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Sri Lanka Tea

Ruhuna Tea from Zesta Tea . . . . . .

The Ruhuna (sometimes spelled Ruhunu) tea from Zesta is part of their regional tea tasting set.  This black tea came in a beautiful red patterned box, and I’m tempted to try the rest of their regional tea set just for the eye-catching packaging alone. Beneath the red box is a foil bag of tea, so I popped it open and started brewing.

The dry leaves were small and tightly rolled, almost like pellets.  When I put my nose into the bag of tea the leaves were very fragrant, with both earthy almost-tobacco notes complimented by bright lemony scents.

In brewing, the leaves unfurled and quickly produced a dark and potent cup of tea.  The taste is definitely that of a strong black tea, but not so strong that it makes your mouth pucker.  This is where the Ruhuna blend stands out. It doesn’t have the fuzzy and chocolatey mouthfeel of some assam or malty breakfast teas.  But it is not sharp or bitter like other brighter black teas I’ve tried, even after a longer steep time.

Ruhuna is powered by its citrus flavors, tasting as sunny and lemony as you can without adding flavoring or lemon peel to the tea.  Beneath that first flush of lemon, there are sweeter orange notes, all supported by a a robust and figgy black tea base.

Sweet without being artificial, and bright without being too tart, it is easy to enjoy such an uplifting and drinkable tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Zesta Tea
Description:

Enjoy our regional tea packs featuring teas from five tea growing regions of Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. This variety from such a small island is what made Ceylon tea famous – try it – from the low grown Ruhuna teas to the high grown Nuwara Eliya – a true journey in Ceylon tea, packaged in teabags for convenience and offered in a pine wood box. Perfect for gifting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

No. 23 Kandy Black Tea from Steven Smith Teamaker

KandyBoxTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Steven Smith Teamaker

Tea Description:

Named after one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka, Kandy brings together full and flavory Dimbulla with highly aromatic and intense Uva and lightly scented high-grown Nuwara Eliya. A tea made for sipping with pleasure all day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I got Kandy no.23 black tea from a friend recently, and with the recent news of Steven Smith himself passing I wanted to pay homage to him by drinking one of his creations. He had many successful companies, one you might have heard of too. If anyone has had any of Tazo’s teas while they were still at Starbucks, raise you hand. If you want to read more about his legacy, there is a great article here.

Kandy is a blend of three different Ceylon teas. I’m going to disappoint anyone who thinks that this tea is going to tastes like actual candy; this tea is named after a city in Sri Lanka, not after a sweet treat. However, I am convinced that there is something sweet about this tea. In the large square sachet, smells of malted milk balls and raisinets waft into my nose. Smells like classic movie theater candy. Yum. Let’s get this started!

Now, I am not one to follow directions on packages, but reading the one on the outside of the sachet I just had to pay attention. The directions are as follows:

“Bring filtered water to a roiling boil. Steep 5 minutes, while googling the ornate Palace of the Sacred Tooth.”

Now you have my attention.

So google I did. According to Wikipedia, The Temple of the Tooth is a Buddhist temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. In that temple is contained the sacred tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because whoever holds the tooth holds the governing power of the country. Kandy was the last capital of Sri Lanka, so it gets the tooth. Huh. Quite a history lesson for my daily cuppa.

Whilst ruminating on this, I sipped this tea in silence. I got the classic malt notes, as well as bright citrus and raisin notes. It’s smooth without having any trace of astringency. While this is not the most interesting and unique blend on the market today, there is something just so nostalgic about black tea from India and Sri Lanka. It tastes like a hot summer day with a refreshing cup of sweetened sun tea with lemon. It’s a cool rainy morning with a dash of milk. This would make for a great daily drinker for anyone who loves the mellow yet rich profiles of Ceylon teas.

The thing I like the most about this tea is the history that this company wants you to know about this tea. I really enjoy getting to know everything I can about the leaves in my cup. What are it’s hobbies? What music is it into? Is it named after a city who is famous for owning a tooth? This tea demands to be understood. And Steven Smith Tea maker is sure to get it’s point across.

Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up from Cuppa Crew Tea Company

Tim Finnegan's Wake-Up From Cuppa Crew Tea Company
Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up From Cuppa Crew Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Cuppa Crew Tea Company

Tea Description:

Top’o’the’mornin’ our pasty Irish butts. If you need a kick with a kick to start your day (or wake you up after lunch), here’s your tea, good ma’am or sir.

We start with our hearty Irish Breakfast blend and add a drop of the craythur — Irish Cream (cream + Irish whiskey). The resulting cuppa is bold, creamy, sweet, and just reminiscent of a fine Irish whiskey. Feel the burn (in a fabulous way)! Uisce beatha (“water of life”), indeed.

The name of the blend is borrowed from an old Irish street ballad by the name of, “Finnegan’s Wake,” embedded below. We thought it appropriate!

Ingredients: Black Tea, Blackberry Leaves, Cornflower, Sunflower, Calendula Petals, Natural Flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up from Cuppa Crew Tea Company tastes like a good merlot in my opinion. There is not a thing wrong with that! It’s no surprise it is after all an Irish inspired blend and since I have Irish blood in me I think I am politically clearned to say the Irish do love their alcohol although not necessarily wine. Okay now if I have not offended everyone I will continue. Alright so maybe my Irish blood is not thick enough for a stout whisky and perhaps this is spot on for Irish Whisky but to me I keep tasting that wine note, although I am far more partial to wine than whiskey. I hope my ancestors are not turning over in their graves.

The creamy element to this tea is lovely. Its not too creamy that you feel like your drinking something heavy or cloying but it does evoke that Irish Cream flavor quite well.

I do not usually do this but I did add some sugar and a splash of milk half way through the cup as it is recommended by Cuppa Crew even though the tea was rockin without it!

Sure I do think the sugar and milk, only a splash, do help highlight some of the notes in the tea, especially the more savory notes of calendula, a wonderful healing herb, but I believe I may prefer this one just as is, why mess with something that is good on its own? Still it is nice that we have choices and its great both ways!

The dry leaf is pretty with sprinkles of purple, and gold color from the calendula, and cornflower, and it has a lovely aroma. The steeped leaf expands to at least twice its size. A note on the leaf from Cuppa Crew:

We use only orthodox tea leaves in both our standard Irish Breakfast and in Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up, so the texture of the leaves is beautiful and consistent. We also like the somewhat mellower flavor of the full leaf versus a CTC blend.

The folks at Cuppa Crew are awesome people with in my opinion a good sense of humor and good nature. I enjoy reading their web site and blog with the quirky sense of humor and antidotes.

Check them out  and give a nod to a new and upcoming tea company!

As for last notes on this tea … I have never had a tea like it! Truly unique and original! Kudos Cuppa Crew!