Roy continues to send updates about his tea-harvest exploits in China. The latest report:
I went hunting up on the mountain last night and found a lot of outstanding Organic Purple Bamboo. I purchased the entire lot of around 40 pounds. The price is high, but it'll have to do. This is the best tea I've seen since our dragon well, so here's what's coming: 5 kilos of Organic Putuo Compassion to be shipped by express mail, 10 kilos more by ocean later. Mild, smooth with a gentle malty sweetness. The texture is light but silky, a bit of mild nutty chewiness in the mid-palate. Easy to prepare with mid-range-temperature water.
5 kilos of Organic Purple Bamboo by express, balance by ocean. One word describes this tea perfectly--SWEET! This farm fertilized only with organic compost and has chickens running around all over. The chickens loosen the soil looking for bugs and insects and deposit their own fertilizer naturally. The farm is moderately managed but nature has been kind to it. Combined with natural compost, it also grows the original varietal of Zi Xun cha (purple bamboo). Almost all other farms have gone on to newer hybrids and "improved" varietals that yield earlier with prettier leaves. This is clearly a case of man vs. nature, where man alters nature for financial gains (early harvest and good looking leaf fetch higher prices) and not necessarily for the better. This original varietal yields less leaf and a later harvest, which is perfectly fine this year due to the cold weather. The later harvest allows the plants to store more nutrients and the result is just Great Taste! Nature took hundreds and sometimes thousands of years to work out what's best and this is a perfect example. The remote location of the farm and the not-so-fast-learner farmer worked out great for us this time!
This Organic Purple Bamboo is sweet, nicely textured and without a hint of aggressiveness. Feel free to brew with a mid- to high-temperature range to bring out more flavor. Allow the liquor to cool a bit before drinking if you brewed with higher temp to enjoy the silky texture.
I am going off hunting again today. Wish me luck!
Later Roy followed up again with a brief note about his next stop:
Got to Hunan. Will try to make a little tea myself tomorrow. I am getting old and frisky...