Luxury Ingredients: Black tea
Take a look at this nice review from SororiTEA Sisters:
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: FB Flowery Pekoe
Altitude: 4000' 5000' ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Pungent flowery character with good body. Takes milk well, highlighting the coppery cup. From one of Ceylon's premiere estates
Infusion: Yellow tending towards golden
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
St. Coombs. If the name sounds anything but Sri Lankan to you, you'd be on to something. This exceptional tea estate is actually named after a small fishing village in Scotland, probably the birthplace of one of the original planters. During the peak years of the British Empire homesick settlers from the UK frequently bestowed their new homes with the names of the ones they left behind. Somewhere along the line a proud St. Coombsian decided to trade in his fishing nets for pruning shears, board a steamer, head for the Far East and stake a claim. The rest as they say, is history. He could never have known that more than 120 years later the estate he helped plant would still be producing tea - and fantastic tea at that.
Simply put, St. Coombs, situated 1328 meters above sea level in the western Dimbula highlands of Sri Lanka, is an exceptional tea garden. The estate is ISO 9001 certified and year after year produces some of Sri Lanka's finest export teas, consistently fetching high prices at the Colombo auctions. St. Coombs' success is in part attributed to an ace in the hole in the form of the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka, the headquarters and laboratory of which are located on the estate. (The institute was established at St. Coombs in 1938.) That said, it is impossible to discount the influence of the exceptional regional climactic conditions on the estate's output. (Conditions made the estate the perfect choice when the Institute was looking for a location to set up shop.)
From January to March, the Western Quality season, Monsoon rains interspersed with dry periods and cool nights combine to produce a large leaf with high sap content. The leaf blooms vigorously each morning ripe for the plucking, a phenomenon known as the flush. It is during this time that St. Coombs' finest teas are produced. These tend to be exceptionally aromatic, light in the cup with a thick medium body and long finish. St. Coombs' Flowery Pekoe is a shining example of this excellent quality. In general, FP teas are laborious to produce and require hand sorting in order to ensure an even grade. As such, they are produced in limited quantity and can be difficult to obtain. Our long-term relationship with the estate allows us to secure a good supply year after year. We can confidently say that a freshly brewed cup of St. Coombs' stands alone as one of Sri Lanka's premiere tea offerings.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep tea for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or 'milky' when poured over ice - a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!