Kenyan Purple Tea
Today, Kenya leads in the development and export of Purple Tea, a growing superfood in an increasing health-conscious world. Discover the benefits of this Mega-Antioxidant, Anthocyanin-Rich Beverage.
What is Kenyan Purple Tea?
Purple leaf tea in Kenya, is the result of a special tea variety developed over 30 years ago through selective breeding by The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya. It is said to have both black and green tea characteristics while boasting nearly twice the antioxidants of ordinary black and green tea.
Cooler conditions in the slopes of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares range (where you'll find some of the best purple tea), create the perfect growing conditions. This high altitude causes the purple tea plant to adapt and shield its leaves from damage by producing increased amounts of deep purple anthocyanins and polyphenols, the same powerful antioxidant that gives purple fruits and vegetables their famous health benefits.
Appearance wise, the tea bush has dark purple buds, thick leaves and stems with a hint of green. The infusion isn't always exclusively purple and the shade of colour and flavour is dependant on the variety, cultivation area and plucking period. The liquor is comparable in taste to Green Tea (mild and fresh flavour) with a more complex earthy flavour, that can be complemented by a fresh squeeze of lemon.
Processing Purple Kenyan Tea
The purple loose leaf is processed using the traditional (orthodox) method, which involves:
For exceptional quality, 2 leaves & bud are skilfully plucked, and moisture removed by passing air through the spread out leaves. The process allows for the development of aroma and flavor.
A quick steam treatment ensures the leaves maintain the colour. At this stage the leaves can be thought of as perfectly cooked vegetables: tender, fresh and full of bright purple flavor.
To further enhance the taste and quality of the tea Purple tea leaves can be traditionally rolled, twisted or curled into tight balls or thin strands depending on the artisanal shaping skills of the tea master.
The leaves are then dried and sorted as per their size and quality. The intense labour makes certain Kenyan purple tea types such as "purple tea tips" or "1 leaf and a bud" extremely rare.
Purple Power Foods
The most effective components in Purple-coloured fruits and vegetables, contains anthocyanin a beneficial plant pigment which gives the deep red, purple or blue hues.
Through interspecific cloning, these have been introduced to some Kenyan purple tea cultivars leading to international attention due to its pharmacological properties.
Health* Benefits of Kenyan Purple Tea
Science is always ongoing, but preliminary studies have shown that anthocyanin found in Purple tea display a wide range of biological activities which include:
High antioxidant effects improves neuro-degenerative and cardiovascular diseases
Catechins such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), prevent antica-rcinogenic activities
Anti-inflammatory activities improves inflammation, the common cold and other flu viruses
ZERO Calories and low caffeine when taken unsweetened, steeped for a shorter amount of time using cooler water
Protection of cells against stress leading to better mental focus and increased energy
Extra benefits associated with skin, hair and general well-being
*Disclaimer: This for informational purposes only and not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.
For global nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies, we offer the raw purple leaf tea for further processing into diet supplements, purple tea crystals or powder that dissolves in hot water.
Social Benefits of Kenyan Purple Tea
Thanks to decades of research, Kenya is the lead cultivator of purple tea in the world. For small scale farmers, higher-end Purple tea allows better profit margins and improves their income level, producing benefits for their families and communities.