Purple Leaf Tea from Justea

Purple tea is starting to pop up everywhere. Purple tea is a curious tea it is Camellia Sinensis Assamica with a purple mutation changing the colour of the leaf to purple. I tried it a couple times (World Tea Expo 2016 and North West Tea Festival Seattle) and had a couple purple leaf puer cakes without thinking about it.

Though apparently there are different purple teas, and this particular Purple Leaf Tea from Justea is grown in Kenya. But what sets the Justea Purple Leaf Tea apart is the unusual colour.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions

The leaf is an interesting dark colour with a soft fruit scent.

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I followed the steeping instructions on the package, which was western style 1 teaspoon of leaf (worked out to 1 gram of leaf to 60ml vessel size), with low temperature 175F/80c for 3 minutes.

The colour naturally comes up a soft tint of plum.

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Tasting of Justea’s Purple Leaf Tea

Purple tea tastes, despite the low temperature, fairly astringent. There is a sharp dryness that paves a path in my mouth, through my teeth, and down the throat.  Once you get past the dryness, the flavor is softly floral and fruity, thought quite light in flavor. Combine the astringency, it is drinking a steeping of only under ripe plum skin, without the tart. There is a nice aftertaste of plum. As the tea cools, it gets a bit more fruity.

Apparently, adding lemon juice will do things to the color. Lets do it!

Whoa, it turned nuclear pink!

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Sadly, the lemon overpowered the gentle tasting purple leaf tea, so it was now very tart and dry making it closer to unsweetened lemonade.

Will it Gongfu?

I need to know if this Purple Leaf Tea will gongfu. I think purple leaf will look crazy good gongfu, and if I used a silver cup.. OH HOOT! I went 1 gram to 20ml vessel ratio, I didn’t want to go aggressive with the leaf ratio and I used the same lower temperature because I already know this tea is temperamental.

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The silver cup does not disappoint either – it makes the pinky purple glow!

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WOW. This tea is beautiful! Every photo is fantastic!

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Flavor wise, the first infusion was a strong, plum flesh and fresh romaine lettuce flavor, with a light plummy after taste. The infusions after that were very astringent. I got three infusions, and the final was unbearable to drink, it is a heavy astringency that completely dried out my tongue, throat, and I can actively feel each of my teeth.

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Tasting of Justea’s Purple Mint Tea

Along with Justea’s regular Purple Leaf Tea, they also offer some blends such as Purple Jasmine, Purple Mint, and Purple Rain (passion fruit, lemongrass, hibiscus).

Purple Mint looks like this is mostly mint than purple tea. Within each teaspoon, you get 3 or so purple tea leaves.

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The steeping method has a higher temperature, so again a western style ratio of 1 teaspoon, 190F for 3 minutes.

The leaves look beautiful while steeping!

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Purple Mint is predominately peppermint in flavor, with a bit of spearmint. More you sip, more you pick up the purple tea fruity dryness, along with a rosy flavor. The rose mint combination is good here, but I don’t find the purple tea adds much to this as it is a subtle tea that seems to not like being pushed.

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Purple Leaf Tea is really pretty tea and would be a great tea to entertain with or make interesting iced tea with. Justea’s Purple Leaf Tea is on the astringent side and a fussy brewer, so you will need to have a low temperature kettle to keep the tea in check. If I had more I would try cold brewing, but it is pretty subtle in flavor so I am unsure how the results would be. As is, if you are fine with dry tea and like light green teas, Purple Leaf Tea would be of interest. I personally found this Kenyan Purple Leaf tea too fussy to steep, I think I’ll stick to purple leaf puer which is more in line with my tastes.

(tea provided for review)

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  • Dina Cataldo

    Thanks for doing this experiment. My curiosity is definitely piqued, so I may have to grab some and play!