Monday, November 9, 2015

Hyson Tea: Exquisite Collection 'Celestial Dimbula' Black Tea, A Tea Review

It is a wonderful feeling to test one's aquarium water and find all the different things you are testing for are at a perfect level. Knowing that the little biome you have is stable and your fish are happy, it is a very rewarding feeling! But on a completely unrelated note (ok not completely unrelated since my fish are named after Planeswalkers) I am waffling on my deck construction again, I am debating going to Black/Green, still full of griefer goodness of course. See if I go Black/Green I can pull a bunch of Golgari cards from Ravnica, my favorite setting and my favorite guild. They are obsessed with mushrooms, that is so my thing.

So last week I got a massive box in the mail of samples (and an outright tin) from Hyson Tea, a company specializing in Ceylon teas. Not only did this box contain a mountain of teabags (which will take me forever to get through) it also included a bunch of company logo swag, so now I have a new massive mug and teaspoons, which is pretty cool, they also have the distinction of being the first company/person/entity to donate to my blog, supporting the fine art of blogging is awesome, and I used the donation to expand my tea book library, because expanding my education is very important.

Today I cracked into the tin of Exquisite Collection 'Celestial Dimbula' Black Tea, this tea is a blend of black teas from the Dimbula growing region in Sri Lanka, probably one of the most well known of Sri Lanka's tea districts, and also one of the oldest tea growing regions, having been first planted in the 1870s. I am not sure of any specific sub-districts or gardens these leaves come from, so this should be taken as an example of the region as a whole. The fairly small, very dark, leaves which look like a mix of Broken Orange Pekoe and Orange Pekoe (this tea is OP, hehe) has a brisk and malty aroma, with notes of oak wood, a tiny touch of tobacco, a faint cardboard-papery note, and an undertone of molasses. The aroma is not overly strong, erring more on the sweet side towards the end of the sniffing.

The leaves have steeped and unfurled a goodly bit, and the tea is now a lovely coppery color. The wet leaves have the aroma of malt and brisk tannic oak wood, blending in notes of topsoil, tobacco, a touch of molasses, and a finish of gentle tobacco. It is brisk and smells like morning, or at least smells like morning tea, it is a familiar smell that I pretty much grew up with. The liquid smells a mix of malt and tannic oak wood, a touch of tobacco, and a metallic coppery note at the finish.

Tasting time! I took this tea straight, as I mostly do with my teas now, except Masala Chai and my oh so indulgent Ostfriesen Tea and occasional Matcha Lattes. The taste is brisk and tannic, strong notes of oak wood, tobacco, malt, and a bright, coppery finish. It has a slightly sweet molasses aftertaste that does not linger overly long. I will admit, this tea was not so much for me, I think...and I feel like a massive tea snob and a bit ashamed of myself for this...this is a tea for casual tea drinkers. Back when I was a little girl, drinking cups of black tea for breakfast with my dad (two sugars and milk, the classic British way) I would have really enjoyed this tea. But I have moved passed that in my personal enjoyment of tea, and there is nothing wrong with either my growth as a tea connoisseur or the tea itself, just different things for different people. To be honest that is one of my favorite things about tea, and one of the reasons I love writing about it...someone is bound to find something they will like!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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