MONKS BLEND (Black Tea with natural flavors) Country of Origin: Sri Lanka Region: Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula or Uva districts Shipping Port: Colombo Grade: OP (Orange Pekoe) Altitude: 4800 – 7600 feet above sea level Manufacture Type: Orthodox Cup Characteristics: Medium bodied and flavoury with piquant Ceylon character. Blended with natural flavor oils of vanilla and grenadine which impart a smooth and unique heavenly flavor.
Infusion: Bright and Coppery.
Ingredients: Black tea, Calendula petals, Daisy white, Natural flavors.
Information: Certainly a ‘mysterious’ blend despite being a delicious mixture of grenadine and vanilla. Perhaps first created by Tibetan monks – infused with universal life energy, this tea is a perfect all day treat; sweet and toasty with a touch of dryness and a subtle bouquet. Originally, it is believed that this blend was developed by monks to support their life’s desires, especially the work that they did all by hand. Tea is an item that these monks considered good for the soul. Franciscan monks used to drink this tea to keep them awake during long periods of meditation. It is fair to say that this is an ancient and harmonious blend, as it is also used by Buddhist and Taoist monks.
What type of tea do we use, how do we flavor the tea and why do we use natural flavors? Firstly… we only use high grown teas from the top 3 tea growing regions of Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva. These three high-grown districts produce flavorful teas that have classic ‘Ceylon’ tea character which is noted by floral bouquet and flavor notes, touches of mild astringency, bright coppery color and, most importantly – perfect for use as the base tea of our flavored teas. (We have tested teas from various other origins around the world as base stock for our flavored teas, but none of these teas made the grade.) Dimbula and the western estates of Nuwara Eliya have a major quality peak during Jan/Feb, whereas Uva and the eastern estates of Nuwara Eliya have their peak in July/Aug. This ‘dual peak period’ allow us to buy the best for our flavored tea blends several times during the year, ensuring top quality and freshness.
Secondly… we use flavoring oils not crystals to give the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.
Thirdly, we specify natural flavors. High quality tea tastes good and natural flavors do not mask the natural taste of the high grown Ceylon tea. (The norm for many making flavored tea is to use overpowering artificial flavors which can be used to hide lower quality tea). Natural flavors do not leave an aftertaste giving the tea a clean and true character. It should be noted that natural flavors tend to be somewhat ‘soft ‘ and the flavors slightly muted, but for many this is a refreshing change and one of the desired attributes of our naturally flavored teas.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!