Ceylon Wild Old Tree Vanilla Black Tea 'Rod'

Tea type
Black Tea
Ceylon Black Tea, Whole Vanilla Bean
Chocolate, Malt, Molasses, Plum, Silky, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla
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Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
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From What-Cha

A unique bagless teabag tea which is composed of wild tea leaves with a vanilla pod in the centre imparting a wonderful natural vanilla taste to accompany the smooth sweet molasses notes of the tea.

A tea as unique as it gets in more way than one! The leaves are collected from a former tea estate called Warnagala which was planted over 140 years ago and abandoned for 130 years. The abandoned Assamica tea bushes have since become trees which are now 40-50 feet (12-15 meters) in height.

Sourced direct from Forest Hill Tea, a Sri Lankan tea producer who have invested heavily in creating a sustainable tea industry in the local area in the foothills of Adam’s Peak.

They were established with the explicit goal of maximising local income generation while promoting environmental stewardship. To that end they:

Employ local women in their tea factory and profit share with them
Pay premium prices to local small holder farmers for their tea leaves
Encourage the farmers to preserve and restore the local forest
Tasting Notes:
- Unique form factor
- Smooth texture
- Sweet lingering ripe plum and molasses notes with an incredible natural vanilla taste

Harvest: September 2023

Origin: Foothills of Adam’s Peak, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri Lanka
Elevation: 2900 feet
Sourced: Direct from the farmer

Brewing Advice:
- Heat water to roughly 95°C/203°F
- Use 1 rod per large mug/teapot
- Brew for 3-5 minutes

About What-Cha View company

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1 Tasting Note

1708 tasting notes

I got a few humble samples from What-Cha. I thought about more, but I’m really happy to have gotten some unique blacks I wanted to try. I usually don’t like Ceylons, but this looked different enough as a eco-friendly tea without a teabag. I also like whole vanilla beans, so my basic self would like it.

Making it, it’s like a cigaretto, then it opens after hot water like a witches broom. I need a pick me up while I grade, so I put some in a kyusu and brewed it western for 5 minutes. Smooth vanilla smell, and smooth vanilla taste like a fine chocolate desert. The tea is naturally sweet with a little bit of plum, and a dark molasses-y character. It does approach chocolate territory, but that’s more from the sweeter maltier elements of the black tea combining with the vanilla. Essentially, a really good vanilla black tea….that has actually lasted more rebrews that are essentially grandpa brews of 4, 5, and 6 minutes. The flavor has slightly lightened on the vanilla, but it’s still there. I get more plum, malt, and tea in the later steeps. I’m going to brew some more up, hoping I get more.

I’m regretting not getting the 5 rods instead of the too. I really like this one. I’m impressed it has more dimension than some Ceylons I’ve had, and as per usual, Alistair and his company pick teas that tend to be less astringent and bitter. This one has just the right amount of bitterness. It might be able to take milk, but if you are a tea snob, it’s better straight because you might miss out on the cool plum and molasses notes in my opinion. I’m not ready to give it a numerical score, but 4 stars minmum out of 5 for me.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Molasses, Plum, Silky, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla


I got one of these rods myself because of the vanilla. Now I’m wishing I bought more. :)

Martin Bednář

I have seen there those and I wondered how to brew them and how they are like. But then I remembered it is UK shop and that means more troubles than happiness.

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