How to make sunrouge, green tea with pink color

Learn how to prepare this magical tea with a dazzling colour

Cup of Sunrouge pink tea

Sunrouge is a green tea type with a beautiful pink hue and fascinating color changing properties.
Discover in this article how to enjoy this tea!

What is sunrouge?

Sunrouge, also known as Sun Rouge or purple tea, is an unusual Japanese tea with a light pink color.
But despite its pink color, sunrouge is a green tea. 

This tea was deliberately developed by researchers who wanted to make a tea with the highest amount of antioxidants (catechin and anthocyanin) as possible. 

For this purpose, they made a variation of the cultivar (abbreviation for “cultivated variety”) Cha Chuukanbohon Nou 6, which is a crossing between the green tea types Camellia sinensis and Camellia taliensis.

After 8 years of research, Sunrouge was finally registered as a new tea on its own in 2009.

In addition of being still a very new, quite unknown tea, sunrouge is hard to find on the market because it only grows on a small island in the South of Japan.
The tea leaf from sunrouge also needs a very meticulous growing and harvesting process to keep its antioxidant properties intact.
This makes this tea a real delicacy.

Why is sunrouge pink?

Color comparison between sunrouge green tea with and without lemon

Sunrouge is a treat as well for tea lovers as for color enthusiasts.
While the leaves of the sunrouge tea plant have a reddish color, they turn very dark green (almost purple or blue) when dried.
And the brewed tea has a light pink color with a grayish hue that will delight your senses. 

What makes sunrouge tea even more fun is that when you add lemon, it gets a more intense and brighter pink color.

This signature color comes from the high anthocyanin content in the sunrouge tea leaves.
Anthocyanins are a type of polyphenols found in plants like berries and grapes.
This natural pigment, responsible for the red, blue or purple color in some fruits and vegetables may offer a potent protection against free radicals

What is sun rouge good for?

The properties of sunrouge are still being explored, but it could have anti-inflammatory characteristics.
It might also be helpful for those who suffer from bowel issues or colitis. 
Its caffeine content could help fight fatigue and some studies suggest that it may help improve vision, reduce visual stress, and even combat night blindness! 

Sun Rouge was created for therapeutic purposes, like other “functional teas” bred to have enhanced health effects, such as GABA tea or benifuuki.
This means, the focus while developing these plants was placed on getting higher levels of some ingredients (for example antioxidants like egcg and green tea polyphenol) rather than on its taste.
As a result, these new teas have interesting properties but they may not taste so great compared with other popular green tea varieties like sencha or matcha.

How does sunrouge taste?

Cup with pink tea

My first impression when drinking sunrouge was: “wow, is this a dry flavor…”. 

However, while it may be a little bitter at first taste, I still found sunrouge a pleasant tea to drink. 

Sunrouge has a grassy, slightly fruity taste with a delicate floral fragrance, which made for an overall enjoyable drinking experience despite its astringency.

It’s also unlike most other Japanese teas because it pairs well with fruit like lemon juice which can make for some refreshing combinations!

How much caffeine is in sunrouge?

On average, sunrouge has a little bit more caffeine than other green teas such as sencha.
Like black tea, it usually clocks in between 50-70 mg per cup depending on the harvest time of the crops and how you brew it.

How to make sunrouge tea

I love how this pink tea taste good both brewed with hot water or cold brewed.

No matter if steeping in hot or cold/room temperature water, you’ll need about 1-2 teaspoons of loose leaves sunrouge tea per cup.

Time needed: 2 minutes.

How to prepare sunrouge with hot water

  1. Cover with hot water

    Pour water heated to around 158°F (70°C) over the tea.

  2. Steep

    Let it steep for 1-2 minutes before removing the tea leaves.
    It’s important not over-steep the leaves as it can become too strong. 

  3. Re-steep if desired

    You can reuse the tea for a second steep.Sunrouge first and second steep

How to cold brew sunrouge 

This is my favorite way to enjoy this tea.
With this method, it’s easy as pie to get a delicious iced tea and there isn’t any risk of making the tea too bitter from steeping in hot water for too long.
Also, like cold brewed green tea, cold brewed sunrouge has less caffeine than when hot brewed.

  1. Put the tea and water (cold or room temperature) on a recipient. 
  2. Let it steep on the fridge overnight (or for 8 hours).
  3. Remove the leaves. 

Your tea is ready to drink, but if you add some drops of lemon juice to it, you’ll get even a more dazzling pink.

Cup and teapot with pink tea
5 from 4 votes

How to make naturally pink tea (sunrouge)

A Japanese green tea with color-changing pink glow
Print Recipe
Resting time:8 hrs
Total Time:8 hrs

Equipment

  • A pot or any other recipient
  • Tea strainer

Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoon sunrouge tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  • Put the tea and the water (cold or room temperature) in a recipient
  • Steep on the fridge over night
  • If you want a more intense pink, add some lemon juice before serving

Notes

You can also make sunrouge with hot water; just be careful not to over-steep it or you’ll get a very bitter tea!:
  1. Heat water to around 70°C (158 °F)
  2. Pour the water over the tea 
  3. Let steep for 1-2 minutes
  4. Strain the tea 

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: green tea, Japanese tea, lemon
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 2kcal

SUMMARY

  • Sunrouge is a quite new tea type, developed to contain lots of the antioxidants also found in blueberries (anthocyanin). This rare tea only get harvested in a small area in Japan.
  • While it’s technically a green tea, it has a nice pink color that gets brighter when adding a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Because it has a bitter flavor, it tastes better cold brewed.

Sunrouge is a little known new type of tea that has a beautiful color and may offer some health benefits. It’s not as common as other types of teas but it’s worth trying if you get the opportunity to do so! Will you give sunrouge a shot? 

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m so happy I’ve come across this post, there isn’t so much information out there about sunrouge and this was very helpful.

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