The last new micro-lot of the year is something colorful and different.

Newsletter Archive Dec. 3, 2021

Looking closely at the black tea leaves of Zijuan Hong brewing in a pale blue-green gaiwan with its lid lifted ajar, accompanied by a full cup of tea on a wooden tray.
Brewing Zijuan Hong in our new Jingdezhen Bamboo Gaiwan.

This year’s final microlot is here. Behold the unusual Zijuan Hong Purple Leaf Yunnan Black Tea.  It’s available now. If you’re a Tasting Flight subscriber, you’re guaranteed a bag in your December delivery.

If you’re curious about these purple leaves, take note: this weekend we’re also featuring all other purple leaf selections: Zi Ya (Purple Buds) Sheng Puer Cake, Zijuan Gongting (Purple Leaf Palace Puer), Zi Ye Shu (Purple Leaf Shu Puer).

Tea plants, like cabbage, basil, blueberries, and other plants that come in purple, blue, or red, have the capacity to produce anthocyanin flavonoids. Anthocyanins are not only powerful antioxidants, they’ve also got a fun color.

So yes. Sometimes tea is purple and some tea plants are more purple than others.

Close view of a pile of purple-and-green sprigs of fresh tea with one bud, two leaves, and purple stems.
Fresh purple tea leaves ready to be made into Zijuan Hong.

In recent years, purple-leafed plants in Yunnan have made a sensation — not just for their color and nutrients, but for their flavor as well. These anthocyanin-rich leaves bring a distinctive quality to tea, depending on how they’ve been processed.

You may have tasted how these purple leaves bring a velvety texture to shu puer or a savory vegetable aroma to sheng puer.

In a black tea, these leaves deliver a dewy and dulcet infusion with powdery violet aromas. The overall effect stands apart from other Yunnan black tea, its fragrance more reminiscent of high-altitude black teas from Sri Lanka or Kenya.

Zijuan Hong is yet one more example of new and innovative high-end black teas developed by Chinese producers. If you liked Anji Hong, Drunken Peach, or Youle Xiaoshu, this is one more for your consideration.