Regular Ceylon, move over, Sinharaja is here! Not only does it have a far more exotic name, but the taste matches it.
I’m almost at the bottom of my Golden Moon sampler – just this, Honey Pear, Sugar Caramel Oolong, and Coconut Pouchong. I have scraps and bits from some of the other teas in the box, but the tasting is almost over. It makes me almost melancholic, really. This box was truly the beginning of my tea education.
Anyway, Sinharaja looks pretty gorgeous for a black. The leaves are beautifully brown and wiry, and very long and unbroken. The smell coming off of the dry leaf is pretty basic. There’s an almost grape-berry smell, slightly similar to a Darjeeling, but it’s really more of a traditional black tea smell.
So I steeped this one up, and the leaves unfurled quite a bit more than I thought they would. They floated up and down, up and down, sort of like a madcap carousel. I was really anticipating this one…
And it delivers! Now, mind you, I sort of think I’m a bit blown away by this one because it is actually a Ceylon. I don’t know how super-excited I’d be if it wasn’t. But for a Ceylon, this is probably one of the best I’ve tasted. The smell coming off of the burnt amber cup is very just “default black tea.” Which I was a bit worried about, because honestly… it smells like a typical toasty Ceylon. But the taste…
It’s a bit more brisk than I thought it was going to be. There’s a pretty heavy berry-like note, followed by a delicious, honey-related note. This one is just one of those compulsively drinkable cups, where the flavors are just smooth and satisfying. I don’t know if I’d be craving this one continually, but I have fallen into like with it. In that kindergartner way. It’s light and yummy and sweet and scratches my black tea itch. Mmmm.
All of the other reviews are right. This is a really special Ceylon!
EDIT: Listen to sophistre! Seriously. I resteeped this (4:30, boiling), which I would have never done with a black, unless someone seriously recommended it. And this is the best resteep of a black I’ve ever tasted. EVER. It tastes completely different than the first steep, but somewhat related. Like cousins or something.
I was a bit worried when I smelled the wet leaves after the second steep, because they smelled… spent. That dead-black smell you get after a resteep that just screams, LEAVE ME ALONE I’VE DONE MY DUTY. But those leaves? They lied. Seriously, because this second cup is lighter than the first, without any of the brisk qualities, and tastes like sugared raisins. With some berry notes. But sugared raisins. Mmmmm.
So. Good. Thanks, sophistre, for pointing out the wonders of the second steep on this puppy!