While you might be familiar with more common teas like black, green, and oolong, you may not have heard about the latest category of tea. Purple tea is a brand new category of tea! Like other types of tea, purple tea is derived from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. In the case of purple tea, however, the leaves of the tea plant are purple, rather than green. Scientists have determined that purple tea is a unique varietal of camellia sinensis, with a wealth of health benefits and other unique properties.
Purple leafed tea plants were first found growing wild in the Assam region of India, where many other types of tea grown, including Assam black tea. Samples of these plants were then brought to Kenya, where the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya studied and cultivated these unique tea plants in order to develop a cultivar of the the wild plant that 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. Our Kenyan Purple tea is from the Tumoi Tea Garden in the Nandi Hills of Kenya.
What Does Purple Tea Taste Like?
A bit lighter than black tea but darker than green tea, our Kenyan Purple is often described as similar in character and taste to oolong tea. Purple tea has a light, clean body similar to a green tea, without any of the grassy, vegetal flavor that is typical to green teas. Our Kenyan Purple is also processed in a way that is similar to many oolongs - partially oxidized, with the leaves gently rolled. Purple tea brews up a light reddish purple color, and has a floral, delicate flavor.
Kenyan Purple Health Benefits
In addition to its unique color and flavor, Kenyan Purple has been shown to have a wealth of other beneficial properties. Like other types of tea, Kenyan Purple is rich in antioxidants, which help promote health and ward off certain types of cancers. Purple tea contains a very low amount of caffeine, similar to that of white tea. Kenyan Purple also contains l-theanine, a beneficial chemical compound that promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.
Purple tea is also rich in a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are thought to help protect against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases by reducing free radicals. Anthocyanins give certain fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, and eggplants, their rich blue, purple or dark red color. In general, purple leaf tea has been found to have almost twice the antioxidants of other teas, making it a great choice for those looking to include healthy foods and drinks in their daily routine!
Other Purple Teas
Since purple tea is still new to the tea world, many people don’t yet know about this unique kind of tea. Purple tea is still relatively rare, and is mostly found in specialty tea shops. Despite its relative scarcity, purple tea is becoming increasingly popular as more people learn more about it! In addition to our classic Kenyan Purple tea, we also carry Lychee Purple, a flavored purple tea that blends the delicate, floral purple tea leaves with lychee, pineapple, and other fruits and spices for a fruity, tropical cup with all the benefits of a classic purple tea. Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or just looking to try something new and different, purple tea might be just the tea for you!