Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 YS Yiwu Purple Tea

Most mornings at work I don't have the luxury of a full brew. Because I'm always staying up in the wee hours with tea doings, I invariably wake up late and have to rush about. Today I came in late as usual but felt I needed to stop time and make myself a proper brew.  Since two people I have known have passed away this month, I feel keenly that more than ever, your life is always now.

I've been diligently squirreling away tea at work for years.  Since we are moving in two months to newer but smaller digs by the waterside,  I've been trying to clear out the accumulation of a decade a little each day.    The tidy photo of my tea station is quite misleading.  In reality, I have three separate shelves and two different desks filled with various jars of honey, chocolates, tea, beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit,  miscellaneous hardware, and unreported travel receipts- all mingling freely and quite smudged with honey. 

I recovered a sample bag of the 2012 Yunnan Sourcing Yi Wu Purple hiding behind various  dianhong. I had completely forgotten that I had even bought this tea as I don't register samples in my ipad inventory program. But there's nothing like a pack-ratter's joy in finding something you want at the right time.

The first sips reveal this to be a pretty and refined tea like other Yiwus.  The expected astringency is not too bad even on an empty stomach. Wow- only $23 for a 250g beeng I think to myself- tenth of the cost of the 2010 HLH Yiwu Chawang and maybe 75% as good.  The YS purple bud comes from 20-30 year old plantation trees unlike the ancient arbor of the Chawang.

However like most shengs, this one is not ideal for work as it is highly intolerant to overbrewing and I had to sadly pitch a cup or two.  But still I was feeling quite cheerful to squeeze in a casual tea session at work today.  The brewed leaves are quite plump and I definitely will thrown in a beeng or two in my next order once I feel confident purple tea can age.

I went for my usual Tuesday run during lunch and I was surprised I could still feel the sweetness on my tongue.  Then I injured my gluteus maximus trying to jump over a low cement wall at Jack London Square.  I saw stars,  I limped along in pain, then the huigan disappeared.  If the huigan had persisted, I would definitely have gotten me an entire tong.


  1. They most certainly can. Anthocyanins aren't why Dehong teas might not age well, and purple tip tea (the leaves that get purple when hit by alot of uv rays) have been around forever. I would not doubt those guys ages. The only thing with the Yiwu purple is that the varietal itself, like the Dehong, does not age well. That's unlikely, given how close to normal these tea leaves are.

  2. This was the first (and only so far) sheng pu erh I have tasted, and loved it. I've ordered a few other (different) cakes from YS, hopefully the purple tips don't make this too extremely different that those would prove a disappointment to my taste.

  3. Ha, did not notice this post. You're writing like a gatling gun!

    I myself do like the YS Yi Wu Purple tea serie a lot. The 2010 edition was the only tea so far where I bought 20+ cakes. I'll send you a bit. And a bit of the 2011 if I still have it.

    I agree that the astringency is not a problem. Actually, I did not find many purple teas that were bitter.

    Also, it shows that plantation tea (especially from Yiwu) does not have to be bad at all. I guess that the issue is with overharvesting plantations, not with the plantations themselves. And if Scott found a plantation where they do not rape their trees daily, there is no reason why the tea would not be good.

    Nevertheless, I think that the HLH Chawang has a different point than the Yi Wu purple teas. If one zooms at the qualities of Purple tea, the Chawang is not much better in these disciplines indeed (I actually think the Chawang does not taste this interesting). But the energy of the Chawang felt much stronger to me. But it is generally a personal thing indeed.

    1. 20+ cakes!!! Is that 3 tongs!@!@#!!!! Can you check again?

      Last week I was having the 06 Haiwan purple and it was still quite juicy which gave me hope that purples do age reasonably.


    2. Yes, they were particularly cheap at the time, so it did not cost that much anyway :) Actually, I wanted to buy only two tongs, but the fate has bestowed three tongs on me and so I thought "allright" :) One tong is gone already, so after a year and half, I have the two tongs I wanted initially.

      I can not speak of purple sheng in long term as I am not aware of any purple sheng from 90s or earlier, but I am very happy what is happening with purple teas in span of several years.