First, this is NOT the Butterfly Pea tea that brews up purpley-violet or blue. This is camellia sinensis, but apparently a variety grown in Kenya that looks purple in leaf, and brews slightly purple.
Secondly, about the store: Artful Tea’s new space in Santa Fe is big and white and lovely. The woman who helped me was friendly and answered my questions. And the sheer variety of tea they have is great. However, if you want more than one of their ONE CUP samples, which are all I bought for reasons that will become clear, the smallest amount they sell is 4oz. I’ve bought as little as 1 oz at my favorite tea place at home in Wisconsin; 2oz is for something I know I will want to have many times. I just don’t consume tea that fast! So when I found this out, I gravitated to the samples.
If I’m recalling correctly: the samples were $2.50 each, in folded bulk teabags, each in a small wax-paper bag and stapled inside a thick paper label with info about the tea. I saw that they were selling 6-bag sampler sets (e.g., green, organic, black, herbal…these are on their website too) for $11.95, and asked, “If I pick six samples, can I have them for $11.95?” Somehow THAT wasn’t okay. The deal only worked if I bought a pre-selected sampler set. So…I bought five samples. ‘Cause I’m unemployed.
In short: chalk this tea shop up to Santa Fe tourist theory, that the more expensive something is, the more likely bored rich middle-aged and older women will spend a LOT of money on it assuming it’s special. The $405 rainbow-dyed cashmere shawl I tried on later the same day I bought this tea: that’s special. (Bookmarked it online to let my parents know closer to my December birthday!) This particular tea is not (see below). I look forward to trying the other four samples I bought.
They didn’t give a brewing temp for this, just “until steaming briskly, not boiling”, so I guessed on my Cuisinart tea setting and picked Oolong (180 F). I don’t know if this was too cool, because the resulting brew doesn’t smell or taste like much of anything. Hot water with a couple of Pez dissolved in it? It smells very, very vaguely floral and fruity; not at all like c. sinensis. The brew is purplish-tan and just sits there in my mouth, quietly waiting for me to swallow. I dumped about 2 tsp. of sugar into it just to coax some flavor out, and that at least made it drinkable, but I wouldn’t buy any more of this than I already have, and I’m really happy that I didn’t spend $18 for four ounces, the next size up. (The tin is apparently $3 extra.)
Flavors: Candy, Floral, Fruity, Pineapple