Sample package label: “Ceylon Black”

Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/tea/black-tea/ceylon-black.html:
“Black Orange Pekoe, Ultra high grade, Extra long leaf size, Fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus and cucumber notes and a dry finish.

Details
Our Ceylon teas come from the very best sources in Sri Lanka. Grown in the Highlands of Ceylon, this amazing black tea is the finest on the planet. Picked from the Camellia Sinensis plant this high grade Orange Pekoe leaf yields a fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus tones. Hints of fresh picked grapefruit and cucumber with a dry grainy finish. This is our absolute favorite un-blended black tea leaf. CERTIFIED ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE, KOSHER tea leaves."

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.
“Steep Time is around 2 minutes. Again, this part is totally up to you. Many people steep for less time and then re-steep a second time.”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer. Brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid:
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This tea has a strong pleasant fragrance that reminds me of licorice.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: Smooth, bright & full-bodied with notes of cucumber, a light floral aroma, and a dry finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

4-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

Impression: This Ceylon is a smooth full-bodied tea with hints of cucumber and without any bitterness or astringency. My cup was empty before I knew it. Very well done!

This tea changed my perceptions Ceylon tea. Previously, I’ve tasted a few Earl Grey teas that had a Ceylon base and were too astringent to be enjoyable. I guess the makers of these EG teas may have used a lower-grade Ceylon to reduce their cost and hoped the Oil of Bergamot would somehow hide it.

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Ceylons grown at higher altitudes also seem to be more astringent. Kenilworth Ceylon is a very good one, in my opinion, or a blend of some of the lower elevation Ceylons. A Southern Season has a very nice Ceylon Extra Fancy with some of the biggest leaves you have ever seen, but it is smooth and rich, not too lemony or tart.

looseTman

Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll have to try them!

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ashmanra

Ceylons grown at higher altitudes also seem to be more astringent. Kenilworth Ceylon is a very good one, in my opinion, or a blend of some of the lower elevation Ceylons. A Southern Season has a very nice Ceylon Extra Fancy with some of the biggest leaves you have ever seen, but it is smooth and rich, not too lemony or tart.

looseTman

Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll have to try them!

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Bio

I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit are also of interest.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Through our local co-op we tried Frontier Natural Products Co-op bulk loose tea – mostly Assam, also Irish Breakfast, & EG.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Kevin at The Whistling Kettle introduced me to Keemun, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and my wife enjoyed their Earl Grey Cream.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre & Zen Tea Life. Kudos to both Angel Chen and Kenneth Son who have been extremely helpful.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en

Options:
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- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

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