Kenya, the fourth-largest producer of tea in the world, is the only country in Africa to produce a substantial amount of tea for the world market. But the country has added another feather in its cap by becoming a major source of innovation in new varieties of tea; the latest being the purple tea.
According to Kenya’s Export Promotion Council (EPC), tea accounts for 20 percent of the country’s total exports. As competition grows, new varieties of tea will help Kenya’s economy and the poor tea growers, especially now that other major revenue sources like tourism are not performing well.
Thanks to Martin Kabaki, a Kenyan who now lives in the United States where he is pioneering the entry of the new tea, the tea was recently launched in Santa Monica, California at BevNET Live, a major national beverage summit. Kabaki is the founder and CEO of Kenya Purple Tea, LLC.
Kabaki is working directly with the increasing number of Kenya purple tea growers to spearhead the farming of this new tea and allow the Kenyan purple tea growers to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Already, KeHE Distributors, the second largest distributor of natural food products in North America, has already agreed to help distribute the Kenyan purple tea into natural health food stores, chain grocery stores, independent grocery stores and other specialty product retailers across the US.
The purple tea is special. It has been scientifically proven to be healthier than either black or green tea because it contains high levels of anthocyanin, a compound found in reddish purple plants like blueberries, raspberries, purple grapes, etc. that is known to have powerful antioxidant properties. Kenyan purple tea also contains antioxidant polyphenol that is not found in any other tea varieties
Kenyan purple tea has shown to be effective against widespread chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, hypertension, and neurological ailments. Scientific studies also show that Kenyan purple tea has more antioxidant activity than green tea or any other tea, with a radical scavenging rate over 51 percent more effective, and antioxidant activity twice as high as green tea.
That’s not all, drinking Kenyan purple tea supports weight loss through the inhibition of lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fats for digestion and assimilation, as well as improving lean body mass and providing anti-aging benefits to the skin.
The Kenyan purple tea is a sub-species variety of the common tea leaf Camellia sinensis of the Assamica type. It is now being grown commercially at high elevations in Kenya where it is able to absorb more UV-rays from the sun which allows it to produce more of the beneficial, natural compound anthocyanin which gives it the purple color. With a naturally low caffeine content, the Kenyan purple tea also has a refreshing and unique thirst-quenching taste and it has no additives and no known allergens.
Teawolf, the beverage industry leader in tea extraction processes and Allen Flavors, a beverage formulation powerhouse, both based in New Jersey, have partnered with Mr. Kabaki to develop the ready to drink bottled Kenyan purple tea. It comes in a recyclable 500 ml PET bottle and has four different flavours – Unsweet, Sweet, Sweet with lemon flavor and Sweet with apple flavor. Alternative Laboratories, a nutraceutical and co-packing facility in Naples, Florida is handling the quality control and bottling of the Kenyan purple tea.
“10% of our pre-tax profits will be donated to Kijiji Medical, our nonprofit hospital in Naivasha, Kenya,” Kabaki said. “My hope is to help improve access to better quality healthcare among the poor, underserved and disenfranchised communities in the remote areas of Kenya. Kijiji started as a small dialysis clinic and we are currently working on expanding it into in a fully-fledged hospital by bringing in additional medical services like cancer care, vision care, dental, blood analysis, radiography, lab services and pharmaceutical which are virtually nonexistent in rural Kenya.” added Mr. Kabaki.
Kabaki says the purple tea can now be bought as a ready to drink bottled tea in a 12-case pack online. “I am currently working on getting our Kenyan purple tea packaged in tea bags as well as loose leaf tea for the retail market,” says Kabaki. According to him, the new tea will be a game changer in the global tea industry, being the healthiest type of tea ever introduced in the market.