Purple-bud (紫芽) Pu-erh tea is from Wenshan village (文山) in Jinggu (景谷) county in Yunnan province, where the mountain altitude is over 2000 meters.
Purple-bud Pu-erh tea is made from the tender single bud of the wild, purple-bud Pu-erh tea trees maocha. This tea is called three-color tea; this means the fresh buds on the tea trees are purple, the dried tea is shiny dark, and the infused tea leaves are green for the first one or two years. The purple-bud Pu-erh tea tree is actually a rare tea tree variety in the Yunnan large-leaf tea trees and is famous for its strong health benefits, high percentage of anthocyanidins, amino acids, and tea polyphenols.
Currently, there is still no road that a car can navigate to the Wenshan village where this tea was harvested. The JK Tea team must walk about 3 hours to reach this remote village. The spring yield of purple-bud tea is extremely low (around 100kgs) so the team must buy partial kilos from various farmers to collect enough of this scarce tea for a reasonable final production. Given this, collecting the maocha from the farmers is quite an adventure. After gathering a sufficient quantity of purple-bud maocha, the tea is pressed using traditional stones of the appropriate weight; this is good for the future storage and quickens the process of aging compared to a cake that is tightly compressed by machine.
In the current Pu-erh tea market, there are many fake purple-bud Pu-erh teas. Many tea merchants use the Zijuan (紫娟) or Zicha (紫茶 purple tea) Maocha and market them as pure, purple-bud Pu-erh tea to increase their profit margins at the expense of the consumer. The difference between purple-bud, Zijuan and Zicha lies in the shape, fragrance, and taste. But the easiest way to tell the difference is by the particular tea leaf shape. Purple-bud tea has no tea hair and does not have a saw-tooth configuration on both sides of the leaves; the Zijuan and Zicha do not share these characteristics.
This tea is an outstanding candidate for long-term storage. If the tea is aged for about 5 years, it will already start to demonstrate an aged aroma, sweet and thick taste. However, for a young pu-erh tea, this tea already has a very nicely balanced flavor profile. This is a must for any consumer/collector of artisan pu-erh teas.