Pepper Leaf Puerh.


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Pepper Leaf Puerh.

Postby tenuki » Dec 31st, '08, 22:48

I had some today at NCTG. The leaves were a flat/jet black color, but it was a raw/green/shen cake. brewed and tasted exactly like the new shen it is. The taste was actually pretty good, but more floral and not enough huigan for my liking. it was also rather pricey.

anyone have more info on this 'pepper leaf' puerh?
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Postby hop_goblin » Dec 31st, '08, 23:34

Boy that is a new one by me. I have heared of Purple leaf but not pepper. Interesting.
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Jan 1st, '09, 00:15

I saw you mentioning this on the chat earlier...

I am curious if this was a new 2008 sheng or if not what year it was. Do you know anything else besides that it was a raw pu and what it looked like? I am very interested in tryng some of this stuff.
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Postby tenuki » Jan 1st, '09, 00:27

New Sheng. Grace said something about being from the top branches of certain wild trees. I was too busy trying to wrap my mind around a jet black cake that was young sheng. and no, I didn't get a picture. doh.
Last edited by tenuki on Jan 1st, '09, 02:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 1st, '09, 01:25

News to me, although coincidentally I have been thinking that the 2005 CNNP Yellow Label that I am drinking tonight has a definite taste of mild black pepper.
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Postby tenuki » Jan 1st, '09, 01:52

Pepper taste is a pretty common occurrence in puerh. this pepper refers to the color of the cake/leaves. they are black, like pepper.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 1st, '09, 02:06

tenuki wrote: they are black, like pepper.
Freakish!
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Postby thanks » Jan 1st, '09, 02:11

That's very new to me as well. If anything wild tree leaf sounds about right as the color is dark when young. Also older leaf will display this property and is seen in abundance among blends, obviously a more common occurrence with "lower" grade leaf blends i.e. 8582. Are the leaves still dark and large after brewing, or was it chopped leaf making it hard to tell the size?
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Postby tenuki » Jan 1st, '09, 02:25

The leave quality looked very good to me, and it did look like wild leaf. Like I said, she was trying to tell me that it was only the very top leaves on certain trees but I didn't catch it all.

To give you an idea, this was a new cake they only had a couple and was priced at 120 USD. NCTG tends to be 'in the ballpark' pricewise, so I'm guessing it is top grade stuff, or at least enough of a novelty to command those prices. After the leaves are brewed they take on more of a green color. That's all I can tell you unfortunately, which is why I'm asking. :P
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Postby thanks » Jan 1st, '09, 02:44

tenuki wrote:The leave quality looked very good to me, and it did look like wild leaf. Like I said, she was trying to tell me that it was only the very top leaves on certain trees but I didn't catch it all.

To give you an idea, this was a new cake they only had a couple and was priced at 120 USD. NCTG tends to be 'in the ballpark' pricewise, so I'm guessing it is top grade stuff, or at least enough of a novelty to command those prices. After the leaves are brewed they take on more of a green color. That's all I can tell you unfortunately, which is why I'm asking. :P


Ah, I see. I wish I knew more, but I think a lot of us are just as in the dark as you are. I'd say if the chaqi makes up for the lack of huigan, it might be worth buying to lay down for a while. Otherwise 120$ is way too much, wild leaf aside.

Asking about Pepper Leaf pu'er might be a good question to throw to a knowledgeable tea merchant. Especially considering I've never seen it offered on any English tea merchant sites, so you know they have no ulterior motive in answering your questions :)
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Postby puerhking » Jan 1st, '09, 13:10

I think hop is on the right track. I think it is purple leaf. Purple leaf is fairly scarce and comes from specific trees. The leaves with the most exposure to the sun are likely to be the purple leaves (if they are like other purple plants). And they look black when processed into a cake. It definitely has a unique taste and can cost more...especially in the hands of a good salesperson.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 1st, '09, 13:41

Here is something Scott wrote about purple leaf tea:
    [Certain] atmospheric conditions allow virtually all UV light reach the surface. In order to resist damage from this
    shortwave radiation, tea leaves produce anthocyanin, which can reflect away a portion of the UV light hitting the leaves.

However, I have 2 or 3 teas that are supposedly purple leaf and they are not black like what Tenuki describes, nor is the tea in the photo of the purple pu Scott is selling.
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Postby Wesli » Jan 1st, '09, 14:14

Yeah, I have the same purple leaf cake as Sal, and it looks a lot like a young sheng. Just darker enough to look "off."

I imagine it's possible that if every leaf used a truly dark pruple, then the resulting cake would look black.
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Postby Drax » Jan 1st, '09, 15:08

FYI, that's anthocyanin (with an 'a' in there) that's the purple pigment maker. Here's more info than you probably wanted to know.

In fact, on the discussion of the original of autumn colors (coming from absence of chlorophyll) the statement "While this is indeed the case for the carotenoids and xanthophylls (orange and yellow pigments), anthocyanins are not present until the leaf begins breaking down the chlorophyll, during which time the plant begins to synthesize the anthocyanin, presumably for photoprotection during nitrogen translocation" would suggest that the previous quote about anthocyanins would mean that purple tea was harvested from plants about to go dormant for the winter.

The funny thing, though. . . I think it was on PuerShop where they mention one of the purple pu-erhs has a nickname of a "triple tea" -- because the leaves are green when cut, purple when dried/pressed, and amber when brewed.

Sounds like a lot of vendor-bunk flying around.

Edit: eh, after thinking about this more, some plants *do* obviously produce this purple pigment before autumn (blueberries, probably violets). So... perhaps particular sub-species do this so that after the kill-green step, all the purple shines through? Hrm, if I were still in chemistry, I think I know what I'd focus my studies on. . . .!

Of course, that's assuming all of this was a horrible butchering of "purple" into "pepper".... :D
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Postby vibrantdragon » Jan 2nd, '09, 02:30

In early spring 2008 Yunnan has a late cold storm that ruin much of the leaves and changed many of the leaves. Some did turn very dark colors, from a not so good fungus.
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