Review: Julia Ruffin Project Ltd. Papaya Leaf Tea

Herbal Tea, Julia Ruffin Project Limited, Papaya Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!"To sum of the flavor: slightly vegetal, slightly botanical, slightly fruity, and a hint of medicinal."
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8/10
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papyaleavesThis young papaya leaf tea definitely ranks among the most unique and memorable teas that I have reviewed over the years. As the name suggests, this tea is made from the young leaves and stems of papaya plants.The Julia Ruffin website emphasizes that these leaves are hand picked from young plants, not large trees, and are dried in a solar-powered dehydrator. These leaves have been researched to contain numerous compounds that have wonderful medicinal benefits including fighting HIV, cancer, and malaria. The product website contains a wealth of information about the health benefits of this tea but I won't get into the details in this review. Along with my sample of the young papaya leaf tea, I was also given a sample of cut papaya leaf herb to compare with it. I did a side-by-side brewing of these two teas to assess the difference. The first thing I will say is that it is VERY important to follow the brewing guidelines (which I at first could not find). I first used boiling water, and wow, that is a huge mistake. The tea is harsh, bitter, and pretty much undrinkable. But when the tea is prepared as recommended, by infusing the leaves in boiling water allowed to cool to 155 degrees F, it makes a world of difference. The Julia Ruffin website describes this tea as being similar to but sweeter than green tea. I would have to say that this is generally a pretty good description of these tea. I do notice that it has a bit of a medicinal flavor but it is not over-poweringor off-putting. The sweetness of this tea can best be characterized as a general fruitiness, although I really don't think one could say that it tastes at all like the papaya fruit. To sum of the flavor: slightly vegetal, slightly botanical, slightly fruity, and a hint of medicinal.
The young papaya leaf tea was visually comparable to the cut papaya leaf herb I was given as a comparison product. But that is where the similarity ends. The latter version has a much harsher and astringent flavor profile with a very odd (kind of peppery, kind of licorice-like) aftertaste. It is not nearly as smooth as the young papaya leaf tea. I think that papaya leaf tea, in general, would be an acquired taste, but the second version I tasted would certainly require a little more time and tolerance to develop the taste for it.
I obviously can't get into assessing the purported health benefits of this tea, as I am reviewing it solely on the basis of its flavor. And in that regard, I can say this is quite an unusual tea but is not altogether wholly unlike a sweet green tea. I will again stress the importance of brewing this tea correctly so as to not scald the leaves and produce a bitter and undrinkable tea. I could not find any information about the price of this tea other than a statement saying that the tea's high price was justified by the cost of growing young plants, harvesting by hand, and preparing the leaves in the chosen method. But from this, I can assume this tea is more expensive than, say, Lipton. But if this tea does truly have the health benefits that are described, this is a tasty way to help prevent numerous serious maladies.

— To purchase Julia Ruffin Project Ltd. Papaya Leaf Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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