Thanks very much to teakruthi for generously sending me nine different tea samples from their website to explore! I’ve tried five so far, and plan to try the remaining four over the course of next week! I’ll get more into the meat of the tea review in a moment, but I just wanted to start by saying that I was impressed by the company in two ways even before ever steeping the teas up…
To start, the shipping was really quick. Whenever I’m ordering from somewhere outside of North America I generally have an expectation that shipping isn’t going to be quick – but this only took around a week and from Sri Lanka no less! So, that was impressive! Plus, it looks like the free shipping threshold on the site year round is really low as well, so I’m definitely going to be really taking note of my favourite teas I try because restocking seems like it would be a very feasible option!
Second is just in how the company really appears to have listed to my preferences when selecting my teas; I told them that I wanted to try this tea and White Gold in particular (both they sent) and then let them know that I do drink all other tea types, with the exception of green tea, and am comfortable with straight & flavoured teas but have more of a preference to low and mid grown Sri Lankan blacks – and really I don’t see a single tea in my sample assortment that deviates from those parameters. Whenever a company offers to send me tea for free to review I’m always grateful for anything they send and I will definitely still try anything I receive (even if it goes outside my normal preferences) at least once with an open mind – but it’s always just a pleasant experience when a company really takes the time to listen to what will resonate best with you and then actually matches that in their offerings.
However, onto the tea!
So, this is the first thing I tried – I had specially requested two teas so I thought it might be a nice idea to start my sample tasting with one of them and then end with the other. So far, this has been my favourite of the five I’ve tried thus far – perhaps an indicator that I know my tastes quite well? Though I feel like there’s HIGH potential for a lemon black tea to be really unpleasant (“Pledge/cleaning agent” tasting lemon, or just really pithy and bitter) and this didn’t fall into any of those areas where I had hesitant/reservation.
Browsing the website, and based on the samples I recieved, it appears that even though teakruthi does carry flavoured/blended teas they take a very simplistic approach to them – and I actually really like and respect that. A lot of companies go very intense in their flavourings or build tea blends around giant concepts or really dive into complex flavour pairings and there is a place/need for that but sometimes I also just want a very simple, clean blend that just really executes one particular flavour quite well. In this case, it’s lemon.
I’ve never really found a simple lemon black tea that I really enjoy that didn’t have some other type of twist on it – but this feels like a classic lemon black in the way that I’ve always envisioned in my head. The tea itself is still front and center; brisk and clean with hints of malt, honey, and red fruit (all of this makes sense; Kandy, ironically given the name, is a region that I think is known for tasting a fair bit sweeter than others) – however it’s married to a really natural lemon; a little bit of sweetness but only so far as what you’d get in the actual fruit – it doesn’t feel boosted/helped along by anything like stevia/blackberry leaves/flavouring. The natural honey note in the black tea adds some support. Not really tangy and sharp, but has a TINY bit of acidity which makes the flavours pop a bit more. It tastes clearly and purely of lemon – the way a basket of lemons might smell. The finish is very round and clean.
I’m incredibly impressed by this one – and given that it was the first tea I tried from the company I think it may have set up some sharp expectations. I’ve tried five teas now, and to be perfectly honest none of the other four have come close to making me feel as satisfied as this blend did; not to say they’re bad – but I think this, as a Classic lemon and black tea profile, is a star.
EDIT: Side note – just needed to point out how much I love the name too; not sure if it’s intentional play on words or not but I just found it really clever.