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101 West Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM, 87501
United States

505-795-7724

Luxury loose leaf teas, handcrafted tea blends and fine tea ware. ArtfulTea: where the ordinary experience of drinking tea becomes extraordinary.

Tea Wisdom

Filtering by Tag: tea spotlight

Kenyan Purple

Margaret Wack

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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.

Kenyan Purple

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!

Monteviot First Flush Darjeeling

Margaret Wack

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Sometimes called the “champagne of teas,” Darjeeling has long been a popular staple in the tea world. Grown at high elevation in the Darjeeling region of India, Darjeeling tea is a fine black tea with floral notes and a delicate character. The specific terroir in which Darjeeling is grown, along with growing and harvesting techniques perfected over the course of centuries, contribute to its unique flavor and superior quality.

First Flush Darjeeling

Most Darjeeling black tea is produced from the second flush of the leaves, harvested from June to August. First flush Darjeeling, however, is harvested in the spring, and is even more rare and highly sought after than the more common second flush. Since it’s the first tea harvest of the year, first flush teas are often produced in smaller quantities, and can sell out quickly due to their limited supply.

First flush Darjeeling teas are often lighter than their second flush counterparts, featuring less oxidized leaves with green and silver highlights. They brew up a golden color and have a crisp, clean flavor profile with an astringent bite. First flush Darjeelings are typically harvested from March to May, depending on the weather conditions of the region in which they’re grown. Because of their specific character and relatively short season, first flush teas are often some of the freshest teas available, with leaves having been plucked from the tea plant only a few months prior to being brewed up into pots of tea all around the world!

Our First Flush Darjeeling

Our organic first flush Darjeeling was harvested this spring in the Monteviot Garden. Founded in 1856, the Monteviot Garden is located in the southern Kurseong valley of Darjeeling. Classified as an FTGFOP1 tea, our first flush Darjeeling is composed of the first two tea leaves harvested from the tea plant each year, a mark of exceptional quality. Grown at approximately 5,500 feet elevation, this premium tea features fine, whole leaves with green and silvery tips, and brews up a beautiful golden color.

While somewhat lighter than our classic Daily Darjeeling, this first flush Darjeeling still imparts plenty of flavor, with a pleasant bite and moderate astringency. The tea has floral notes and a delicate body, with a distinct spring-like character. Unlike other black teas, we find that it is best enjoyed on its own without any added milk or sweetener in order to fully savor its unique flavor.

Whether you’re a long-time Darjeeling fan or are simply interested in trying something new, first flush Darjeeling is one of the most premium teas we offer. As with many first flush teas, our first flush Darjeeling has a limited supply based on the season, so we’re excited to share it with you while it lasts!

Vietnamese Golden Tips

Margaret Wack

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While many of our classic black teas come from China or India, unique and highly sought after teas are grown throughout Asia, including countries like Nepal, Taiwan, and Vietnam. New to our shelves, our Vietnamese Golden Tips is a stellar example of a premium Vietnamese tea. With a dry, moderately astringent character and a slightly sweet taste with notes of burnt sugar, caramel, and smoke, Vietnamese Golden Tips is a tea worth savoring!

Vietnamese Teas

While tea has a long history in Vietnam, the country has only recently begun to grow tea for commercial production. Long influenced by Chinese tea commerce and culture, particularly in the neighboring Yunnan province, Vietnam began to harvest and sell its own tea in the late 1800s and early 1900s while under French colonial rule. While tea cultivation and sale was disrupted by continuing colonial conflicts, including the Vietnam War, tea has seen a growing resurgence as a premium export from the country.

Vietnamese tea is grown primarily in the northern, more mountainous regions of the country, amidst the tail end of the Himalayan mountain range that is also home to famous tea growing regions like Assam and Darjeeling. Some tea plants in Vietnam are even purported to be “wild” and naturally grown rather than farmed. Although probably the result of earlier cultivation, these historic tea plants have in some cases been around for over a century!

While tea has been drunk locally for hundreds of years, it’s still a relatively new commercial product in Vietnam. Despite this, however, the country is quickly making a name for itself in terms of its specialty teas, and tea production is on the rise.

Vietnamese Golden Tips Health Benefits

Like other black teas made from the camellia sinensis plant, Vietnamese Golden Tips is rich in antioxidants, and has a variety of other health benefits. Black tea may help to protect the heart, promote cognitive function, and even ward off certain types of cancers. Vietnamese Golden Tips has a moderate amount of caffeine, about half that of a cup of coffee.

Our Vietnamese Golden Tips

Grown in Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam, our Vietnamese Golden Tips is a delicious classic black tea that’s sure to delight, whether you’re interested in branching out into specialty teas or just want to try something new. The gold-tipped leaves brew up into a beautiful reddish-gold cup with a slight natural sweetness. Try a cup today, and fall in love with Vietnamese teas!

Himalayan Spring

Margaret Wack

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Himalayan Spring is a premium organic white tea grown in the mountains of Nepal. With notes of grass and stone fruit, and a smooth and buttery finish, Himalayan Spring is quickly becoming a new favorite among white tea connoisseurs and novices alike. As we continue to expand our tea collection, we’re excited to share this unique tea with the world!

Himalayan Spring and Nepali Teas

Himalayan Spring is made from the first silver-tipped leaf and bud of the tea plant. Harvested in early spring, as the name suggests, these tea leaves are carefully dried and preserved with minimal processing in order to highlight their delicate flavor.

Himalayan Spring comes from Nepal, a small, mountainous country bordering China and India. While its neighbors may be better known for their long history growing and trading tea, Nepal is an up-and-comer in the tea world, producing premium and rare teas grown by small farms and harvested by hand.

Stretching across Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, and Pakistan, the Himalayan mountain range is home to some of the most famous tea growing regions in the world, including Assam and Darjeeling, as well as the Nepalese mountainsides where Himalayan Spring is grown and harvested. A rocky landscape of varying altitudes, these mountains are an ideal growing environment for tea, with the high elevation giving teas grown in these regions a distinctive rich, slightly floral character.

Nepali teas are also a great way to support farms and families in a small, remote country that has historically struggled with economic precarity and exploitation. Nepali teas are some of the best in the world, and are becoming more and more popular as people discover these unique and distinctive teas!

Himalayan Spring Health Benefits

White tea receives minimal processing when harvested and dried, helping to preserve many of the unique benefits of tea. Like many white teas, Himalayan Spring is very low in caffeine, very high in antioxidants, and has a delicate, soothing flavor profile that’s perfect for a mellow morning or an afternoon pick-me-up.

Milk Oolong

Margaret Wack

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Are you an oolong lover looking to expand your repertoire, or simply on the lookout for something unique? Our Milk Oolong, a new addition to our tea collection, might be just the thing for you!

Grown at high elevation, this unique varietal of tea imparts a sweet, slightly tangy flavor, with notes of milk and cream. Milk Oolong doesn’t actually contain any milk, just tea – but it packs a punch in terms of its striking taste!

Milk Oolong Origin and History

Milk Oolong originated in Taiwan, and became increasingly popular throughout the 1980s and 90s. Milk Oolong is also sometimes referred to as Golden Lily tea. While there are myths and stories of Milk Oolong tea leaves actually being steeped or rinsed in milk in order to achieve their unique taste, Milk Oolong doesn’t contain milk (or any other dairy product.) The unique terroir, high elevation, and specific varietal grown to produce Milk Oolong are the only things that contribute to the flavor of this unique, highly sought after tea.

While our Milk Oolong is grown and harvested in the Fujian Province of China, it continues of a rich tradition of Milk Oolongs throughout Asia and beyond.

Milk Oolong Health Benefits

Like other types of tea grown from the camellia sinensis plant, Milk Oolong is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial properties like l-theanine, and may help to protect the heart, improve cognitive function, and even ward off certain types of cancer. Oolong teas are partially oxidized, and have a mild to moderate amount of caffeine, somewhere in between black and green teas.

Our Milk Oolong

Our Milk Oolong is made up of tightly rolled tea leaves with a rich, intoxicating aroma. While Milk Oolong brews up clear with a light, golden hue, it has a distinctive milky taste with floral notes and a tangy, buttery finish. Like many oolongs, our Milk Oolong can be infused more than once, with the flavors changing and developing over time. Because Milk Oolong can be infused multiple times without losing its distinctive taste, it’s a great tea to enjoy over the course of an afternoon, allowing you to savor the subtly different flavors of each infusion. Whether you’re a long-time oolong lover or are just looking for something new, our Milk Oolong is sure to hit the spot!

Vanilla Rooibos

Margaret Wack

One of our most popular rooibos teas, Vanilla Rooibos is a delicious mix of organic rooibos and sweet, smooth vanilla. It’s a little bit of heaven in a cup, and with no caffeine, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself after the end of a long day. Whether you take it on its own, or with a touch of milk and sugar, this tea will warm you from the inside out, and is sure to leave you with a smile.

What is Rooibos?

Rooibos is an herbal tea grown in South Africa’s Western Cape region. Dutch for “red bush,” rooibos is sometimes also called red tea. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor.

Rooibos tea is made from the needle-like leaves of aspalathus linearis, a plant that grows in a mountainous region near the South African Atlantic coast. Owing to the unique climate and soil conditions of the region, aspalathus linearis is extremely difficult to grow in other places.

Vanilla Rooibos Health Benefits

Rooibos tea is packed with antioxidants and other healthful properties, making it a great way to incorporate a healthy herbal tea into your day. Since rooibos is caffeine free, this tea can be enjoyed at any time, and makes an especially lovely tea for the evening.

While the rooibos steals the show in terms of health benefits, vanilla has also been shown to have a number of beneficial properties, including reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Vanilla also contains a number of vitamins and minerals that will keep you in good health.

While we enjoy Vanilla Rooibos all year round, we think it’s best on a snowy day with a good book and a crackling fire. Happy sipping!

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