The quality of Ceylon teas has been on a steady rise since tea plantations revived Sri Lanka’s agricultural industry when their coffee crops fell victim to disease. You can have a pure Ceylon tea from a particular estate or enjoy one of these delicious teas in a blend where their flavors harmonize with the qualities of other teas.
Ceylon blends can consist of various Ceylon teas grown in the different tea regions or a Ceylon tea blended with other teas, florals, herbals, etc. This can balance out qualities of the tea liquid, blending teas that tend to be stronger in flavor with those that are more delicate. For example, take a tea from the Diayella estate at a high elevation (high grown) in the Dimbulla District that has a mellow flavor and mix it with tea from the Lumbini estate at a low elevation (low grown) in the Matara District, a black tea with an exceptional deep rich aroma, a copper/red hue, and a spicy sweet flavor. You get a blend that combines both flavor characteristics.
For a successful tea blend, blenders must bring the tastes, textures, and colors of different teas together. Once a blend is perfected and is successful on the tea market, the blenders have to be able to produce it consistently. Since Ceylon teas are often used as the base for tea blends, and since the flavor of these teas varies by region, season, and elevation, blenders often start by blending various Ceylon teas. It’s sort of like working out a brand new recipe but making sure you note the steps you took so you can document it and repeat it later. Once the blenders have this “recipe” worked out, they can blend everything in big machines, assuring consistency.
Blends with Ceylon teas as a base:
- English Breakfast Blend No. 1 (a personal favorite) — Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan teas produce a full malty flavor and dark color to start your day. Fabulous hot with milk and sweetener or with lemon only. Another great feature of this tea is that you can fix a potful in the morning, drink some, let the pot sit (warm in its tea cozy) for awhile, pour another cupful and reheat it a bit in the microwave, and it will taste about as delicious as when fresh brewed.
- Indian Spiced Chai (a fine versionof a classic) — high grown Ceylon black tea with cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin seed, sweet cumin seeds, curry leaves, lemon grass, and rampe leaves. Goes best with milk and sweetener to taste.
- Buckingham Palace Garden Party (a real treat) — high grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey with soft jasmine from Fujian Province, plus Borengajuli Estate malty Assam and Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), East of Rift Kenyan (from Kambaa and Kagwe). You’ll taste the Earl Grey, then the jasmine, and finally the blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas.
Some Ceylon tea blends with fruit flavors:
- Monks Blend (another favorite) — high grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level with vanilla and grenadine flavors added.
- Island Coconut— high grown Ceylon black tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level with a tropical taste of real coconut full of memories of white sand beaches and swaying palm trees and no chemical aftertaste.
- Mango Mist— high grown Ceylon black tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level and natural flavors.
- Orange Spice — high grown Ceylon black tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level blended with tangy Florida orange taste and fresh cinnamon.
Ceylon teas are used in a variety of brands, including Golden Moon, Harney and Sons, Taylors of Harrogate, Revolution, and The Republic of Tea.
As you can see, you have lots of choices. Pick a blend, any blend, and have a nice, flavorful cupful. Also these make a great gift for someone you want to introduce to teas since these are a cut above the bagged dust available in stores.
Don’t miss A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!
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