So today's tea from What-Cha is a little odd, and by odd I mean purple. Specifically it is Kenya Silver needle Purple Varietal White Tea, so it is a white tea that looks purple, thanks to a funky little pigment called Anthocyanin. Where the leaves of tea are usually green, this varietal is eggplant purple (same pigment that makes said eggplants purple, along with a ton of other purple plants) and in theory give the tea even more antioxidants. As per usual I could care less about the health benefits, what I care about is the taste (and smell too of course) though it being slightly more drought, frost, and pest resistant than its green cousin is really fascinating. One more thing before I get into the sniffing of the leaves, Anthocyanin does not change the smell, but it does give a slight boost in astringency, you can thank this pigment for blood oranges being a hair more bitter than other oranges. Ok, so, how do these leaves (that look more dark grey than purple...hehe, they are Drow!) smell? Kinda funky, actually, like a blend of peony flowers and kettle corn (hello Kenyan Silver Needle) and prunes, a bit of red wine, and and sharp, dried, leaves. It smells peculiar and I kinda like it, but also find myself doing the 'huh' head tilt.
So, I decided to go grandpa-bowl-style for this tea, into my fancy bowl it went for a nice long winded sipping session. The aroma wafting up from my cups was again a bit odd, blending the peony blossom, sweet corn, and delicate notes of Kenyan Silver Needle with slightly tart plums, prunes, bamboo leaves, and tomato leaves. This tea has a lot of things going on, but it is surprisingly delicate and light.
At the beginning the taste is mild, a really smooth mouthtaste, surprisingly no trichome fuzz on the tongue. It starts with a light sweetness of sweet corn and peony blossom along with cooked oats and tomato leaf. As it steeps more, I never notice any bitterness, even after 20 or so minutes sitting in water, the grain quality becomes richer, but not sweeter, like corn and oats with a touch of distant flowers.