This was my most recent sipdown as I finished what I had of this tea earlier in the afternoon. You know it’s funny that the opportunity to try this tea and some other Ceylonese offerings came along when it did because I’d been getting steadily more curious about Ceylonese tea over the course of the year, and then Lasith at teakruthi came along and offered the opportunity to try some free samples in exchange for Steepster reviews. Naturally, I jumped at this opportunity. I was going to be setting aside some money to purchase some new Ceylonese teas in the fall months, but I figured if I could get some free Ceylonese tea instead, then I may as well do that and use the money I was going to be setting aside to make a few other tea purchases instead. More tea, especially more free tea, is never a bad thing, and quite frankly, I’d been getting a bit bored of Chinese black teas and needed something new and exciting to keep me going during the season’s long, grueling work days. This tea certainly fit the bill.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 3 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to steeping, but I did follow up the aforementioned 3 minute infusion with a 5 minute infusion and a 7 minute infusion.
Prior to the first infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of honey, malt, pine, straw, orange zest, and chocolate. I noted new aromas of cream, steamed milk, and toast afterwards. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of pine, straw, toast, cream, honey, malt, orange zest, chocolate, caramel, prune, steamed milk, and roasted almond that were accompanied by faint hints of apricot and slightly stronger hints of beeswax, minerals, earth, and leather. Each swallow yielded menthol, black pepper, and tobacco notes that imparted a combination of prickly and cooling sensations on the tongue and back of the throat. I could also pick up the expected coppery tang that seems to be so common to Kandy black teas.
The second infusion saw the tea’s bouquet greatly soften. Roasted almond scents emerged alongside stronger aromas of cream, malt, and steamed milk. A slightly amplified earthiness came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of malt, steamed milk, roasted almond, and cream. New notes of sweet potato emerged, and I also was still able to discern some lingering honey and caramel notes as well as slightly muted black pepper, menthol, and tobacco impressions after each swallow. Interestingly, I picked up far less of a coppery note in the liquor, though I could still make it out to a limited extent.
The third and final infusion saw the liquor lose virtually all of its bouquet. On the palate, the liquor was soft and subtly malty and creamy. The previously subtle minerality was greatly amplified at this point, and much of the liquor’s other notes had either completely disappeared or were so muted as to be just barely perceptible at most times.
This tea was a pleasant surprise for me. It was deeper and more complex than I was expecting, and it also displayed more longevity than I’m used to getting out of many Ceylonese black teas. I could easily tell that this was a Kandy black tea due to it frequently emphasizing body and texture over individual flavor components and the fact that it displayed that unmistakable coppery note. This being a flowery fannings grade tea, I was not expecting much, but this tea delivered on all fronts. Though I would have liked to see greater separation between some of the flavor components at several points, this was still an incredibly likable offering that would probably be especially enjoyable for drinkers who look for a good deal of body and texture in their brews but who also appreciate strong aromas and flavors. Essentially what I’m getting at here is this struck me as a very well-rounded Ceylonese black tea that had a bit of everything to offer. It would be well worth a try for those who are looking for a great value black tea suitable for afternoon consumption.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Black Pepper, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Menthol, Metallic, Milk, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pine, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Tobacco