Some Tips For Tea Tasting In Sri Lanka
By: Pinki Tue, 06 Apr 2021 2:54 PM
On a tea plantation visit you can learn all about tea picking and tea processing and also enjoy some fine Sri Lankan tea tasting. It’s probably a much more exciting prospect if you’re a tea lover, but even if you’re not, the Hill Country (or Tea Country, as it’s sometimes called) is arguably the most scenic part of the island and worth a visit.
Sri Lanka’s tea country is located mainly in the central highlands, although some of the tea growing areas spread as far as the coast. The reason that tea grows well here is because of the topography and the climate. The fertile soil, humidity and higher rainfall provide excellent tea growing conditions and tea plants thrive. It’s also quite a bit cooler in the highlands than the coastal areas due to its elevation.
One thing to bear in mind is that the Tea Country climate is changeable, and can be quite damp and rainy, so pack a fleece and a lightweight waterproof if you plan to visit a Sri Lanka tea plantation, just in case!
Types of tea produced in Sri Lanka
All tea grown in Sri Lanka is known as Ceylon, the island's former name, but within this category are three different types of tea. There are those grown in the low areas below 2,000 feet; medium-grown tea from heights between 2,000 and 4,000 feet; and finally, high-grown tea from altitudes above 4,000 feet.
Each of these teas has a different character and can be blended to create another overall flavour and colour or drunk on their own.
* Dimbula - grown at a height of 5,000 feet, this light, bright tea has a strong, fresh flavour.
* Kenilworth - the wiry leaves of this tea are grown at 4,000 feet, producing a taste reminiscent of oak.
* Uva - a rich amber characterises this crisp tea, which is cultivated at heights between 2,000 and 4,000 feet.
* Saint James - this aromatic beverage is copper in colour and has a distinctive taste, marking it out from other Ceylon teas.
* Nuwara Eliya - often drunk with lemon to enhance the flavour, this tea is delicate with a bright hue in the cup.
# How to taste tea
To fully appreciate tea, it is worth experiencing it with all of your senses, which means beginning the process before it is even brewed. When good tea is offered, it is worth following this procedure.
* Inspect the tea - look at the leaves and notice their shape, colour and size. All of these elements affect the character of an infusion once it has been brewed.
* Brew the tea strong - for tasting, a tea should be stronger than you would ideally drink it in a full cup. This will help you to separate the flavours in your mind as you taste it.
* Inspect the infusion - describe to yourself what the resulting infusion looks like. This can include colour, clarity and consistency.
* Smell the tea - position your nose over the tea and take a deep breath to take in the myriad scents coming from it. These can include fruity, nutty, earthy and even spicy notes.
* Slurp the tea - while slurping isn't usually encouraged, the rules are different when it comes to tasting. This aerates the tea and lets you experience more of the flavours. Hold it in your mouth and ensure it has washed against all the areas, which detect contrasting notes.
* Reminisce - the next time you drink the same tea, you will be transported back to the plantations of Sri Lanka and the stunning landscape where this variety is grown.