Tribute Tea: Wild Purple Shoots Tasting Set
We are excited to offer this Tasting Set as a limited Special Release for our First Harvest 2022 collection.
This Tasting Set offers the rare opportunity to taste what an incredible effect craftsmanship has on the same tea leaves and what constitute a yellow tea.
Included in this Tasting Set are 2 servings each of the Wild Purple Shoots and the extremely rare Yellow Purple Shoots. Due to the very limited quantity, we are only able to offer the Yellow Purple Shoots in this tasting format.
Wild Purple Shoots is a highly regarded, however somewhat forgotten, green tea from the remote jungles of the Guzhu Mountain Range in Changxing, Huzhou. It was a favourite varietal of Lu Yu, the highly-respected poet and self-taught scholar who authored what remains one of the most important texts on tea ever written, The Classic of Tea, around 780 AD.
Yellow Purple Shoots
In the broad spectrum of tea, it is highly unusual to see the words “yellow” and “purple” side-by-side. The pause one will take at the contrast in its name is an indicator of how extremely rare this tea is.
Yellow Purple Shoots is an experimental tea, in that it applies traditional methods of craftsmanship – in this case, the already nearly extinct practice of making Yellow tea — to a varietal of tea not normally handled this way: here, the green tea, Wild Purple Shoots.
To make this tea, the first flush of Purple Shoots, a striking green tea whose early buds are a distinct purple colour, are foraged from wild tea plants that grow across several peaks throughout the Guzhu Mountains. On some peaks, 500 grams of fresh leaves were foraged, on other peaks, only 100 grams. It is a remarkable feat to amass the amount required to warrant the process of crafting this tea. These young, purple leaves and buds are crafted as a yellow tea in small batches, 100 grams each, by way of the patient and exacting traditional method.
Historically, due to very small quantities, this tea has been reserved as a Sifangcha or “Private room tea”. Today, it is not much different. This year only 1500 grams were crafted, and impressively, it was made entirely from First Harvest tea foraged before Qingming or Pre-Qingming.
The tea is fascinating to taste: references to popcorn turn into a caramel like aftertaste which lingers for a long time on the palate. But, perhaps it is best not to offer too much description before one experiences this special and masterfully made tea. We can, however, note that yellow and purple are complementary colours.