Royal Tea of Kenya

Recent Tasting Notes

95

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample of this brand new tea from Royal Tea of Kenya. I was only able to get to sit down with it today. The smell of the dry tea is malty and rich. I hoped that smell translated to smell while steeping and of course taste!

As it was steeping the malty flavor really came out to play. I love this seeing as I can’t do regular beer anymore due to the whole no gluten thing. The smell was also very strong and rich. Plus the color of the liquid is a beautiful reddish-orange color I haven’t seem in a tea before. Just stunning! The taste? Rich and smooth and full of flavor. I’ll write more about this tea when I can have a proper sit down with it and my notebook.

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Very excited about this tea and so I’m re-posting it as a link for any Steepster tea lover who is connected to me to get a chance to try and not only sample an extremely rare offering from Kenya and get it fresh and direct from the farmers, but also get a chance to support a project that I have been keenly interested in : The Tour de H20.
4 years ago in Columbus, OH and in California, Global Partners started a supportive bike ride that helps aid in the spreading of awareness and in financially supporting the cause of developing water projects, well development, and water infrastructure in needed areas of Kenya.
I developed a friendship with Steven Hurt and his wife who are both involved with this project and began riding to share awareness and support.
Joy of the Royal Tea of Kenya called today and wanted to make sure that I could get some of this tea to offer to others and I decided that with any of this tea purchased through me, that all profits would go directly to this years Tour de H20.
I felt this was a win/win for both the tea lover, tea seller, Kenyan farmer, and Kenyan water development project.
If you are interested in being a part of this, please contact me in a note and I will be offering this for $20/oz and I have only a limited supply.
Thank you all so much for even considering it and I hope we can raise hope and compassion with each cup of tea!.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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92

Royal Tea of Kenya – Royal Purple Tea
Dry: clean, sweet, softly vegetal, faintly earthy with elusive oceanic notes.
Wet: earthy, asparagus, grassy aroma
Leaf: very irregular cut, moderate to fine cut with some fine particulate, extremely dark, almost toasted woody or charcoal looking, upon steeping develops into a dark-green olive cast and the leaves look highly macerated and almost pesto-like.
Brewing method: 4g in 200 degree water in traditional porcelain cupping set, steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Cup: Liquor is a remarkable plum-flesh purple, with hints of rosy, peach, and lavender hues. Very faint liquor aroma, almost like pearled sake. The palate is gripped with a strong flush of astringency, transforming the mouth with a textured, faintly metallic note that bears some resemblance to the taste of green jade. Light to medium body with earthy, bold flavors that blush out and fade into a spicy resonance on the palate. There is a subtle floral note, reminiscent of lilac and a bolder flavor that is deeply eucalyptus. There is an interesting cooling effect to the tea and it is remarkable at clearing the palate of other flavors.
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I first had a chance to sample purple leaf tea through this sample about a year ago. The notes I took still very much hold up, but after many different attempts to balance the brewing of this tea I stumbled upon a linkage of ideas that has me excited to share with others.
There is a big movement in the specialty coffee industry to offer pour over coffee service and Staufs Coffee Roasters in Columbus, OH has been sharing this with the public for a number of years now. Its rather simple, a manual Hario pour over, with pre-wet filter, carefully measured coffee/water and a simple, controlled pour of water, yielding an amazing cup of your hearts desire in minutes.
What does this have to do with tea?
Many years ago while working to share the bounty and variety of teas from Ceylon, I was gifted a traditional metal spoon with fine holes in it and a deep belly. CTC-FOP grade teas would be heaped into it and water carefully poured over the leaves and the resulting cup was used to profile.
My mind made the bridge between these two methods and I began experimenting with using the Hario pour over with ‘fine’ teas and when I was brewing the Kenya purple leaf I noted a mixed cut and a fine particulate would end up in the cup, clouding it slightly. So I used the Hario method with this tea and was blown away by how amazing a 30-40sec extraction with 190 degree water, simply poured through could be.
At the last cupping I gave featuring this tea, I showed this method and it blew the minds of the tea drinkers, both in the nature of the cup, but in the brewing method. Its created a strange situation where now many people are trying various teas done as pour overs. Its not just a fad, the method works amazingly well for clarity of cup, quick extraction, clean and distinct flavors, and for teas ranging in the CTC-FOP grade range…they produce flavorful cups without the expected and hard to avoid astringency and bitterness.
Wish I could add pictures to demonstrate…but trust me…its a method worth trying.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

I was able to visualize what you were saying and imagine that a smaller fine-cut leaf would do better with this method. As for the purple leaf, the first time I tried some I remember thinking that there was a halo in my cup that reminded me of a glass of wine. A rim of color at the edge…faint plum.
I’ll have to try this method with a bit of unrolled Ceylon blue nettle that I have on hand.
You need a camera and flicker! Want to see your fabulous finds!

Kashyap

I have a camera and shoot all the time…used to be a stock footage photographer for National Fisherman…but what I need to do is get my long overdue tea blog up and running and post all of these :)

Bonnie

I await….

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97

Royal Tea of Kenya – Royal Purple Orthodox Hand-Crafted Tea
Dry: Complex toasted aroma, woven with hints of floral/lilac and freshly dried pumpkin seed.
Wet: Delicate, sweet, and nutty, with a gentle floral/gardenia-white honeysuckle nuance.
Leaf: Gorgeous long, dark twisted leaves, thin and clearly showing stem and leaf. Some gold tipping and reddish-umber bud/leafs are woven into the darker, woody umber leaves, accentuating the beautiful texture and allowing the golden pollen a place to rest.
Brewing method: 3.3g in 190 degree water in graduated glass pot and poured from height to aerate, steeped for 3 minutes.
Cup: Glows with a golden-olive hued liquor whose edges darken with a hint of purplish depth. The tea has smooth, silky-buttery body, offering a clean, succulent mouth feel. At first, so smooth that defining it seems elusive, but successive sips build a sweet, floral marigold like flavor on the finish. The juicy cup is totally without bitterness, withstanding long steeps and hot temperatures. As the cup cools, hints of almond weave around a lingering aftertaste that hangs almost like mint, but whose flavor blushes long with mercurial floral notes.
Notes: I had a childhood that frequently was spent navigating railroad tracks, cattails, struggling mulberry trees, and feral honeysuckle bushes. Often my afternoon snack was scavenged from abandoned and neglected fruit trees and moments of sweetness were drawn from plucks of white and golden honeysuckle flowers, whose flavor would indelible be written on my palate. I remember the earthy, grassy, floral taste, the texture that would resist and then give way to your teeth as you bit it, and how there would be a sweet, vegetal honey note that was clean and crisp in the white flowers and gritty, deeply flowery and almost too sweet in the orange flowers. Drinking this tea takes me back to those moments of finding the perfect white honeysuckle flower, while walking home along the tracks, aware of the need to balance on the rail, while watching the rough rock and old creosote ties, and subtly aware of the raccoons and muskrats slipping from sight and the howls of the red-winged blackbirds that chided me from coming too close to their thorn tree nest.
The tea is one to drink and be transported, to set time aside for and to be in a place where the mind can find freedom. Truly a worthy gift to be shared for the rarest tea in Kenya and a labor of love and sacrifice for the farmers who dedicated their harvest and trusted that we could appreciate that there is more worth in a tea such as this, than in a forgotten teabag labeled English Breakfast.

I am extremely grateful to Joy Njuguna for sharing this with me and allowing me to try what is truly one such a rare gift of Africa.

  • I published this with some difficulty to Steepster and I’m not sure what the trouble was. Either way, the review is mine and I hope it isn’t confused with the tasting notes that are the official ones from the Royal Tea of Kenya. **
Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I also enjoyed this tea and I’m glad there is interest in small farms producing such special gifts.

Kashyap

I figured it would find its way into to your cupboard Miss Bonnie…and I agree with you. Africa in particular has been such a place of exploitation that I hope teas such as this can begin to transform the way we not only view teas from the region, but that they will raise the infrastructure and the quality of life for all those who are in the industry. I also hope that it can reduce the land use and potentially preserve the natural wonder and rarity of bio-diverse regions like Mt. Kenya.

Bonnie

Amen (same with Nepal’s tea farms)!

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