What is purple tea?
By kborowsky March 19th, 2018
What is Purple Tea?
We are all familiar with the various tea types such as black tea, green tea, oolong and so forth. But, have you heard of purple tea?
Purple tea combines the health properties of green and black tea, adds a new UNIQUE health benefit, and offers farmers a chance to increase their income.
Sound to good to be true? Is there a catch? Is it going to drain your wallet?
The answer to all of the above is NO!
So what is purple tea exactly?
Purple tea, like all other tea originates from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The same plant that we get our familiar black and green tea from. The purple appearance of the tea is caused by a unique genetic mutation which produces anthocyanin, the same powerful anti-oxidant found in blueberries. In fact, it contains 1.5 percent compared to .1 percent for blueberries.
Where does purple tea come from?
Originally wild mutations were found in small quantities in China. However a public/private partnership emerged in Kenya to isolate this mutation and mass produce Purple tea. It's grown at elevations between 4,500 and 7,500 feet, much of it from the Nandi Hills region of Kenya. This high altitude near the equator results in higher levels of UV bombardment, and causes the plants to produce very high levels of anti-oxidants to protect the leaves from damage.
What are the health benefits of purple tea?
Anthocyanin has many medicinal properties and is particularly known to be beneficial against cardiovascular diseases. These anti-oxidants are known to provide anti-cancer benefits, improve vision, and aid in cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism. At the same time, caffeine content is lower than that of black tea. Purple tea also contains higher amounts of another anti-oxidant - polyphenols. More than black or most green teas (16.5 percent versus 10.1 percent for black and 9.1 for green).
Like green tea, purple tea also has high levels of another form of anti-oxidant known as catechins, especially EGCG which is the powerful anti-oxidant found in green tea. These neuro-protective antioxidants permeate the blood brain barrier, and in a study performed on mice, significantly boosted brain antioxidant capacity.
There is another secret weapon in the purple tea arsenal...NOT FOUND IN ANY OTHER TEA OR FOOD. It's a special type of polyphonel called GHG. Initial research has shown that it can decrease fat mass & thickness while increasing lean body mass. Researchers think this is caused by GHG affecting lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fats so the body can easily digest them.
Feel good about drinking it, and the farmers thank you.
Kenya produces a lot of tea, and it's their #1 cash crop. But there has been a downward trend in the prices of the staple black teas that Kenya mainly produces. It was either bite the bullet and watch income drop, or find another way...a new niche that Kenya could be market leaders. They took the chance and....
25 years after the first hybrids appeared, Kenya's farmers are starting to ramp up production for export. And the great thing is, even with the amazing health benefits provided by this tea, it only costs a few dollars more than most teas. In fact, you would think the price for purple tea would be much higher based on the unique benefits it provides. Needless to say, by purchasing purple tea you are putting your support behind the farmers who have waited 25 years to bring this tea to market.
What does Purple Tea taste like?
Purple tea has a pleasant, sweet and woodsy flavor. We use slightly less than boiling water and steeped the tea for about 3 minutes and noticed almost no astringency. Purple tea itself has a dark color, however the infusion is light, with a slight purplish hue. Some have said it has both black and green flavor characteristics. We found it to taste very much like a green tea, with no-astringency and no tannin bitterness - but it isn't grassy or vegetal.
Because of it's forgiving nature this may be a good way for people looking to increase their health to hop on the tea bandwagon.
Purple tea can also be easily flavored or blended with other teas.
In conclusion, if you currently drink tea, or want another healthy 'green' tea alternative, we recommend giving purple tea a try.