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Pungent flowery character with good body. Takes milk well, highlighting the coppery cup. St Coombs is from the Dimbula District one of Ceylon’s premiere tea estates
St. Coombs. If the name sounds anything but Sri Lankan to you, you’d be on to something. This exceptional tea estate is actually named after a small fishing village in Scotland, probably the birthplace of one of the original planters. During the peak years of the British Empire homesick settlers from the UK frequently bestowed their new homes with the names of the ones they left behind. Somewhere along the line a proud St. Coombsian decided to trade in his fishing nets for pruning shears, board a steamer, head for the Far East and stake a claim. The rest as they say, is history. He could never have known that more than 120 years later the estate he helped plant would still be producing tea – and fantastic tea at that.
Simply put, St. Coombs, situated 1328 meters above sea level in the western Dimbula highlands of Sri Lanka, is an exceptional tea garden. The estate is ISO 9001 certified and year after year produces some of Sri Lanka’s finest export teas, consistently fetching high prices at the Colombo auctions. St. Coombs’ success is in part attributed to an ace in the hole in the form of the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka, the headquarters and laboratory of which are located on the estate. (The institute was established at St. Coombs in 1938.) That said, it is impossible to discount the influence of the exceptional regional climactic conditions on the estate’s output. (Conditions made the estate the perfect choice when the Institute was looking for a location to set up shop.)
From January to March, the Western Quality season, Monsoon rains interspersed with dry periods and cool nights combine to produce a large leaf with high sap content. The leaf blooms vigorously each morning ripe for the plucking, a phenomenon known as the flush. It is during this time that St. Coombs’ finest teas are produced. These tend to be exceptionally aromatic, light in the cup with a thick medium body and long finish. St. Coombs’ Flowery Pekoe is a shining example of this excellent quality. In general, FP teas are laborious to produce and require hand sorting in order to ensure an even grade. As such, they are produced in limited quantity and can be difficult to obtain. Our long-term relationship with the estate allows us to secure a good supply year after year. We can confidently say that a freshly brewed cup of St. Coombs’ stands alone as one of Sri Lanka’s premiere tea offerings.
This FB Flowery Pekoe Black Tea from the Dimbula, Sri Lanka Region really fits the bills as a Luxury Black Tea in their ever-growing catalog of tea offerings over at Culinary Teas!
I drink all of my teas ‘straight-up’ with no milk or additives and from what I have read it’s completely acceptable to drink this luxury black tea this way but it also takes well to milk or non-dairy milks if you wish. I infused the tea leaves for about 3 minutes – but – the product description says you can infusion them for up to 7 minutes if that is your preference. The post-infusion liquor color is that of a yellow-brown tending towards golden.
Once I started sipping this tea – I KNEW it was for me! A nice, solid black tea with sweet florally notes and a more perfume-like flower flavor on the end sip. It’s slightly astringent and overall well rounded. This is a great black tea to have on hand for any time of day!