Jing Mai Zi Juan (Purple Tea Buds)
Sheng Puer Cake 357g 2015
The aroma and flavor linger in the mouth much longer than with other puer teas. The rich amino acids and antioxidants create a smooth, mild flavor that is easy to drink all day.
1 in stock
- Tea Origin
- Jing Mai, Yunnan Province, China
- Tea Bush
- Zi Juan purple tea bush
- Tea Master
- Mr. and Mrs. Hu
- Harvest Time
- Early Spring
- Picking Standard
- One bud with one young leaf
When Lu Yu wrote the famous first book about tea 1,200 years ago, he mentioned that the best tea bushes had purple tea buds. This type of tea bush was recently discovered in Teng La, a small region within Jing Mai in southern Yunnan province. The soil and climate of this area is perfectly suited to the purple tea bushes, producing a rich, floral aroma unmatched by tea grown in other areas. The aroma and flavor linger in the mouth much longer than with other puer teas. The rich amino acids and antioxidants create a smooth, mild flavor that is easy to drink all day.
The cultivar of tea plant used to make this tea, named Zi Juan, has especially dark purple leaves. Though most tea plants with purple buds lose their coloring and turn green again as they grow, Zi Juan’s leaves remain noticeably darker even when mature. Purple leaf tea plants have particularly high levels of anthocyanins, the flavonoid antioxidants which give them their unusual color.
To compress puer into cakes, the tea is weighed with a scale. The traditional weight was 357 grams, but now many factories use 400 grams. A piece of cotton fabric is placed inside a special 1 foot deep tin bucket that has holes on the bottom. The weighed, dry tea leaves are placed inside the fabric, enough to almost fill the bucket. The leaves are steamed for about 3-5 seconds at first. They place a one inch square paper that is stamped with the company’s logo on top of the cake, with a few leaves covering the sign. The next person sits in front of the steamer, and after about 5 seconds they will remove the fabric and wet leaves from the bucket. The dry tea leaves are transformed from being very puffy to a condensed 3 inches thick. The next person will quickly tie the fabric, making a knot at the end. They compress the knot into the center of the cake under a compression machine. It takes the perfect amount of pressure to push the wet tea leaves tightly into about a 1 inch thick cake. If you look on the back of a puer cake, you will see the indentation from the fabric knot. Some producers still use the traditional way of compressing cakes. Two stone molds, that are curved to match the shape of puer cakes, are used to flatten the cakes. Someone will stand on top of the mold and evenly shake their body to mold the cake into its shape. Factories that use this method will have one worker whose job is to compress these cakes. They must be a specific weight as to not over compress the cakes. The best cakes will have every leaf stuck together. They are not too loose, but are still easy to remove chunks of tea from them. The minor amounts of space will allow air to move through and naturally ferment the cake over years. After a few hours, the wet cakes are removed from the fabric and placed on wooden shelves. The cakes slowly dry for a few hours at a temperature of about 40 degrees celsius. Once the tea is dry, the cakes are sent to the packaging room. A skilled tea worker will use cotton paper to quickly wrap the cakes. They will fold the squares of cotton paper so there are exactly sixteen wrinkles. Clean, dry bamboo shells wrap 7 cakes together at once. Bamboo string is used to tie the shells together to secure them for transportation. This is the traditional packing method that is still often used. The bamboo shell will cover the tea from rain, but will also allow the tea to breathe. Bamboo is a very neutral scent, and will separate other scents from reaching the tea.
No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.
Jing Mai Zi Juan (Purple Tea Buds) 2015 brewing guidelines
How to store: Store in a dark, well ventilated area with less than 70% humidity. Less than 25 degrees C or 77 degrees F. Store in the paper or fabric, not plastic. Keep away from odors and fragrances.
How to infuse: Any cup, pot, or gaiwan made of porcelain, glass, yixing clay, iron, or other material will work.
1st infusion — Loosen and gently break off about 5 grams of tea from the brick for approx. 12 ounces water. Use boiling water (212 degrees F) and infuse for 2 minutes.
2nd infusion — Boiling water, infuse for 2 minutes
3rd infusion — Boiling water, infuse for 3-5 minutes
4th to 7th (or more) infusions — Boiling water, infuse for 5 minutes
Infusions: 7 or more times