100g “Emily” Mabian Purple White 馬邊小葉紫白茶

Heng Yi

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Bag Size:
100.00 Grams
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“Emily” Mabian Purple White Tea (馬邊小葉紫白茶, Mǎ Biān Xiǎo Yè Zǐ Bái Chá, "Mabian Small-Leaf Purple White Tea") - Mabian tea master Heng Yi has been producing various categories of tea from the wild tea plants of the Mabian mountains in Ya’an, Sichuan, for many years. Among these wild plants he has distinguished some 20 “races” - these are not cultivated plants, nor are they clones, so they can’t be considered proper varietals. But based on shared phenotypic characteristics such as leaf shape, serration, and in this case color, he has begun experimenting with processing batches of tea sourced from a single “race” of plants. The first of these experiments was with the easily-distinguished purple plants, which his mother processed into a green tea that he calls Xiǎo Yè Zǐ Chá 小葉紫茶 ("Small Leaf Purple Tea”), to distinguish it from the large-leaf purple cultivar Zǐ Juān 紫娟 (“Purple Grace”) grown in Yunnan. We call it Esmeralda, which would make this white tea essentially a white version of Esmeralda. We decided that the name Emily was like a white version of Esmeralda, and it just so happens that West China Tea Company’s first headquarters was a room in the home of one Emily Clementine, a jeweler and the owner of Clementine & Co. Jewelry (now based in Santa Fe). In addition to holding many events together and producing tea leaf necklaces with her, she is also an accomplished tea pourer. When I messaged her to tell her we were naming a tea after her, and explained the story, she revealed that she had a turtle (which is her totem) for 7 years named Esmeralda, a red-eared slider who was in fact probably male. Beyond the layers of serendipity, this tea produces a rich, sweet liquor with the robust purple pungency associated with Esmeralda; on the fruity side of woody, like an aged Mabian white, but with a sherbet-like depth.