Kenyan Zambarau

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Michelle
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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From Joy's Teaspoon

Purple tea, a rare orthodox tea from Kenya, acquired its name because the leaf pigmentation is purple rather than the normal green color. Purple, or Zambarau tea, is the result of a 25 year effort by the Kenyan tea authorities to develop a leaf that was both drought and frost resistant. Kenya doesn’t always have the most ideal weather conditions for tea growing and this adversely affects thousands of tea farmers. This particular tea is pesticide free and harvested via small scale farmers.
The flavor profile of our Zambarau is rich and a huge surprise. While the leaves themselves appear to be of a black tea type variety, the flavor is very green, vegetal and clean.

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1 Tasting Note

318 tasting notes

I bought this tea in Joy’s Teaspoon Ocho Sampler months ago. I love the idea that you get to create your own sampler. It’s so personal.


I had about half of the sample left, since when I first tried it, I really didn’t care for it. But I was craving something dark tonight, and didn’t want to sit through a gong fu brewing, so I figured I’d try this again.

The leaves are very small and broken. They’re a deep, rich black, and the dry smell is something of cedar and pine, with fleeting hints of plum. When brewed, it really is a beautiful purple color. It’s a very pale lavender, not like anything I’ve seen in any other tea.

When steeped, it loses the wood notes in it, and if I hadn’t prepared it, I would swear this was an oolong. There are light notes of cedar, but those take a backseat to the vegetal scents and the sweetness, almost butteryness of the smell. Naomi is right – it smells very clean. There’s a little bit of bitterness in the aftertaste, but it’s not unpleasant.

All in all, I like this tea a lot more than I did when I first tried it. I’m not sure I could afford to purchase it, as it comes in at about $20/oz… but it sure is a good cup tonight!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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