Walter’s Bay Maliboda FF1 Ceylon Black Tea
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf Appearance: small, dark and fairly uniform
Steep time: 5 minutes
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: stainless steel infuser
Liquor: reddish brown
In recent years I’ve noticed that this blog focuses more on Chinese and Taiwanese teas, with a sprinkling of Japanese teas now and then. While I this speaks to my personal drinking habits, it doesn’t necessarily represent my actual taste in tea. I am offered many wonderful samples from around the world but those from places like India and Sri Lanka have been far and few between.
I love a complex oolong or punchy puerh but there is something very comforting about a solid cup of black tea. It reminds of the orange pekoe of my childhood. For that reason, I jumped at the chance when Walter’s Bay offered some of their Ceylon teas for review. They pack their teas directly at origin rather than working with the standard industry middleman.
Check out this cool Google map they sent me of the Maliboda Tea Factory!
Walter Bay’s description of this tea tells tales of the elusive herd of elephants that call Maliboda home and the famous Kelani River. I’ve never been to Sri Lanka but certainly paints a mental picture.
What do the letters in this tea’s name mean? FF1 is the same as FBOPF1, aka Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings. The number is added for emphasis when a garden feels that a lot of tea is particularly good. It is important to keep in mind that the leaf grade has nothing to do with the actual quality of the tea.
The dry leaf was dark and fairly uniform in color. They were a bit larger than I was expecting from fannings. I was happy to see that because it meant the leaves wouldn’t slip out of my tea strainer as easily as a smaller leafed tea would. There were a few buds and stems scattered throughout.
This tea brewed up a reddish shade of brown with nice clarity. It was brisk, just as you would want from a Ceylon black tea, but not bitter. The taste was earthy and sweet with notes of hazelnut. It was lighter bodied on my second infusion but still a very enjoyable cup. Although it is a more broken tea, additives are unnecessary and would likely make it taste watered down.
Writing this post was a good reminder that Ceylon teas deserve more lip service. I’ve been meaning to write about the fascinating history of the tea industry there and how it relates to coffee.
What is your favorite Sri Lankan tea garden? Let me know about it in the comments below!