Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea

On behalf of the good people at JusTea, I am happy to introduce the readers of this blog to their newest product, the Purple Leaf Tea. This organically grown, fairly-traded, one of a kind tea is carefully produced by small-scale farmers in Kenya. JusTea can actually  arrange to have you meet the purple tea farmers via Facebook Live!

The beautiful contrast between new Purple Tea Leaves and ordinary Green Tea Leaves
Purple Tea Field in Kenya (Image used with permission from JusTea)

Purple tea is certainly one of the lesser known types of tea in the market, especially among the casual tea drinkers. The term “purple tea” has created somewhat of a debate in the tea industry, as it has challenged the more traditional classifications of tea (black, green, white, oolong, etc), and the criteria used to determine the classification of specific tea products. And although I can understand the purist viewpoint, I can also understand the marketing benefit of differentiating Purple tea from Green tea, although the processing technique is nearly identical.

That being said, I would expect the popularity of the JusTea Purple Leaf Tea to increase in the future, as awareness and consciousness of better nutrition and wellness gain traction in the United States, and around the globe in general. In particular, Purple Tea producers and the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya claim that the fresh purple tea leaves contain an antioxidant known as Anthocyanin. This is the same antioxidant that is present in blueberries and pomegranates, and we all are familiar with the healthy reputation of those two products. So expect to see more and more Purple Tea products popping up in your local grocery store.

Purple tea, 2 leaves and a bud growing in the garden
Purple Tea Bud (Image used with permission from JusTea)

So, let me tell you a little about the promotions going on at JusTea. As of the publishing of this post, JusTea is offering a free tea sample as a birthday gift to anybody who signs up for the newsletter on their website. We all could use more free tea, right?! Also, they are also offering an opportunity to enter to win a pair of John Fluevog shoes AND free Purple Leaf Tea for a year! Honestly, I don’t know much about the shoes, but they are rather expensive (I am not an expensive shoe kind of guy, except my Timberland hiking boots). So you will get an expensive pair of shoes and a year’s supply of healthy, delicious Purple Leaf Tea. So be sure to check those promotions out while they last!

Alright, so let’s get to the tea review.

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Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform charcoal gray color. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments, with a few bare stems and buds in the mix. The leaves appear to be hand-rolled. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, dried plum, freshly picked spinach, light smoke, and light vanilla.

The dry leaves were placed in a ceramic tasting cup and infused with 175°F water for 3 minutes. The leaves can be reused at least 2 or 3 times.

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Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea – Tea Liquid

The liquid has a color that reminds me of the flesh of a plum, with a pale, light purple color. The aroma has scents of plum, wet stones, and a pleasant earthiness. The body is medium, with a clean, brisk, lively mouthfeel. The taste has notes of plum, wet stones, cooked spinach, fresh swiss chard, and a light earthiness. The aftertaste carries the clean, mineral essence of wet stones and very light plum.

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Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea – Wet Leaves

The wet leaves are mostly a fresh, forest green color, with some spots of purple. There are a few bare stems, and a few nicely developed buds. The leaves are unusually thin and delicate. The fragments are mostly medium to large size, with a few leaves that are nearly fully intact. The aroma has scents of steamed spinach, chard, wet stones, light plum, and earth.

The Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea is an excellent escape from other teas, and is certainly unique in its own rite. I really enjoy the tastes of the mineral and earthiness, which is often found in teas that are pan-fired, as the Purple Leaf Tea is. The feel and texture of this tea was also noteworthy, having a clean, refreshing, and brisk character. The color is most definitely unique and interesting, with a pale, light purple color that looks similar to the flesh of a plum. The used leaves were uniquely delicate and soft. The experience of this tea, from start to finish, can best be summarized as unique.

The Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea is currently selling for USD $13.60 for 60 grams, not including any applicable shipping fees or taxes. They also offer the following Purple Tea blends:

Purple Jasmine – USD $12.00 for 90 grams.

Purple Mint – USD $12.00 for 60 grams.

Purple Rain – USD $12.00 for 90 grams.

All of these 60 and 90 tins come nicely wrapped in colorful fabric, and also include a hand carved wooden teaspoon. As I mentioned in my review of the Nandi Hills Black Tea, the packaging design is pretty awesome, and the wooden teaspoon is an interesting keepsake.

Thank you to JusTea for providing this sample of Purple Leaf Tea, and thank you to all of you who took your time to read this post. Cheers!

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Kenya Silver Needle White Tea from What-Cha

Today’s review will focus on the Kenya Silver Needle White Tea from What-Cha. The Kenya Silver Needle White Tea is sourced from the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. You may view and purchase this tea at the What-Cha website by clicking here.

I have covered the Mount Kenya growing region in some detail in previous postings, specifically the Kangaita Factory, which is among the best known factories in Kenya for producing a variety of high quality orthodox teas. Up until recently, Kenya was known for mass-produced, commodity tea intended for use in teabags. In recent years, some of the small scale farmers, with the assistance of the Kenya Tea Development Agency, have been learning how to make their harvests more profitable by growing better quality tea, and the factories that they sell to (like Kangaita) are learning how to transform these better quality tea leaves into high quality finished teas intended for the specialty tea market. Given the unique terroir of Kenya, it is exciting to watch the focus on specialty tea become more prevalent. I have had some excellent green and black teas from Kangaita Factory, and I look forward to the specialty products that other Kenyan factories will be offering in the future.

The sample packet has been opened, and a very unique, unexpectedly sweet scent is accompanying the beautiful long, slender buds. Let the journey begin…

Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform light brownish-yellow color, with a few green leaves in the mix. The pluck is one fine unopened leaf enveloping a younger bud. The leaves and buds are covered in downy-like silver hairs. The leaves are mostly unbroken and fully intact, with a few fragments and crumbs in the mix. There are no bare stems, and a few standalone buds. The leaves have an incredibly smooth, soft texture. The leaves and buds are long and quite narrow compared to Chinese silver needle teas, and have a sickle-like shape. The average length is about 1.25 inches (31 mm). The smell is incredible, with scents of fresh morning hay, fresh baked sweet dough (almost like a sesame donut), vanilla, and a touch of honeysuckle. I can honestly say that I have never experienced a silver needle tea with a smell like this. it is very impressive.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect four quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Add 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion steep time.

Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Liquor
Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is incredible, with scents of sweet dough, honeysuckle, vanilla, maca powder, almond milk, and maybe a touch of ripe peach. The body is light and refreshing, with a silky, clean texture. There is a very mild astringency, almost undetectable. The taste has notes of sweet dough, vanilla, maca powder, honeysuckle, light hay, light sweet butter, and light ripe peach. The aftertaste is gentle, and carries the sweet and floral qualities. The essence left on the breath is lightly peachy and floral.

Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Kenya Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform fresh forest green color, with the veins and stems being light brown. The leaves and buds are mostly unbroken and fully intact, with a few fragments and crumbs in the mix. The buds have swollen some, but are still narrow compared to Chinese silver needle teas. The expanded leaves average length is about 1.5 inches (37 mm). The leaves and buds are very soft and smooth.The smell has scents of honeysuckle, sweet dough, vanilla, and light hay.

There are quite a few descriptions that I used in this review that I have never used before, especially for a white tea, and that is most certainly a positive in this case. The Kenya Silver Needle White Tea is simply phenomenal in every aspect. The dominantly sweet aroma and taste blend perfectly with the floral notes, the touch of nutty sweetness, which I described as maca powder, and the clean, refreshing body are an incredible combination. There are sweet tastes and aromas in this tea that I cannot identify, but they are awesome. This is a white tea that can become an instant favorite with many tea drinkers. The price is not bad. I am currently working on my fourth infusion, and I am confident there is another good infusion left in these leaves. I have enough time today to extract every last molecule of pleasure out of these leaves, and I plan to do so. I cannot say enough good things about this tea!

Many thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this incredible sample of Kenya Silver Needle White Tea. Cheers!