Purple Tea is produced from a very newly developed varietal of Camellia sinensis in Kenya. The cultivar was developed with extra high levels of anthocyanins, which are special antioxidants often attributed with excellent health benefits to humans. Anthocyananins are also responsible for the red, purple and blue in many edible plants, and in this case produces the distinctive reddish-purple of the leaves on the bush.
Anthocyanin is the same element involved in the often-cited health benefits of red wine. According to the Oregon State:
There is considerable anecdotal and epidemiological evidence that dietary anthocyanin pigments and polyphenolics may have preventive and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases. Through the much publicized “French paradox”, the public has become aware that certain populations of red-wine drinkers in France and Italy have much lower rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) than their North American and Northern European counterparts. It is widely accepted that red wine phenolics contribute at least partly to this beneficial effect. A number of studies have shown that mortality from CHD is inversely correlated with intake of flavonoids in the diet. Flavonoids may also help prevent strokes. While some flavonoids have been shown to inhibit tumor development, some experts have concluded that compounds other than flavonoids must be responsible for the anticancer effects of dietary fruits and vegetables
Aside from the impact on health that tea drinkers might expect Purple Tea to provide, it’s quite an interesting new tea from a taste perspective. The tea has flavors and atringencies similar to both black teas and green teas. It’s a fascinating new tea that we suggest experimenting with to find what temperature and steeping time brews it into something that suits your palate. It is not widely available through many retailers, and we are fortunate to be able to get it from our suppliers at Royal Tea of Kenya.
You can read more about this fascinating tea in the T Ching article, Purple Tea, written by Joy Njuguna of Royal Tea of Kenya, and in the review entitled Four-Eyed No-Horned Flightless Purple Tea Drinker, on The Lazy Litera”Tea.”