Friday, October 26, 2012

Purple Tea of Kenya

I'm sure you've had, or at least heard of black, green, white, yellow, and red teas. But have you tried purple tea? I came across this type of tea on twitter, and had to find out more. The leaves are from the Camellia Sinensis plant, so it's considered 'tea', and not an herbal (like Rooibos). It is a tea varietal that is propagated through grafting, and not through the traditional seeding method.

The tea is supposedly rich in anthocyanin which gives it a purple tint. Anthocyanin is a flavonoid that adds antioxidants to the brew, and also astringency to the flavor. Because this tea is high in flavonoids, there are claims that it is 'healthier' than other teas.  To learn more about this Kenyan tea and how it is processed, you can visit Wanja's website. Wanja Tea appears to be the main company that sells this tea, although I also noticed you can also purchase it through Butiki Teas.

There may be a slight purple hue to the leaves, but if I hadn't read about it I probably wouldn't have noticed it. The dry leaves smell like boiled asparagus, but also sweet. Not as pungent as a black tea, but not deeply vegetal like a green tea.

The brew smells like a strong green tea. Earthy and quite vegetal. It reminds me of an over-steeped dragon well, but even more complex.  There are many different flavors happening at once! The purple tea is smooth and feels thick on the palate. It has a fall leaf crossed with a roasted Brussels sprout flavor. There is a lingering spiciness that is quite pleasing. It just may be me, but the tea has left a numbing/vibrating feeling on my tongue as if I ate a Szechuan peppercorn!  It also has a some bitterness. This tea is very strong, which would make it a good morning tea.

This is definitely a tea I'm going to add to my rotation, and not just because purple is my favorite color. If you prefer a mellow tasting tea, this one may not be for you. I recommend this strong taste for anyone that enjoys slightly bitter green teas, and robust black teas. It would also make a great iced tea, as it would hold up well to the ice.

Have you tried purple tea? Feel free to comment on your experience, or check out the Tea Happiness facebook page and discuss!

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