Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with lots of golden tips
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: stainless steel infuser basket
Liquor: dark reddish brown
Judging by the reviews that get published here on the blog, someone might assume that I have a heavy bias towards Chinese and Taiwanese teas. The truth is that this is more reflective of the samples that I receive than it is of personal preference. I enjoy drinking tea from all over the world, in all of its various forms. A good cup of Ceylon will be drunk just as readily in my house as a gaiwan full of dancong. That's why I was excited when I saw this sample in a recent batch of teas from Upton Tea Imports. This company was an old favorite when I first started diving down the tea rabbit hole but it's been quite a few years since I have tried any of their offerings.
The Lumbini Estate in Sri Lanka is known for being one of the best producers in this region. Their booth is one I always look to visit whenever I am at the World Tea Expo because I am sure to find tasty tea and unusual offerings. You might be wondering, what the heck do all of those letters mean in the tea name? Using the traditional acronyms for grading black tea, FBFOPF = Finest Broken Orange Pekoe Flowery. Although the leaves are broken you can see a ton of golden tips scattered throughout. It was an almost 50/50 mix with darker leaves, making it quite striking to look at.
This tea brewed up surprisingly dark so I was worried that I might have over-leafed it. Broken leaf teas will infuse faster so that is a mistake I will sometimes make with them. Thankfully the taste was just as surprisingly mellow. There was a lot of natural sweetness (thank you trichomes!) but still plenty of brisk astringency. Notes of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, and a subtle hint of nutmeg made for a complex and enjoyable cup. Upton Tea Imports likened it to Burgundy and I could definitely see where there is a red wine-like quality I was fine drinking this tea straight but this could also be a good option for someone who is craving the addition of milk or sugar.
Have you ever tried this tea? Let me know about it in the comments below!
Upton Tea Imports Lumbini Estate FBFOPF SP. Gold Tips sample provided for review by Upton Tea Imports