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Move over unicorn latte — Pure Leaf’s color-changing tea is the next IGstar

The tea maker’s new NYC pop-up is serving up a color-changing brew.
Iced tea maker Pure Leaf's iced purple tea
Pure Leaf is bringing a new drink to the table: color-changing Iced Purple Tea. Photo Credit: Daniel Krieger

Welcome to the Pure Leaf Tea House at 79 Greene St., where tea-drinking morphs into art.  

At this new pop-up, located at 79 Green St., mixologists grind fresh turmeric, ginger and cinnamon for speciality concoctions like an Iced Golden chai while tea connoisseurs and curious bystanders geek out over the perfect cup (or glass) of tea.

“Our focus is on the experience — and to immerse people in the world of tea," says Ali LaFleur, associate manager of brand communications PepsiCo.

Pure Leaf, one of PepsiCo’s most popular brands, has been sold on shelves since 2013, but the Soho location, open through Sept. 24, is the brand’s first pop-up. Customers can choose between 10 drinks ranging from $5 to $8 in three categories: Indian chai tea, Japanese matcha tea and American iced tea.

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While its most popular drink might be the Iced Mint Mojito, the popup has gained attention for its buzzy color-changing purple tea.

Each morning, this purple beverage is freshly brewed. A mixologist pours the cooled version into a glass. Then comes the magic.

“There’s that theatric moment where he adds a little bit of lime juice,” says Alex White, the "tea master" for Pure Leaf. “You can see in front of your eyes that slight, pink tinge turning into a more vivid, purple color.”

The color change is triggered by the combination of anthocyanins — a natural substance found in purple tea — and lime juice, explains White, who also has a degree in biochemistry.

When I took my first sip of Iced Purple Tea, one dominant, overpowering flavor hit my taste buds: fruit. Don’t get me wrong — the drink was cold, refreshing and steeped with the perfect combination of sweetness and tartness. But where was the tea essence? This tasted more like fancy fruit juice. Either way, the experience is worth it just to watch the tea-making magic.