2015 Wild Purple Mini Bing (紫芽生茶小餅, Zǐ Yá Shēng Chá Xiǎo Bǐng, "Purple Bud Sheng Tea Little Bing") - The trait of purple leaves is a naturally-occurring, random mutation that is found in populations of tea plants all over the world. Research and analysis in the late 20th century found that this purple color denoted the presence of anthocyanins, a class of purple and blue pigmented flavonoids. Anthocyanins are responsible for the color and “superfood” status of many purple and blue berries including blueberries, blackberries, and dark grapes. The appearance of purple anthocyanin pigmentation in tea plant is a rare mutation brought on by exposure to ultraviolet light at high altitudes. The discovery of the unique benefits of purple tea led to the emergence of a market for batches of pure purple Pu’er which became known as Zǐ Chá 紫茶 ("Purple Tea"). The relative scarcity of this purple tea and the time and labor-intensive process of consolidating only purple leaves makes it a high end, luxury tea. While the advent of Zǐ Juān 紫娟 (“Purple Grace”) has made purple tea more affordable in its cultivated form, Zǐ Yá Chá, 紫芽茶 ("Purple Bud Tea") remains highly sought after by connoisseurs for its distinctive character and powerful Qi. Our Nannuo Mountain Zǐ Yá has a bright, clean flavor with little to no astringency, a delicate floral fragrance and a comparable uplifting energy making it one of our most popular top-shelf teas. Due to its rarity only a small quantity can be produced each year, typically enjoyed fresh, Zǐ Yá also ages well and is available both loose for immediate consumption and in the form of 100g mini-bings for easy storage.
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This tea is by far, one of my favorite teas I've ever had! It is floral on the taste and not too bitter. It has a powerful energy that, to me and a few friends, is quite relaxing, and slightly intoxicating. One of my friends, this tea actually makes him so completely tea drunk that he can barely think normally, and ends up having a creative streak in his drawings. He usually requests this tea in particular when he needs inspiration. He ended up buying his own bing sometime after seeing the actual price of a single mini-bing. When brewed in a gaiwan, it's easier to make it bitter, but it still tends to be on the sweeter side of sheng pu'erh when brewed at around 5 seconds. When brewed in an Yixing teapot, it's almost impossible to make bitter, when brewed reasonably, and takes on an even more pleasant flavor than normal. I typically shove as many leaves as I can fit into my little 70ml teapot and just enjoy the extra strong steeping without it getting bitter. I love everything about this tea!