu-erh and is drunk by villagers in Yunnan as well as being the leaf that all forms of Pu-erh are made from. Mao cha is simple to manufacture but is complex in its diversity.

 

Mao cha can be made from the fresh leaf of one tea garden or be a blend of leaf from an entire tea village or from several tea producing villages within one county.  Mao cha can be stored and aged after it is made, or it can be a new blend that is comprised of aged mao cha from different years. It is found in a variety of leaf sizes, too, depending on the location of the tea trees and on the type of local cultivars (size of the leaf)  the mao cha was made from. Mao cha is a great example of the effects of terroir.

 

As you can see, the possiblities and resulting flavors of mao cha are almost endless. All of these variables result in a staggering choice of mao cha for Pu-erh producers to work with.

This sheng Pu-erh has dark, evenly-colored leaves – not the usual appearance of sheng Pu-erh. Upon first glance one might think it a hong cha (black tea) were it not for the clean, woodsy, sheng Pu-erh aroma. So how can this be?

This tea is made from wild arbor tea tree leaves that grow in the JingMai mountains that are dark purple in color both in fresh leaf and dried leaf form. The color is from an abundance of anthocyanin, a water soluble pigment that belongs to the flavenoid family of antioxidants. Anthocyanin gives dark blue and purple fruits and vegetables their magnificent color, and in tea, both this coloration and a hint of bitterness.

JingMai Purple Leaf Sheng Pu-erh is not a named cultivar or variety of tea tree but a local mutation that has evolved over the centuries in the vast tea tree forest of JingMai mountain. These tea trees give the fresh and dried tea leaf  this dark, rich color. The taste of purple leaf tea has as much to do with the land and the forest environment as it does the uniqueness of these tea trees, and the local preference for isolating out these leaf materials for separate tea production. Local villagers in various parts of Yunnan where these tea trees are found in the forests consider the color to be a part of the medicinal effect of this tea.

The JingMai mountain area is home to many tea-harvesting villages that protect the old tea tree forests. Some of the tea trees are under the control of Dai people and others are tended by the Bulang. The leaf for this tea was plucked before April 5th (Pre-Qing Ming 1st spring harvesting period) when the leaf was small and flush with an abundance of purple color.

This fantastic sheng Pu-erh has a lush, herbaceous, and complex aroma. We detected notes of Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary and marjoram and a little menthol (dry mint) and celery seed. In the cup the color is pale amber.

We have recently purchased an assortment of loose-leaf sheng Pu-er from various production areas because we think that these teas should become more well known and more available to tea enthusiasts. Sheng Pu-erh offers the opportunity to really taste the essence of the tea trees and the place (terroir) without processing technique getting in the way and modifying the taste of the leaf.

This tea has a rich and creamy taste and a very different sheng Pu-erh taste experience from our other recent loose-leaf sheng additions. It is also a different taste from that of our Yunnan Old-Style Purple Varietal Leaf Tea hong cha which is also made from a purple varietal cultivar.

Sheng Pu-erh has many tastes whose characteristics are derived from the location of the tea forest (terroir), the age of the tea trees, etc. Essentially loose-leaf sheng Pu-erh has a sweet, woodsy; forest-floor flavor and mild aroma. It is perfectly lovely to drink this tea now or you can put some aside to age and strengthen over time. But over steeping can turn this tea into a pithy and bitter beverage.

The Ancient Tea Forests of the JingMai area has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Site for its biodiversity and value to the culture of the people who live there, the history of tea production and the place JingMai has in the tea history of China.

Click here to read more about JingMai.

Prefer JingMai black tea? Please see our Yunnan JingMai Wild Arbor black tea

Note:
Sheng Pu-erh is also known as ‘un-cooked’ or ‘raw’ Pu-erh. Very simply, it is the non-fermented version of Pu-erh.
Sheng Pu-erh is non-fermented when young but microbial activity on the leaf will allow the tea to slowly ferment over time when the tea is kept under good storage conditions. Sheng Pu-erh can be drunk now or stored for years to encourage that slow microbial transformation of the tea into something rich and full. Similar to young French wines that will, over time, transform into much more substantial wines, sheng Pu-erh is prized by collectors and tea enthusiasts for this ability to age and improve over time.

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