Purple Mint Tea from JusTea

Today’s review will focus on another new Purple Tea product from JusTea. This is the Purple Mint Tea. It is a blend of purple tea leaves, spearmint and peppermint leaves, and rose petals.

If you did not read my recent review of the Purple Leaf Tea from JusTea, which includes much more information on Purple Tea, and some special limited time offers from JusTea, go check it out now.

Let’s get to the review.

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Purple Mint Tea from JusTea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from the pale green of the mint leaves, the dark charcoal grey of the purple tea leaves, and the dark red of the rose petals. The vast majority of the mix consists of the peppermint and spearmint leaves (>/= 90%), with maybe 5% of purple tea leaves, and <5% of rose petals. The refreshing aroma is also dominated by spearmint and peppermint scents. The rose petals and purple tea are undetectable.

The dry leaves were infused in 200°F water for 3 minutes.

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Purple Mint Tea from JusTea – Liquid

The tea liquid has a dark golden-yellow color. The aroma is strongly dominated by the sweetness of the spearmint and the spiciness of the peppermint scents, and there is a slight trace of rose petals. The scent of the purple tea leaves is undetectable. The body is medium-full, with a refreshing, mentholated feel, and a lively texture. The taste is dominated by the peppermint and spearmint, and the rose petals and purple tea are undetectable. The aftertaste continues the refreshing, mentholated feel that coats the tongue and throat, and the mint character.

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Purple Mint Tea from JusTea – Wet Leaves

The wet leaves again vary in color from the green of the mint leaves, the green and purple of the purple tea, and the pinkish-white of the wet rose petals. The mint leaves are all small fragments, the purple tea leaves are all medium to large fragments (with a bud or two in the mix), and the rose petals are large fragments. The aroma again is dominated by the sweet spearmint and the spicy peppermint. A mentholated, tingly, cool feel in the nose is very interesting and unique.

The combination of the peppermint and spearmint truly hits all parts of the tongue (and nose), and is quite the sensation to focus on. The coolness touches the front end of the tongue, followed by the spicy bite towards the middle, and an extra mentholated feel at the back. Although I would prefer to see, smell, and taste a little more of the rose petals and purple tea in the mix, the blend of the spearmint and peppermint is very tasteful and uplifting (even without the caffeine). Increasing the proportion of the tea and roses is an easy problem to solve, if other reviewers and consumers feel the same way I do. But the cool, mentholated feel was the highlight of this experience.

You can purchase 60 grams of the Purple Mint Tea for USD $12.00 from the JusTea website.

Many thanks to JusTea for providing this sample of Purple Mint Tea, and thank you to my readers for taking your time to check out this review. Cheers!

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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!

Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea from What-Cha

Today’s review will focus on the Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea from What-Cha. You may view and purchase this tea on the What-Cha website by clicking here.

Purple tea leaves are a natural phenomenon that has been recognized for a long time, but not necessarily promoted or marketed until the past eight or so years. Basically, it is believed that the tea bushes produce an antioxidant (phenol) pigment called anthocyanin to help protect the bush during times of hot and humid weather. Anthocyanin is also present in blueberries. The enhanced production of anthocyanin in tea bushes gives some of the tea leaves a purplish color.

Some countries, Kenya for example, have put much effort into creating cultivars that are intended to produce more purple tea leaves, hoping that the claimed health benefits will allow the purple tea market to thrive, thus creating more revenues to the tea farms and industry. China has successfully developed a purple tea cultivar known as Zi Juan. The bush that this cultivar was isolated from was found in Menghai, China. This cultivar has been praised for its resistance to excess cold and heat, as well as insects. For a thorough article on purple tea, click here.

Purple teas from China are more frequently found in the form of a sheng pu’er cake, but the Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea from What-Cha is in loose leaf form. Also, I am always skeptical on the classifications (green, oolong, etc) of purple tea products, and you will see why when you look at the photo of the dry leaves. However, for lack of personal knowledge on how the leaves are processed, I will yield to the description given by the vendor.

The sample packet has been opened, and a scent similar to sheng pu’er is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Yunnan Graceful Purple "Zi Juan" Green Tea Dry Leaves
Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a charcoal color, with an occasional purple streak on some leaves. The leaves are almost entirely whole and unbroken, and the pluck consists of one fine leaf enveloping a bud. There are few leaf fragments, a few standalone buds, and no bare stems in the mix. Some of the leaves appear to be lightly twisted. The leaves average about one inch (25 mm) in length, and are quite slender. They have a very dry, somewhat coarse texture, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of earth (barnyard and hay), forest floor, leather, smoke, and dried dark cherries.

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 3:00 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 2:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves.. Add 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion steep time.

Yunnan Graceful Purple "Zi Juan" Green Tea Infusion
Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light pale yellow color and a barely detectable tint of purple, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of earth (hay, forest floor), mineral (wet stones), leather, barnyard, smoke, and light cherry. The body is light, with a smooth, clean texture, and a refreshing character. There is no astringency or bitterness. The taste is fairly complex, with notes of mineral (wet stones), earth (hay, forest floor), light leather, light smoke, light roses, and very light cherry. There is a clean aftertaste with light notes of mineral and hay.

Much like a sheng pu’er, the taste and character of this tea evolves nicely over multiple infusions. As I write this, I am on the third infusion, which I find to be the cleanest tasting and most refreshing of the infusions thus far.

Yunnan Graceful Purple "Zi Juan" Green Tea Infused Leaves
Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color, with a few showing a reddish-purple tint. The leaves are almost entirely whole and unbroken, with a few medium sized fragments, a few lonely buds, and no stems. The pluck is one fine (unopened) leaf enveloping a bud. The unopened leaves have a long, narrow, sickle-like shape, with an average length of 1.25 inches (31 mm). The leaves have a very smooth texture. The buds of this Zi Juan cultivar are not plump, as compared to those of the Da Bai Hao cultivar. The smell has scents of mineral (wet stones), earth (forest floor, hay), barnyard, leather, and cherry.

Despite descriptions that may seem unpleasant (earthy, leather, barnyard), this Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea will please the more adventurous tea drinkers and the sheng pu’er lovers. This tea is definitely not a conventional green tea, and if you like grassy, nutty, or vegetal green teas, then this tea is not going to meet those requirements. On the other hand, if you like mineral, earthy, complex aromas and tastes, then give this tea a try. The clean, refreshing character of this tea is very satisfying. If you do not care for the first infusion, do not give up on the tea. As I mentioned above, I most enjoyed this tea with the third infusion. This tea will provide you with an interesting and unique experience, regardless of your preferences.

Thanks again to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Yunnan Graceful Purple “Zi Juan” Green Tea. Cheers!

Steamed Purple Tea From Kangaita Factory, Mount Kenya

A short time ago, I reviewed the Fermented Purple Tea, considered more of a wulong style of tea due to partial oxidation. The Steamed Purple Tea is considered to be a green tea in terms of processing. This Steamed Purple Tea is also from the Kangaita Factory in Kirinyaga, on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya.

Let the journey begin…

Steamed Purple Tea Dry Leaves
Steamed Purple Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a very dark purple to black color. The leaves are rolled, with some being long and wiry, and others being in somewhat of a semi-ball shape. The leaves appear to be mostly medium to large fragments. There are very few bare stems in the mix. The stems show a two leaves and small bud pluck. The aroma is sweet (hay and light malt) and bakey, with light earthy hints.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.5 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute and thirty seconds.

Steamed Purple Tea 1st Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale yellow color and a light purple tint. The color is very unique. The aroma is grassy, fresh, with light scents of red grape juice. The body is light, with a delicate, refreshing feel. The taste is very refreshing, with notes of delicate grass, light red grape juice, and mineral (wet stone). The aftertaste is lightly fruity, with a light flowery and grassy essence being left on the breathe. Given the dark appearance of the dry leaves, I was surprised by how light, grassy, and delicate this tea tasted.

Steamed Purple Tea 2nd Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly stronger purple tint than the first infusion. The aroma is fruitier, and lighter on the grass. The body remains light and refreshing. The taste has lightened on the grassy note, and the mineral note has become more potent. The grape juice undertone remains. A slight bitterness appeared, indicating that the infusion time should have been decreased by about thirty seconds on this second infusion. This tea is quite delicate to the infusion time, very similar to a green tea.

Steamed Purple Tea 3rd Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor similar to the second infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains fruity and grassy. The taste has also lightened, and maintains the dominantly mineral note, and light grass and grape notes. I do not expect a fourth infusion to have much to offer.

Steamed Purple Tea Infused Leaves
Steamed Purple Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a mostly dark forest green color, with some purple leaves. All leaves are medium sized fragments. There are some stems showing the two leaves and small bud pluck. There are a few tips in the mix. The aroma reminds me of a wet forest floor with soft hints of grape juice.

This Steamed Purple Tea was an interesting contrast to the Fermented Purple Tea. One thing that was very similar in both varieties of the purple tea was the thirst quenching and refreshing quality. There is something about a clean mineral taste that I find very satisfying. This Steamed Purple Tea had a very nice balance of tastes, blending grass, grapes, and minerals. The color was intriguing, showing the presence of the anthocyanin pigmentation in purple tea, compared to the dominant chlorophyll pigmentation of the traditional green tea bushes. This tea is a great way to take a break from the typical green teas. It has the refreshing character of other steamed green teas, with a noticeable difference in taste, aroma, appearance, and body to make it unique.

I am very grateful to my source in Kenya for providing me with these purple tea samples. Cheers!

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea from Mount Kenya

Today’s review is a first in two aspects. This Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea is the first “purple” tea that I have tasted. Technically, this tea is a wulong tea according to processing technique classification (semi-oxidized). Secondly, this will be the first tea infused in my new Kuro Sendan Tokoname teapot.

This purple tea was produced in the Kangaita Factory in the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. Many people have not heard of purple tea, and it is a rather new cultivar of tea bush that has been under development in Kenya for about twenty-five years. The primary difference between purple tea and other tea cultivars is that the leaves of purple tea bushes are actually somewhat purple instead of green. The leaves are purple due to the high content of the antioxidant and pigmentation called anthocyanin, compared to the chlorophyll pigmentation in green tea bushes. This new clone, the TRFK 306/1, is frost, draught, disease, and pest resistant. The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) is hoping that this new clone will help generate three to four times the revenue that the current black teas generate, helping the tea farmers earn a better living. Click here for a link directly to the TRFK website on Purple Tea.

The sample pack is opened, and a sweet scent of honey and ripe fruit is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Dry leaves
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Dry leaves

The dry leaves have a dark purple-black color with a few silver streaks. The leaves are long, wiry, and tightly rolled. There is a clear pluck of two leaves and a bud. Some of the tips are quite long. A few of the leaves appear to be large fragments to whole leaves, with the majority being medium sized fragments. The aroma is very sweet and attractive, with scents of honey, caramel, and dried stone fruit.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.5 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 1st Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale yellow-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet, with scents of ripe citrus fruit and honey. The body is medium, with a soft, delicate feel. The taste is nicely balanced and brisk, with notes of ripe citrus fruit (orange), flowers, and minerals. A light mineral (metallic) effect is left on the tongue. The aftertaste is sweet, with a light floral essence left on the breathe. This tea has a very refreshing quality to it.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 2nd Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of yellow-orange. The aroma remains sweet, lighter on the ripe citrus fruit, making the honey smell more potent. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened on the citrus fruit, making the floral and mineral notes more influential. The mineral feel on the tongue remains, as well as the lightly sweet aftertaste and light floral essence.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 3rd Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of yellow-orange than the second infusion, and quite similar in color to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains sweet and lightly fruity. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened more on the fruit, and the fruity taste resembles papaya more than citrus at this point. The floral and mineral notes are still obvious. The third infusion maintains the refreshing quality of the first infusion.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Infused Leaves
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a copper color with a purple tint. There are few whole, unbroken leaves, but the few that are present are fairly large (nearly two inches or 50 mm). Most of the leaves are medium to large fragments. There are quite a few whole tips. The pluck is two leaves and a bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The aroma is sweet and fruity.

This Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea was uniquely refreshing. For a higher oxidized (fermented) tea, the body was quite light and exhibited more properties of a wulong tea than a black tea. I have one more variety of purple tea to try, being the steamed purple tea. I will be posting that review shortly. Due to the purported antioxidant properties of this tea, and the lighter, pleasant taste, I can imagine this tea can appeal to a large number of people. I certainly enjoyed my first experience with this relatively new style of tea, and look forward to the continued development of this cultivar in Kenya and elsewhere. Cheers!