Sampling UVA Ceylon Black Tea

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by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)

UPDATE: I enlisted Blue Betty (no relation to Brown Betty style teapots) to give this tea another go and steep it up by the potful. The vendor had been rather generous in the amount they sent. Boiling water, 5 minutes. Turned out strongly flavored and raisiny as expected. Great with milk and sweetener, too!

My humans like Ceylon black teas, generally speaking (some have been better than others over the years), so the offer from the vendor to try some of theirs was irresistible. The company is based in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon and thus the term used for the tea), but has operations in various countries. They are close to the source, though, so this tea promised to be rather exciting. On with the steeping!

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The tea came in a specially made box with a photo of elephants on it (not sure what they have to do with tea except for being able to trample through tea gardens and endanger the humans working there – but I digress). The little pull of strip on the top didn’t come off properly, so my humans had to rip it instead. Inside was a pouch that was pretty unique, being printed with a lot of information that you could read through while drinking the tea, I guess. It was tightly packed in the box but came out easily. The dry tea inside had that wonderful Ceylon signature aroma – raisiny and rich. Mr. Kettle was filled with water and put on the hotplate to boil. The dry tea was put in me. I infused those tea leaf pieces for a full 5 minutes.

The moment of truth had come.

My humans poured out the liquid and inhaled the aroma of the liquid. Very light, more so than expected based on the aroma of the dry leaves. The liquid was also lighter than expected, not a darker more ruby color, but a lighter orange-ish color. They sipped. Light flavor, smooth, no bitterness, but no rich raisiny flavor that they had expected. Things were looking a bit askance. So I did a second steeping, this time for 5.5 minutes. Still a lighter flavor, but a good mouthfeel (smooth as before) and no bitterness, plus a clean aftertaste.

Here’s where things got a bit divided. It happens this way sometimes. My ‘he’ human like the tea and that it was light in flavor and aroma, saying it was a great after-meal tea to cleanse the palate. My ‘she’ human said yes it was nice as is but way too light for milk and sweetener. She likes it when you humans have both options with a tea like this and has also come to expect such versatility. But she also had to agree with the ‘he’ human that the tea was overall quite satisfactory.

Phew! Conflagration avoided!

Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.

© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text

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