My journey through African tea continued in June. This particular one intrigued me: purple tea. I’d never heard of such a thing. Purple tea! Fascinating! So, I ordered a tin of Purple Rain tea.
There’s a reason I hadn’t yet heard of Kenyan purple tea. Apparently, the lovely violet brew is fairly new in the tea world. For many years – maybe centuries? – Kenyan tea fields have flooded over with shades of green. But somewhere around 2015, some of those leaves started turning purple.
The purple pigment comes from high levels of anthocyanins in the leaves. This is the same nutrient that makes blueberries, cranberries, and grapes their rosy to violet shades. The nutrient provides you with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer benefits, in addition to other antioxidant powers.
This unique herbal-tasting tea, called Purple Rain by Just Tea, combines the fruity notes of apple and passionfruit with floral notes of hibiscus and herbal touches of lemongrass and rose hips with the unusual purple tea that naturally has a sort of fruity flavor. And though it tastes like a fruit tea, it’s actually not a typical herbal tea – there is some caffeine. Less than green tea contains (according to websites, less than half), but it’s still definitely in there.
I’m not a big fan of fruit teas – most are too bitter for me (since I don’t add sugar), but this one, if steeped just right, is absolutely delightful! Just enough fruitiness to taste delectable while still tasting like tea.
Pro Tip: Make sure you get the steeping time right on this one. I consistently found myself either under steeping to avoid bitterness or over-steeping to make sure I could taste the flavors. If you do pour over, make sure the water is just a little hotter than recommended to help it push through the leaves and draw the flavor since it won’t actually be steeping. I found this is the best way to enjoy this tea.