Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Wanja Teas Of Kenya, Purple Tea
Wanja Purple Tea of Kenya is a very rare tea that has sweet woodsy notes with a pleasant lingering astringency. While it is still derived from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis) that produces traditional Black and Green Tea, Wanja Purple Tea is rich inanthocyanin (a water soluble pigment that is found in red cranberries and grapes) which gives it the distinctive purple leaves.
This is my first purple tea. It is also the first sample I have ever received that I could have used a pair of pliers when opening. I did have a heavy duty staple puller and that worked. The sample bag now looks a bit like Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet riddled automobile. I poured the rest of the sample into a different resealable bag. The adventure getting in to the sample amused me, and that is why I mentioned it.
The leaf is tiny. Almost powder. Yet it swelled enough when steeped that it worked well in my press. The leaf is dark, almost charcoal looking. Maybe it has a purple tint. Mostly it just looks dark to me. While I was heating the water I thought I smelled chocolate. Then light malt. It reminds me of Bailin Gongfu. Oooh, I think I am going to like this tea.
I used way below boiling water and 1 tsp of leaf for a 12oz mug. The instructions call for 1/2 tsp per 8oz. I steeped for 3 minutes in my press. Instructions call for 4 - that seemed too long. I don't take directions well I guess. The leaf turns green when steeped. Now it smells like Bi Luo Chun. The brew looks green or brown or red depending on how the light is hitting it. In the mug it looks purplish, like black currant.
The sip with out additives causes the sides of the tongue to tingle from mild astringency. There is kind of light smoky charcoal thing going on in the background. It is very green tasting. Not like grass but like Chinese green tea – Chun Mei maybe? I am getting some breath coolness. This has me intrigued.
I added Splenda to see what else might develop. This really extenuates the aftertaste and loses the charcoal hints. I still smell the chocolate and malt but I can’t bring them out in the sip. This is bitter but only enough to make it interesting. It is also drying.
Astringent, bitter, drying – may all be the same but I see them as separate things. Astringent I feel on the sides of the tongue. Bitter I taste. Drying is felt as cotton mouth sensation. I seldom get all three at once.
While still warm there is a flavor underneath that is kind of woodsy or possibly nutty. It fades as the cup cools and is replaced by a peppery note.
I can tell I am really totally fascinated by this tea when I look at how much I have already written and I am still on the first cup. So I will just go ahead and say it, I love this!
In cup two (3 minutes) the main difference is an added grain taste that peaked in a couple of times. Still quite tasty and unlike any black tea I have had. This still reminds me of Chinese green tea.
With cup three (4 minutes) this settles way down but is still very nice. As its final hurrah it develops milky qualities.
This tea is $8.50 for 1/2 ounce! That is way too expensive to be considered an everyday tea. On the other hand it only requires 1/2 tsp per cup and I got three steeps from it. That makes this cheaper than soda and way, way, cheaper than Starbucks.
This tea has met with some mixed reviews. Most say I like it, I think. Me, I can tell this is an awesome tea and I love it.
Visit Wanja Tea Of Kenya http://www.wanjateaofkenya.com/