Review of Purple Needle Black Tea of Jing Mai Mountain

8 of 105 of 55 of 594 of 100

This tea was quite different, especially relative to other Chinese teas. I enjoyed it a lot.

The dry leaf of this is long and straight, and has a mild aroma that is unlike most Yunnan teas: mostly fruity, and smelling more like grape than anything else, with some herbaceous, skunky undertones. It is reminiscent of some Darjeelings more than any Chinese teas I've had. The mildness of the aroma of the dry leaf is misleading: I initially thought this tea wouldn't be as aromatic as it was, but upon brewing it really comes alive.

The brewed cup smells a lot like the dry leaf, but just stronger, a combination of a grape-like frutiness with skunky herbaceous notes. Brews a dark but relatively clear cup. More astringent than I had expected, but I find the astringency pleasant and refreshing. Overall, very Darjeeling-like in character, but I find I like drinking it more than I do most Darjeelings. In particular, I liked how I felt after drinking it, which is unusual as for some reason, I tend not to feel great after drinking most teas that have a strong grape-like aroma.

Resteeps exceptionally well. Not only is the resteep full-bodied and balanced, but it is also aromatically complex. I actually liked the resteep better than the original cup, regardless of how I brewed it; there were some wintergreen notes in the aroma that only came out in the second cup. The second cup also had a more peppery finish, which I also enjoyed. I also found this tea forgiving and easy to brew; the leaves are slow to infuse so it is easy to brew it to whatever strength you desire.

Price is fantastic. I can't get over how reasonable the prices are from Yunnan Sourcing. This tea is better than a lot of stuff I've had for twice the price or more.

I recommend this tea to anyone who wants a change of pace; I especially recommend it to people who enjoy both Yunnan and Darjeeling teas as it combines the characteristics of more typical teas from both of these regions.

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