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For all of my black tea drinking, I’m a relatively newbie to Ceylon teas. But I decided to break out of my Yunnan, Assam, or Darjeeling rut and give this one a try.

http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/item.asp?from=catalog.asp&itemID=TC56&begin=0&parent=Teas%3EBlack%3ECeylon&category=Uva&sortMethod=0&categoryID=24

Koslanda has been an organic and biodynamic estate since 1992 and is located in Sri Lanka’s Uva’s District, famous for its teas and often used in blends.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:TgdgQqD7RPsJ:www.transfairusa.org/pdfs/profiles/Koslanda-Sri%2520Lanka_04.pdf+koslanda+sri+lanka&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg4VtXmI1NtppCt7rnAS1_Ko6SJ00x3HUauKTslJEqvzf7VM7GA1xyeMX6Mhyfh75CDiNeApjgi4S1I_Y0Y6oJYt9xZMfJHMH7tgu1lG9zKZd1TH3A-7zqS0uFtQSIDvqX0gaop&sig=AHIEtbS4ds9vRVtV6bh3u0QXvK40G-r8AA

The recommended steep time for this tea is relatively short for a black tea, three minutes, not because it’s delicate like a Darjeeling, but because this is a broken-leaf tea and with all that additional leaf-fragment surface area, this baby infuses quickly.

The liquor is rich and dark, but what’s missing is flavor. It’s not an unpleasant flavor, mind you, it’s just completely lacking. It sort of hints at being Assam, with a glimpse of maltiness, with a bright nuance reminiscent of Darjeeling, but they’re all vague hints. And the clean finish that Upton’s description mentions is really a euphemism for when you swallow, any flavor immediately disappears from your mouth — there’s no after-taste whatsoever.

That said, because the liquor is smooth and rich, it holds up to creamer and sweetener fairly well. After trying it neat, I added vanilla rice milk and agave syrup and it tasted, um, sweet and vanilla-y. But the tea was doing very little of the work here. Disappointing.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

I think Ceylons aren’t supposed to have bold flavours of their own. That’s why they’re so often used in flavoured teas.

teaplz

Ceylon, to me, just has that default tea taste. I’ve been told that companies like Samovar aren’t even offering a Ceylon yet just because they can’t find one that’s particularly to their liking. I think they’re absolutely best when they’re paired with other teas, or, as Jillian said, used as a base for a flavored tea.

East Side Rob

Could be. But Upton’s and a lot of other tea purveyors are clearly marketing these as standalone high-end teas, particularly the teas from the Uva region. I’ve got two other single-estate Ceylons in the cupboard that I just ordered from Upton’s. Hoping they’re a bit better. Still haven’t found anything that tops a good Yunnan, whether it’s a two-leaves-and-a-bud golden Yunnan or an all-bud golden tips or golden needles type tea.

Auggy

I did have a Ceylon (one of SpecialTeas’ higher end ones) that tasted like raspberries. Not flavored, just really strong raspberry notes. So I think something like that is a good standalone Ceylon. Well, aside from the fact that I don’t like raspberries. The husband did, though, so he was a big fan.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing how the other two Ceylons you have rate!

takgoti

@teaplz Hrm, I do wonder who could have told you that? [Am giggling madly.] Anyhow!
http://shop.samovarlife.com/Ceylon_Super_Single_Black_Tea_p/0401cesu.htm
I am super excited to give this one a go. I’m getting a truly ridiculous Samovar order ready for after the holidays.

@East Side Rob Glad to see you trying to break out of your rut! I want to see you try some oolongs. But not if it would result in the world eating itself or something equally crazy.

East Side Rob

Yeah, Takgoti, I’ve tried a few oolongs in my day — a bunch of Ti Kwan Yins, a Wuyi, a Formosan “restaurant-type” oolong, and a couple of Darjeeling oolongs — but, like the true black-tea guy that I am, I tend to prefer the darker oolongs. You know, the ones that are around 70 percent oxidized. I’ll be heading in that direction again sometime in the not-too-distant future. But I think I want to exhaust my current supply of Ceylon and Keemun samples first, none of which I’ve liked so far, by the way. So, I’m afraid, you’ll be reading a few more grouchy, unhappy reviews first before it gets better.

I made myself a Yunnan Golden Tips (from Ito En’s store in New York) this afternoon just to confirm that there are still teas that I love and I’m happy to report that the Golden Tips still tastes like Nirvana to me. I just haven’t been able to get that sort of soothing satisfaction from a lot of other teas lately. The Ceylons taste like nothing and, other than the Ancient Tree Yunnans (which may be more like Indian teas than typical Chinese teas since they’re made from Assamica varietals and are malty) the other Chinese black teas taste smoky, which isn’t a pleasant taste to me, at least not in a beverage.

Yeah, I may have been in a rut with my fixation on Assams and Yunnans, but it was only a rut. It wasn’t a crevasse from which I could never escape.

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Comments

Jillian

I think Ceylons aren’t supposed to have bold flavours of their own. That’s why they’re so often used in flavoured teas.

teaplz

Ceylon, to me, just has that default tea taste. I’ve been told that companies like Samovar aren’t even offering a Ceylon yet just because they can’t find one that’s particularly to their liking. I think they’re absolutely best when they’re paired with other teas, or, as Jillian said, used as a base for a flavored tea.

East Side Rob

Could be. But Upton’s and a lot of other tea purveyors are clearly marketing these as standalone high-end teas, particularly the teas from the Uva region. I’ve got two other single-estate Ceylons in the cupboard that I just ordered from Upton’s. Hoping they’re a bit better. Still haven’t found anything that tops a good Yunnan, whether it’s a two-leaves-and-a-bud golden Yunnan or an all-bud golden tips or golden needles type tea.

Auggy

I did have a Ceylon (one of SpecialTeas’ higher end ones) that tasted like raspberries. Not flavored, just really strong raspberry notes. So I think something like that is a good standalone Ceylon. Well, aside from the fact that I don’t like raspberries. The husband did, though, so he was a big fan.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing how the other two Ceylons you have rate!

takgoti

@teaplz Hrm, I do wonder who could have told you that? [Am giggling madly.] Anyhow!
http://shop.samovarlife.com/Ceylon_Super_Single_Black_Tea_p/0401cesu.htm
I am super excited to give this one a go. I’m getting a truly ridiculous Samovar order ready for after the holidays.

@East Side Rob Glad to see you trying to break out of your rut! I want to see you try some oolongs. But not if it would result in the world eating itself or something equally crazy.

East Side Rob

Yeah, Takgoti, I’ve tried a few oolongs in my day — a bunch of Ti Kwan Yins, a Wuyi, a Formosan “restaurant-type” oolong, and a couple of Darjeeling oolongs — but, like the true black-tea guy that I am, I tend to prefer the darker oolongs. You know, the ones that are around 70 percent oxidized. I’ll be heading in that direction again sometime in the not-too-distant future. But I think I want to exhaust my current supply of Ceylon and Keemun samples first, none of which I’ve liked so far, by the way. So, I’m afraid, you’ll be reading a few more grouchy, unhappy reviews first before it gets better.

I made myself a Yunnan Golden Tips (from Ito En’s store in New York) this afternoon just to confirm that there are still teas that I love and I’m happy to report that the Golden Tips still tastes like Nirvana to me. I just haven’t been able to get that sort of soothing satisfaction from a lot of other teas lately. The Ceylons taste like nothing and, other than the Ancient Tree Yunnans (which may be more like Indian teas than typical Chinese teas since they’re made from Assamica varietals and are malty) the other Chinese black teas taste smoky, which isn’t a pleasant taste to me, at least not in a beverage.

Yeah, I may have been in a rut with my fixation on Assams and Yunnans, but it was only a rut. It wasn’t a crevasse from which I could never escape.

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Bio

East Side Rob is head of marketing communications for a large philanthropy, where he spends a lot of time working late, contemplating a saner life, and drinking lots of — you guessed it — tea.

Location

New York

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