This tea is quite novel to me. I would otherwise put it into the category of Concept Tea. But I didn't, because I don't like its taste. But it's just me. I know some other people like it very much, and this tea is quite expensive as a red tea from Yunnan. Ha! Doesn't it feel good once you are sure you don't like an expensive tea and don't have to buy it in the future! :D
The tea is made from a newly discovered mutant varietal whose young leaves and buds are of purplish color. Here is a photo from a producer of this tea, comparing tea leaves of this mutant varietal and normal tea leaves. Instead of having a lot of chlorophyll as most plant leaves do, these leaves have large amount of anthocyanin, a pigment often found in colorful flowers of plants as well as some fruits. Anthocyanin in oolong leaves contributes to the floral and fruity flavors of oolong.
Dry leaves: beautiful...
Liquor color: beautiful...
Taste: floral... too floral, all floral... Normally I even like floral taste, but this is too much for me, too much floral flavor and not enough other tea flavors. After a few infusions, I decided I couldn't bear with this tea. Later, a friend visited. After treating him with a few other teas, I steeped the left over leaves from my pot and ask him to taste it. He loves it!
Probably this tea can work well when blended with some other tea to give its floral flavor. But I won't have enough tea leaves to try.
I also got a puerh sample made of this kind of purple leaves. Will try it later!
A little more thought about anthocyanin - a few weeks ago, a tea friend and I discussed a little on the cultivars of Sun Moon Lake red tea. I've got two versions of this tea, one is made from small leaf cultivar, and one is made from red jade cultivar (#18 cultivar). The latter one has become a hotshot in recent years and is a lot more expensive than the small-leaf cultivar. But for some reason, I like small leaf cultivar much better. I don't dislike red jade. But the floral taste of red jade doesn't blow me away. In fact, I don't quite understand myself. I usually love floral taste, such as what's found in Tie Guan Yin and some Taiwan High Mountain Oolong. But for some reason, I dislike Purple Beauty and am not too crazy about red jade. So I wonder if my taste preferences are largely due to the amount and forms of anthocyanins found in these teas.
2 weeks ago