Even though they are grown from the same variety of Camellia sinensis as the Assam teas, Ceylon teas are the lightweight members of the Orange Pekoe clan, and more likely to be described as "brisk" -- their tannins come through more easily since they lack the "malty" or "biscuity" texture/flavor of the straight Assam teas. I understand Ceylon teas are often used in black tea blends; drinking a straight Ceylon like this is a purist's enterprise.
I don't think I'm a Ceylon purist. This tea -- even though brewed for 5'30" -- reminded me of the weakish brew served by my favorite cranky old English guy, my friend Sophie's dad, who wears a grey wool sweater he's darned himself with many different colors of yarn, reserves feelings of devotion for very few things including the BBC, and swears he can tell the difference between a cup of tea whose milk has been poured in at the bottom of the cup and one whose milk was added after the tea was poured. Milk-first is his preference. "The toffs had milk pitchers, but my class had none of that fancy business, so we had to pour in the milk first." With each cuppa, the professor honors his roots and snubs the rich capitalist b@stards.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
|Tea Plantation in West Java|
Today's breakfast tea. An Orange Pekoe; the folks at Upton say that "'S' stands for 'Souchong,' a larger leaf on the tea plant. I haven't tried tea from Indonesia before, but liked Upton's description of this tea as "refined, with a sweetness and delicate caramel flavor note." They also mentioned it was grown in West Java at an elevation over 1500 meters (nearly 5,000 feet), and I do like a trip to the mountains. I brewed one cupweight (thanks to my new digital tea scale from Upton) in 6 oz water just off the boil for 3'30". I tasted it without milk, and it seemed interesting, but a bit raw-edged from the tannin. A little bit of milk really helped and made this into a very satisfying cup of tea: it was flavorful but not heavy at all, with an interesting note of something that reminded me of chocolate, and a very smooth finish. Really a nice way to start the day, as though someone you like has chucked you gently on the cheek with the nappy grain side of a tan leather glove.