Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Good upcountry tea
I have always liked drinking tea, especially in the morning, brewed strong, sweet with milk. It is not hard to find decent tea, most brands in the shops are alright but in the past few years we have been drinking a lot of Dilmah.
I have a friend who has another friend who knows someone (you how the network works) who works in a tea company. The staff are entitled to buy tea direct from the company and my friend offered to get me some. I agreed and we tried it out at home about a month a ago.
It was not bad, but it had a rather unusual aftertaste, a hint of something that lingered on the tongue. It was something I had never experienced before and which I found a bit odd. I did not like that aftertaste much, the tea was drinkable so I thought I would just finish the packet and go back to the old brand.
After about a week this taste was beginning to grow on me and after about two weeks I was well and truly hooked. I had heard that the upcountry flavoury teas had this slight lingering aftertaste; this was the "flavour" that was much sought after by buyers. I was under the impression that most upcountry teas tend to be light so are best drunk without milk. Since I like a strong sweet cup in the morning I never thought this would work for me, but it seems I was wrong.
How badly I was hooked hit me when we ran out of the tea and had to buy the usual tea until fresh supplies arrived. It was strong as usual, but I found it lacking any kind of character, nothing to excite or interest the palette.
The estate where our source gets his tea from is Mattakelle estate. When asking around other friends in the tea industry I was told that this indeed was one of the top estates in the country, one that fetches premium prices. A quick search on the web revealed that it was being sold at pretty high prices. Dilmah was selling it as a single garden tea.
Lucky for me I can get it direct from source. My mother made hoppers for breakfast today, which went down very well with the tea. I'm off now to see if there is anything left in the pot.