Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Region: Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula or Uva districts
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: OP Orange Pekoe
Altitude: 4800 - 7600 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: This tea blends the flavor of chocolate and tea in a way that is quite simply, divine. Enjoy hot or as a cool chocolate-y treat in the summer
Infusion: Bright and Coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea, Sunflower + calendula petals, Natural flavors
Chocolate's scientific name, Theobroma Cacao, literally means "food of the gods". And so it was for the ancient Maya who worshipped the cacao bean and regarded it as a priceless treasure. Hernando Cortez brought the beans back to Spain in the 1500's where chocolate was subsequently enjoyed as a hot drink by royalty and commoners alike. By the 1700's chocolate houses were as prominent as coffee shops in many parts of the European continent and the U.K. In 1756 chocolate crossed back over to the new world with the opening of North America's first chocolate factory in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We aren't sure when chocolate was first added to tea or who was responsible for doing it. But we are sure of one thing - thank the gods he or she did it. With each tasting we are consistently impressed by the way the natural chocolate flavoring blends with our Ceylon tea. Heavenly with a dash of milk and a little sugar.
What type of tea do we use, how do we flavor the tea and why do we use natural flavors?
Firstly... we only use high grown teas from the top 3 tea growing regions of Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva. These three high-grown districts produce flavorful teas that have classic 'Ceylon' tea character which is noted by floral bouquet and flavor notes, touches of mild astringency, bright coppery color and, most importantly - perfect for use as the base tea of our flavored teas. (We have tested teas from various other origins around the world as base stock for our flavored teas, but none of these teas made the grade.) Dimbula and the western estates of Nuwara Eliya have a major quality peak during Jan/Feb, whereas Uva and the eastern estates of Nuwara Eliya have their peak in July/Aug. This 'dual peak period' allow us to buy the best for our flavored tea blends several times during the year, ensuring top quality and freshness.
Secondly... we use flavoring oils not crystals to give the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.
Thirdly... we specify natural flavors. High quality tea tastes good and natural flavors do not mask the natural taste of the high grown Ceylon tea. (The norm for many making flavored tea is to use overpowering artificial flavors, which can be used to hide lower quality tea). Natural flavors do not leave an aftertaste giving the tea a clean and true character. It should be noted that natural flavors tend to be somewhat 'soft ' and the flavors slightly muted, but for many this is a refreshing change and one of the desired attributes of our naturally flavored teas.
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 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!