Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Basilur Tea: Special Tea Caddy, A Tea Review

A new friend came home with me today, a new fishy friend, specifically a Gold Gourami. Sadly and recently my Betta left me for another plane (yes, Niv-Mizzet the Firemind became a Planeswalker, only explanation) and after a bit of science I determined I give up on Bettas. The water is too hard and acidic and I think that is why my Bettas kept dying when all other water parameters were fine, it also explains why when I lived in PA with its softer water I was able to have a colony of them. Gouramis like water to be a bit on the acidic side and hard, so that is my new friend. She is quite pretty and amusingly curious, inspecting every single plant and piece of decor in great detail, and whenever I am next to the tank she comes to inspect me, I think she and I will get along wonderfully.

Today's tea comes from Basilur Tea, a company specializing in Ceylon teas, and I am looking at their Special Tea Caddy. Before I get into the tea itself I want to point out how awesome the packaging is, when I first opened the box I saw the lovely tin with the island of Sri Lanka embossed on its lid. I had a moment of apprehension that I would open the tin and it would be an explosion of loose tea everywhere, but nope, the tea is safe inside a ziptop foil bag with the print of an old style newspaper all about a few of the estates Basilur sources from. It is a neat bit of packaging, but considering this is the company that has book shaped tea tins I am not surprised.

The tea itself comes from the lower elevation of Ceylon, though I do not know specifically which estates it is sourced from. It is of the FBOPF1 grade, so lots of fancy tips that appear silvery rather than gold, an interesting contrast with some of the other teas I drink. The aroma of the little tips is quite pleasant, sweet and rich with an underlying briskness. notes of gentle plum and citrus blend with malt and a touch of woodiness.

After steeping in my steeping aparatus, the now plumped up leaves has a malty and brisk quality, with woody and citrus notes. Underneath there is a touch of plum and a tiny bit of metallic. Not sure why but frequently Ceylon teas come off a bit metallic to me and whether or not I find this pleasant largely depends on the individual tea. The liquid is sweet, brisk, and woody with an undertone of citrus and a touch of malt.

I have had more Ceylons that I found undrinkable than probably any other tea, so I (unfairly) approach all new Ceylons I try with a bit of trepidation, but luckily this time my fear was very misplaced. This is an iconic Ceylon, in fact I shared this with Ben (who drinks a lot more teas in this style) and he said if he were to close his eyes and picture an iconic Ceylon this would be it, and I can't help but agree. It is brisk and smooth at the front and dry in the mouth towards the end, but it lacks astringency. There are notes of oak wood and sweet potato, plum and lemons, with a metallic finish. The aftertaste is sweet though it does not linger long, just a pleasant memory. I enjoyed this tea, it will be one to enjoy in the afternoons or mornings when I want a mug of tea and not my usual gongfu sessions.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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