Something is afoot in my aquarium! Two new creatures have moved in and are busily acting as vacuum cleaners, a pair of Black Mystery Snails! My combination of happy warm water, decent lighting, and fake plants has created a bit of an algae problem, and I thought…I need snails. Back when I had ALLLLLL the aquariums I had very little algae and all the snails, clearly my problem this time was a serious snail deficiency. Jace is confused by his new tankmates, he keeps slowly following them, and Liliana just drapes on them because she is a Kuhli Loach, draping on things is her favorite hobby. To keep with the Magic The Gathering naming convention, they are named Sorin and Nahiri, though I have no idea which gender either of them are because snails are notorious hard to sex.
Today I am looking at a black tea from what just might be my favorite Ceylon tea estate, presenting Joy’s Teaspoon Amba Ceylon OP1! This tea is a bit on the special side, since it takes the black tea and blends it with flower from the tea plant, and I absolutely love tea flowers. They are both beautiful and taste really good, mostly I have had them solo, but blending them with tea just makes sense. The aroma of the leaves and flowers is quite delicious, notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts (minus the salt) honey, asters (giving it a bit of a straw and pollen quality) and a finish of gentle malt. Usually I am not a huge fan of Ceylon black teas, because for some reason they smell and taste vaguely metallic to me, except for the ones that come from Amba Estate. They share similar qualities (more robust less sweet and chocolate) that I really appreciate in the Gongfu Red Teas from Fujian. The addition of tea flowers give it a flowery depth that makes it quite unique.
Brewing this tea in my steeping apparatus is quite a treat, the heavy tea leaves sink to the bottom and delicate blossoms dance on top of the liquid. The aroma if the leaves is sweet, with gentle notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, straw flowers and aster, with a finish of bright malt. The aroma of the liquid is sweet potatoes, honey, boiled peanuts and a nice finish of malt. It has a slight briskness to it, as well as a tiny distant floral note.
Sipping this tea, the first thing I noticed was a nice briskness, I mean a very nice briskness, not astringent or dry, it is lively on the tongue while also being smooth. The tasting starts out with notes of malt and sweet potato, with subtle sweetness. This moves to boiled peanuts (again minus the salt, because that would be unpleasant) and moves on to a touch of woodiness. At the finish the tea flowers really shine, bringing in notes of wildflowers, aster, and gentle honey, the honey notes lingering long after the sipping, it also finishes with a thick mouthfeel contrary to the brisk and smooth beginning. Luckily this tea holds up to another steeping, though it is not very strong, however the second steep really makes for a sweet and floral cup, and is very mellow.