Let’s put a common misconception to rest. All tea – green tea, white tea, black tea, yellow tea, oolong – actually comes from the same plant: camellia sinensis. The vast, nuanced differences between all these tea types arise largely from how the the leaves are treated and processed after being picked. However, there are also numerous varieties of the camellia sinensis tea plant, which have a profound effect on the flavor, aroma, color, and even the antioxidant content of the resulting tea. It’s like a Fuji apple from Japan compared to a Royal Gala apple from New Zealand: they’re the same fruit, and yet very different in taste, texture, and appearance.
A little-known tea varietal from the slopes of Mt. Kenya is the latest addition to the P & T collection, a rare black tea that we’ve dubbed Rich Purple.
The varietal’s official name from the Kenyan Tea Research Institute is TRFK 306, though it’s known colloquially as purple tea due to the plant’s distinctive, purple-reddish leaves. This is due to high levels of anthocyanins, the same antioxidants that give color to foods like blueberries, cranberries, grapes, and even red cabbage or eggplants. Because of their ability to track down free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation in the cells, anthocyanins are believed to be a mighty health-boosting antioxidant. Studies have suggested a link between anthocyanins and a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, for example.
Our Rich Purple is a black tea with a full-bodied, plummy aroma and a subtle purplish tinge to the liquor, boasting nearly twice the antioxidants of other teas. But that’s not the only reason we love it: Purple tea is also a result of the country’s small but thriving orthodox tea scene.
Though Kenya is the world’s third-largest tea producer (after China and India), the vast majority of the crop is cheap black tea mass-produced for discount tea bags sold around the world. Unique varietals like purple tea empower small-scale Kenyan tea farmers with a specialty product that helps them gain an advantage in a competitive global tea market.
RICH PURPLE N°507
This rare and unique Kenyan tea is silky smooth yet rich and fruity, boasting nearly twice as many antioxidants as any other tea.