Dian Hong Jing Mai Purple Needle

Dian Hong Jing Mai Purple Needle is also know as ‘Zi Ya’, ‘Zi Cha’ or ‘Purple Tea’. Grown on Jing Mai mountain, this tea is made from a unique purple leaf varietal grown at high altitude. The thin, wiry black and gold needles produce an amber liquor that is juicy, smooth and malty with a hint of sugared plums and sweet citrus.

Brewing guide: 2.5g in 250ml water at 90°C for 3-4 minutes



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Origin:Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, China
Elevation:Jing Mai Shan, 1,100m
Cultivar:Yunnan Purple Leaf "Zi Ya" (紫芽)
Harvest time:April 2023
Sourcing:Specialist Yunnan Wholesaler


Dian Hong Jing Mai Purple Needle (滇红景迈紫針) is a characteristic Yunnan Red tea. Featuring a lovely character that is balanced and sweet, it has smooth fruity and malty notes, with a taste reminiscent of sugared plums! April 2023 harvest.

Dian Hong, literally Yunnan Red, refers to the origin and type of tea (red according to Chinese tea classification). Jing Mai refers to the location of this tea’s origin. Jing Mai mountain area (Jing Mai Shan) is located in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County under the jurisdiction of Pu’er City of Yunnan Province. Lancang Lahu Autonomous County has a large population of Lahu people. Communities of Lahu people can also be found in Myanmar and Thailand. There is a large number of villages in the Jing Mai mountain area and most of the villagers are involved in tea production.

Purple Needle in this case refers to the leaves of this tea (needle-shaped) as well as the fact that this tea is made from purple leaf tea varietal plants. This particular tea is made from a ‘Zi Ya’ Purple Bud (紫芽) varietal, which is also referred to as ‘Zi Cha’ Purple Tea (紫茶) varietal. Zi Ya purple leaf varietal tea plant is a mutated version of Camellia sinensis var. assamica and is spread across Yunnan at high altitude, accounting for 1-2% of all tea trees there. These tea plants have purple coloured tea buds and young tea leaves, which are the result of unfavourable growing conditions and act as a natural way of protecting the tender leaves from harsh ultraviolet rays. This purple leaf varietal is highly prised in Yunnan and is used mostly for pu-erh production with some very limited black tea production as well.

This Dian Hong Jing Mai Purple Needle has black long needle-shaped leaves with golden buds visible on many of the needles. The appearance of the needles is very delicate, wiry and thin. The amber liquor is very smooth and balanced. It is a little malty, with a fruity and sweet character. Pleasant notes of sugared plums and sweet citrus complete the taste.

It is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It should also be brewed 3+ times, slowly increasing the steeping time with each subsequent brew.

This Dian Hong Jing Mai Purple Needle black tea was first featured in our January 2017 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.