Royal Purple Leaf
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.
Notes: there is a strong presence of granular-fine powder that holds up even up to the 3rd steeping and is distinctly green. The immediate first perception is a likening to gunpowder teas, earthy-astringent-peppery. There is a strangely energetic effect, electric –tingly and a cooling response not unlike the Chinese Kudding cha. The shorter extractions are more distinct and floral, the longer resemble more the gunpowder. My instinct says that it will be a regional sell, but difficult to work under the asked price point, especially with its random leaf size, quick extraction needs, and astringency.