Wanja Tea of Kenya
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Recent Tasting Notes
I never drank a purple tea,
I never even sipped one.
But thanks to K S now I have
And it defies description!
Yeah, I know…groan, but that’s been toodling around my brain all afternoon.
But after two steeps, I’m stumped. It’s lightish, but not exactly greenish, but isn’t purplish, and not exactly darjeeling-y. I saw “cranberry” in one tasting note; I can understand where that vibe comes from.
Fortunately, at only 1/2 teaspoon a cup, I’ve got enough to do some more taste testing.
Thank you to Rachel for this tea sample!
This is an interesting tea! First off, the aroma of the dry leaf is unlike any other tea I’ve smelled: tart, a little sweet, & something I just can’t quite pinpoint.
The flavor is tart, sweet, somewhat astringent, and a little bitter. It brings to mind cranberries, and reminds me of some of the grapey wine-like Darjeelings out there, in a way.
I love reading the reviews on this one. Every one interprets this differently. Some of the reviews say I like this, I think. Me, I love it. To me, dry it smells like Bailin Gongfu. Steeped its scent is Bi Luo Chun, yet its taste reminds me of Chun Mei. The brew is a funky green in the press but changes color depending on the light. It looks like black currant tea in the mug. I got three steeps all of them different. Awesome tea but pricey. A worthy splurge. Sample supplied by Wanja Tea Of Kenya.
A longer review here: http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2012/10/wanja-teas-of-kenya-purple-tea.html
Thank you Martin Sankale of Wanja Tea of Kenya for this sample tea!
All of my life I’ve met people who have been to Kenya with fantastic stories to tell. Stories of the Great Rift Valley, with herds of exotic animals and vast lush vista’s.
I bought objects made in Kenya for my home, fabrics and small wood animals, musical instruments. I even had some magazines from Nairobi that a friend brought back from a trip that I would read over and over again, especially loving the Kenyan version of ‘Dear Abby’. One particular letter was from a young woman who was in love with a young man who had ‘tribal scar’s’ on his face. She was concerned that he wasn’t modern enough now that she had a job as a secretary. (remember this was in the 1970’s)
Being a mixed race family, I filled my home with items from Kenya especially, because they were the easiest to find.
I bought small wooden animals, musical instruments and fabrics. I prepared exotic meals and then we danced around to music I found at the library.
The Scot’s side of our heritage wasn’t left out. That side allowed us to have tea time in the afternoon’s, scones and Scot’s eggs, and go to the Highland Games (which we still do and yes, my son has a kilt!).
In my well blended family, we celebrate with bagpipes, drums and an American Flag…the African-American, Scot’s way!
Today I also listen to Kenyan Chant.
I’ve had purple tea before but not often. Sometimes I forget how it tastes, different than other tea’s. Even the steeping is different.
You must use less leaf (.5 tsp) and lower temp. (160f) for 4min.
otherwise you won’t have a happy cup.
The first thing I thought when I took my first sip was Oolong.
The savory, floral flavor were a familiar recent tasting memory I suppose. That might give you an idea of where my brain began it’s journey of discovery with this unique Kenyan Purple Tea.
I mentally shook that thought off and began again.
The flavor was sweet and savory in the same way artichoke hearts effect me, I thought, and then I remembered…oh yes…this is one of my rare Umami moments. A deep Umami because the flavor lingers for a long time.
The flavor was at the back of my palate and went up into the nose more like tasting wine would do. I love tea that does this. If you make a little huff, like a nose sigh you get more sense of flavor. Try it some time.
I wouldn’t call this tea woodsy but a little dry as it cools due to faint astringency. Don’t be afraid of it though. The presentation is a dry feel and not a bite.
This is really good tea. Not heavy but really good.
This tea deserves better than the quickie service I just gave it. I am at work and had to microwave water, so I think the water temperature (whatever temp this is) is too high. Fortunately I received a great sample and I have enough left over to try again at home. I brought it to work with me thinking I would enjoy something new today. I do, but it is … odd.
The leaves are mostly fine shred, they have a deep brown dark earthy color that I like, somewhere between coffee and good soil. When I first opened the bag for some reason I smelled cocoa and burning leaves but somehow that has changed. Not sure why/how that would happen, I might be insane. Now when I smell the dry leaves or the bag it smells mostly of cedar pepper and salt water. Strange. Oh, and the wet leaves smelled like steamed shellfish a minute ago and now that they are cooled they smell like something else completely. It does keep me guessing, though. I am gonna have to try this again at home when I have my thinking nose on. It is possible that I am going crazy. I like this tea, though. It tastes a little astringent, and a little dusty. It won’t hold still. Strange stuff. Will edit when I get a chance to try it at home.
I just got my free sample today – thank you Martin! I was really intrigued by the brewing instructions. It called for 160 degrees for ~4 minutes. Also, the liquor was very light when I brewed it up. The leaves also surprised me because they were so small and only .5tsp were called for per cup.
The tea itself smells fantastic however, allaying my trepidation. A little smokey, a little buttery, a little creamy, and a little… like it would feel astringent.
This has one of the thickest mouth feels of any of the tea I’ve had. The flavor is just as puzzling as the scent and instructions. I think I like it. It is a lot like walking through cedar woods in the rain. It is woody, a little astringent, reminds me of wine being aged in barrels, and it went perfectly with the rainy day.
I groomed a gorgeous Bedlington Terrier today, in my nice little studio with the rain storm out the windows. This was a nice way to relax, mirroring the weather.
I think I like it…
I’ve never had a purple tea before, but this served as a pleasant introduction to them. Like other reviewers have noted, there is a bit of an earthiness to it, along with a slightly bitter aftertaste which doesn’t seem to resemble other bitter aftertastes I’ve experienced with other teas.
I’m pretty groggy at the moment, since I only recently got off a 12 hour night shift for the campus EMS program, so I’ll probably add more to this note later when I try this when I’m more awake.
This is a very interesting tea! I want to have it again later or another day when I can focus more closely on it as today I am a bit under the weather. However with that said – this has a lot of pu-erh qualities to it with earthy deep notes!
I think I am going to like this one!
I have enough left for another steeping session on another day – for now I have done three steeps and its still going strong for this session.
I so would love to share more info on this tea and leave more notes but I have the head spins right now.
Going to doctor tomorrow.
I was very satisfied with this tea and would gladly take it over your average Darjeeling or Assam. The purple tea was decidedly less malty than most of the dark teas that I’ve encountered. At the forefront, the tea is incredibly smooth and tasty. That’s followed by a pleasantly bitter aftertaste that was very different from your average black tea. The buzz wasn’t too shabby either. ;) I highly recommend this tea. * HEY TEA PEOPLE!!! WHY NOT GIVE THEM A FOLLOW ON TWITTER? @WanjaTeaofKenya LOOKS LIKE THEY NEED SOME FRIENDS! :) *
This is splendid. I haven’t tried a lot of purple teas, only fewer than a handful, really, but, I’ve really liked what I’ve tried.
This tea has a lovely consistency to it: brothy and smooth. It has so many layers of flavor too. At the start, I noticed the wood tones and the earthy notes right up front… and as I continued to sip, the wood tones began to emerge stronger than the earthy notes. There were also hints of vegetative notes and fruit notes, and toward mid-to-end of the cup I found that the fruit notes sort of wandered off into the distance, while some of the vegetative notes began to creep forward only slightly. The vegetative notes are very mild, reminding me of white beans… and the creaminess to the tea evoked thoughts of a white bean soup (no, it doesn’t taste quite like white bean soup, but there are notes that sort of remind me of the flavors of a white bean soup) … it is very comforting and calming.
A really lovely purple tea! I am excited for this new company!