Good morning, dear tea friends! As you can see, my morning tea is not a first flush Darjeeling this week (are some of you saying “oh, thank goodness!” haha), in fact, it’s not a Darjeeling at all. Gracing my cup on this bright, blue sky morning is a rich, dark black tea from New Vithanakande in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
This tea leaf is an FBOPF Ex Spl leaf style, designated for its long, wiry, twisted leaf and unique for a Ceylon tea. You know the tea that comes in teabags from the grocery store, the kind that we might have drunk when we were sick as kids? Well, that leaf style is called “fannings”, a very finely-particled leaf that fits into those bags easily and steeps very quickly. Astoundingly, this leaf has that same designation which is what the last “F” stands for. It’s because this skinny leaf can fit through the smallest sieves during the leaf sorting process. Amazing, huh?
This tea is grown in the Ratnapura district, located in southern Sri Lanka. I’ve read that this district is the home of gem mining as well as a crossroads where hill country and plains come together. This tea is processed at a factory supporting 6,000 small landholders and their families. You can read more about it here. So, this tea is named after the place that processes the tea not the tea garden.
What a gorgeous color!
I steeped the leaf for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.
The aroma of the dry leaf is that classic smell that everyone thinks of as the “tea smell”. For me, it brings back comforting memories of my Mom making me tea when I was a child.
The flavor is rich and full-bodied, like an Assam, but with that classic brightness tang of a Ceylon. The tang fills my mouth and lingers on even after I take a sip. There is a thickness to the tea liquor that reminds me of dark chocolate. This tea would definitely stand up well to milk and sweetener.
As I drink the last few sips from my teacup, I look forward to an afternoon spent in my garden, planting marigold, cosmos, dahlia and daisies. Tomorrow I’m going to go see the new Star Trek movie in IMAX, an event I’ve been excitedly awaiting for months. Have a wonderful week and enjoy your tea!
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust