FREE SHIPPING on orders over $65 International: over $250

"Buds of Old Trees" GuShu Ya Bao Purple Tea


One chilly winter day Lao Cha was traveling through the mountainous terrains of Yunnan. There, he saw many wild trees, some towering above his head. Although it was cold, the tea trees had developed shoots resembling those of young bamboo. 

He picked a few, started a campfire, and infused the shoots in a cup of boiling water. The taste was like no tea he's had before — crisp, filled with notes of wild berries, pine needles, and everlasting sweetness. 

Lao Cha knew that he only needed but a few to make tea that will last through numerous infusions, so he didn't hesitate to gather the Yabao buds before continuing on his journey. 

Ya Bao is a fascinating specialty tea. Some consider it a raw pu-erh, others for white tea. Sometimes it even goes by the name of "white pu-erh".

Yabao consists solely of tiny buds and has a light, crisp, and refreshing taste. Yabao buds are very young shoots that develop into offshoot branches. Usually, farmers pick them in winter and early spring. They dry the buds in the sun without any additional processing. Thus, their taste is quite different from other tea varieties and is undoubtedly worth trying.

The buds are very forgiving of brewing should you try this lush tea. You can experiment and try it in any way you like. For example, it's delightful when enjoyed grandpa-style, as the tea buds sink to the bottom. There, they continue to infuse the brew with their sweet nectar, void of any bitter notes. So it becomes a fantastic travel tea! The aroma is reminiscent of pine forests and the berries that grow there.

Ya Bao tea, harvested from the "Wild Purple Bamboo shoots" (Ye Sheng Zi Sun – 野生紫笋) varietal, is considered to have extremely low caffeine levels or even zero caffeine!

Ya Bao is often called “purple tea” due to the rich content of anthocyanin, the same antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that are blue and purple, for example, blueberries.

Zisun wild tea trees survive and grow mainly in the forests of Southwestern Yunnan up to 2,000+ meters above the sea. There, they coexist with other tree species. The excellent microclimate ensures that purple tea has thousands of years of cultivation history. The production process of this purple tea is minimal: only withering and natural drying. It reminds that of white tea.

Our Ya Bao's fresh and tender, bright purple buds are shaped like bamboo shoots, tightly wrapped. They produce a fragrant egg yolk-yellow tea soup when mixed with boiling water. Its tender and distinctive aroma contain wild berries' notes. The taste is refreshing and full of spirit. Being the first spring tea picked on this land, the Chinese believe it captures and stores the vital essence of spring in its tender shoots. Therefore it is a prized experience in early springtime.

Our Yabao comes from the ancient tea trees of Yunnan province, the home of pu-erh tea. Enjoy this tea as-is, or store it away for additional aging!

Mr.Young & Mr.Zhang

Mr.Yang and Mr.Zhang are two tea-making partners living in Pu-erh, Yunnan. They are knowledgeable, innovative, curious, and not afraid to experiment. Yang and Zhang specialize in making teas using cultivars brought from Taiwan. They also work extensively with the ancient wild trees that grow in the area. 

Place of Origin: Qian Jia Zhai, Pu'er, Yunnan, China
• Altitude: 2100m
Harvest Time: February 2, 2023
• Picking Standard: All buds
Aroma: notes of berries and forest
 Taste: sweet, with notes of dried fruits, berries, and prunes
• Caffeine Level: extremely low
• Varietal: Ye Sheng Cha Shu (野生茶树)


Brewing guidelines:

         212℉ / 100℃

 1g per 50ml   3-5min

     1g per 20ml   10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion 

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
hard to describe

It's like no other tea. I tried it for the anthocyanin and low caffeine--I drink tea for health benefits more than aesthetics, but flavor matters and I like this one. For a description of the flavor, read the other reviews!

Trent Thomson
Complex Delight!

The aroma of the buds before brewing (very subtle) is completely different than what the wonderful taste revealed (sweet, smooth, and full). Totally unexpected! My first few sips I was not sure about it. I sat my cup on the table and spent a few minutes with it, and afterwards I could not stop drinking it! This "Buds of Old Trees" really delivers a wonderful experience and provides several infusions. It is a joy to drink in the evening, as it has such a low caffeine level. A truly wonderful specialty tea!

Smooth, sweet and has strong Cha Qi

I was surprised to find this Raw Puer in America. When I put 6gram tea leaf in a warm 180ml Japanese clay teapot, the natural rich fruity aroma came out, I knew it should be a very good Puer and the right tea for me. The taste is smooth , sweet and fruity, just like the described, the aroma last for a long time in my mouth. Another surprised for me, it had strong Cha-Qi: after 5 infusions, I can feel warm, calm, pleasant, relax and peaceful, just like after 20 mins meditation.

Tea Friend Tim
Thoroughly enjoyable, easy drinking tea

Incredibly easy drinker. Brewed Gong Fu style, 6 grams with 212 degree water, 15 seconds first steep, +5 seconds for each subsequent steep in a 100 ml Gaiwan. The tea held up for 14 (!) steeps before its sweetness started to really subside. Of note, this was brewed with fairly hard tap water, and still had no bitterness.

The taste was as described — the first few steeps had a noticeable but subtle pine aroma with a sweet berry note. The flavor was sweet and berry like, with a very long finish. This transitioned to a more dried apricot and honey flavor on later steeps (around number 5 or 6) with the aroma also shifting to more subtle dried fruit scents. After steep 10 or so, the flavor moved into a mild sweetness, not necessarily identifiable but very pleasant. I feel like the tea could have gone for a few more steeps, maybe up to 20 even, but as this was my second tea of the evening, I was too full to drink more. As for effect, the tea produced a obvious “high” and brought an almost giddy feeling. It melted away any stress I had from my day, bringing an overall mellowness, happiness, and sense of well-being.

Bradetta Vines
Smooth and wonderfully surprising

Gong Fu style. Texture : full body and velvet for all 10 infusions. First mellow and not quite identifiable. 2nd the lingering sweet subtle fruit taste was noticeable. Slightly astringent 2-5 but not the kind that bites you. It was a comfortable astringency. Sweet but not sugar sweet. By the 5th - taste: pound cake that isn’t too sweet, smell: exposed tree not the bark, right after the rain. Liquor a slightly yellow, riesling wine color. The linger effect in the mouth was epic, body feels kicked in at the 5th and all anxiety for facing the work day was gone - but the energy stayed present. 6th my nose tasted it I swear lol. It was almost like that carbonated soda water feel in the nose without the bubbles. Really pleasant. The entire mouth and face could taste and feel this delightful tea and this is when the slight after taste of a mildly tart cherry kicked in. Kept shifting slightly until the last infusion. The after effect was stronger than the actual tea taste on 9 and 10. Amazing tea. I Highly recommend it!