What is Purple Tea?
Purple tea is a new category of tea! Produced from the camellia sinensis tea plant, purple tea is a cousin to black, green, white, and oolong teas and represents a unique, newly discovered variety of tea. Purple tea is extremely high in antioxidants, containing nearly twice the amount of antioxidants present in other types of tea. Today, purple tea is primarily grown in Kenya, and is quickly growing in popularity as more people discover this unique new varietal of tea. Purple tea is truly unique, with a subtle flavor and amazing health benefits that you won’t want to miss out on!
Purple Tea: From India to Kenya
While tea has been grown for thousands of years in countries like China and India, purple tea is a relative newcomer to the tea world, having only been discovered a few decades ago. Purple tea has only been available commercially for a few years, and is still a rarity in many tea shops.
Just like other varieties of tea, purple tea is produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Most teas are produced from one of two varietals of the camellia sinensis plant, either camellia sinensis sinensis or camellia sinensis assamica. Black, green, white, oolong, pu-erh, and purple teas all come from the same plant, and vary primarily due to their specific varietal, when and where they are harvested, and how they are processed. While most tea plants produce dark green leaves, purple tea is made from a rare, newly discovered purple-leafed varietal of the tea plant. These plants were found growing wild in the Assam region of India, an area where many other types of tea are commercially grown. Assam is also near the purported birthplace of tea, in the Yunnan province of China.
After their initial discovery, these unique tea plants were later taken to Kenya, where the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya worked to create a cultivar of this wild plant which would be ideal for commercial tea production. The third largest producer of commercial tea after China and India, Kenya now leads as the largest producer of purple tea. This unique tea thrives when grown at high elevations along the equator, where it receives twelve hours of sunlight a day year round. Kenya continues to produce a growing amount of purple tea each year, as purple tea becomes more well-known and sought-after by tea connoisseurs and curious consumers alike.
Although purple leaf tea has not been on the market long, its popularity is growing as more people find out about the unique history, flavor profile, and health benefits of the tea. While purple tea is on the rise, many people are still unfamiliar with the properties and benefits that are unique to purple tea. Here at ArtfulTea, we’re pleased to be able to introduce our customers to purple tea and to share our knowledge of this exciting new development in the world of tea!
Curious about what purple tea tastes like? We often describe it as having a flavor similar to an oolong tea, with a lighter body than many black teas, but without the grassy, vegetal taste common to many green teas. Purple tea is generally mild in flavor, with light floral notes and a clean finish, and brews up a beautiful pale purple color. Purple tea is also very low in caffeine, somewhere in between green and white teas, making it a great choice for those looking for all the benefits of tea in a less-caffeinated cup. Purple tea is also available in flavored blends, with added ingredients like dried flower petals and tropical fruits.
Health Benefits of Purple Tea
Purple tea is extremely high in antioxidants, containing almost twice as many antioxidants per cup as other types of tea. In particular, purple tea is rich in a type of particularly beneficial antioxidant called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are thought to help protect against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases by reducing free radicals, which can harm and damage cells, resulting in illness and even certain types of cancer. Anthocyanins give certain fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, and eggplants, their rich blue, purple or dark red color. Purple foods have been shown to support cardiovascular health, fight inflammation, improve cognition, and even to help to reverse the effects of UV damage.
Like other types of tea, purple tea is also a great source of other antioxidants. Since it’s generally low in caffeine, purple tea is a great choice for those looking to limit their caffeine intake. Purple tea also contains a compound known as l-theanine, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. With all of these benefits and more, purple tea is a great choice for those looking to include healthy foods and drinks in their daily routine!
Our Purple Teas
Both of our purple teas come from the Tumoi Tea Garden in the Nandi Hills of Kenya. Our Kenyan Purple Tea is a classic unflavored cup and brews up a light purple color. Kenyan Purple has a mild taste similar to that of an oolong tea, with floral notes and a slight natural sweetness. Since purple tea is relatively delicate, we recommend drinking Kenyan Purple without any added sweetener in order to fully experience its unique and subtle flavor. If you’re looking to experience the unique taste of purple tea without any added ingredients, Kenyan Purple is the way to go.
If you’re looking for all the benefits of purple tea with a sweet and fruity taste, our Lychee Purple Leaf is sure to hit the spot! Lychee Purple blends purple tea with lychee, apple, pineapple, lemon peel, currants, and blue cornflower for a fruit-forward, tropical tasting blend. The fruit flavors perfectly compliment the subtle sweetness of the purple tea leaves in a unique tea that’s quickly becoming one of our best-sellers. Lychee purple can be enjoyed hot, and also makes an excellent iced tea!
Whether you’ve just learned about purple tea or have been thinking of trying it for a while, purple tea represents an exciting new development in the tea world. We’re happy to carry exceptional purple teas and love introducing new customers to them!