Sun Rouge tea is the newest Japanese green tea created for specific therapeutic purposes. It comes from a medium greenish-purple plant that turns red when it reaches its peak. This new green tea is loaded with antioxidants, has higher levels of caffeine than others of its kind, and boasts a fruity flavor that makes it unique. No wonder it took many years of research for Sun Rouge tea to appear on the market!
The breeding process for this new green tea started in 2001 in the greenhouse of the Makurazaki Tea Research Station when two of the most common green tea plants (Camellia Taliensis and Camellia Sinensis) were crossed. The goal was to develop a new cultivar with a high content of both anthocyanins and catechins for an increased antioxidant effect. The endeavor took researchers more than eight years, but in 2009 they finally were able to do it. The new Japanese tea was registered as “Sun Rouge’” tea.
Nowadays, this particular purple sencha is still quite new and can be hard to find. It only grows on a small island in the Kagoshima province of southern Japan and requires a rigorous cultivation and harvesting process in order to keep its antioxidant properties undamaged. This new green tea has to be harvested three different times of the year: The first picking takes place approximately on April 20, the second harvest takes place around mid-June and the final pick at the beginning of August. Once harvested, the fresh Sun Rouge tea leaves are gently steamed and meticulously dried.
Sun Rouge tea is becoming part of the latest tea trends for its anti-inflammatory characteristics, high levels of caffeine, and anti-fatigue properties. Studies have shown that it is an excellent alternative new green tea drink for those who struggle with bowel issues and colitis. It has also caught the attention of researchers because it seems to be highly effective at improving vision, reducing visual stress, and night blindness.
When it comes to flavor, Sun Rouge tea can be a bit bitter but with fruity herbaceous notes and a nutty aroma. This is common with other green teas that are high in anthocyanin. For sensitive palates, light or cold brewed tea is recommended to reduce bitterness.
Sun Rouge tea’s color can be quite a delight. It is highly sensitive to acid, so if you brew it with hot water, you’ll get a dark greyish tea, but if you add a couple of drops of lemon, it will turn pink and then an intense rouge. Due to its particular dyeing qualities, this new green tea has also been used to create fancy ombre tea cocktails that will surprise any color lover!