Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Region: Uva - Welimada
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: Pekoe Gunpowder
Altitude: 2500 3000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Sweet flavory vanilla gives this green tea a depth and character. The aroma almost shouts 'Welcome Home'
Infusion: Bright green and slightly mottled
Ingredients: Luxury green tea, Calendula + sunflower petals, Natural flavors
Vanilla is one powerful commodity. The small black pods have helped build civilizations, create one of the largest brands known to humankind and nearly bankrupt a country a lot for the little pod of the Vanilla orchid! When the Spanish Conquistadors first stumbled up it in the New World vanilla was already responsible for a huge portion of the Aztec economy. The Aztecs grew the pod, known as tlilxchitl or black flower, in large forest plantations. Thanks to advanced trading networks that stretched throughout the Latin American continent, the Aztecs profited greatly from their crop, which helped to pay for their many breath-taking monuments. The Spaniards, catching a whiff of the sweet scent and the profits to be made, carted the tlilxchitl back with them to Spain changing its name to vainilla, or little pod, as they did. (Fyi: it was the Spanish who first blended vanilla into a beverage, mixing it with drinking chocolate.) While South America remained the largest vanilla producer until at least the 19th century, Europeans began to plant vanilla farms throughout southern Europe and ultimately Madagascar, a small island nation off the South East coast of Africa. Ok, we'll return to Madagascar in a moment.
So, the Spanish added it to drinking chocolate, but it would be an American who would use vanilla to create a beverage that would take the world by storm. The beverage? You may have heard of itCoca Cola? The original 1885 recipe relied on Vanilla for an exotic touch and we all know what happened from there, Coca Cola became a global phenomenon the likes of which the world had never seen. For the world's vanilla producers these were exciting times! And here's where we return to Madagascar and the third part of our Vanilla history lesson, in which a nation is nearly bankrupted by the black pods. In 1985, New Coke was introduced to the marketplace. Instead of pure vanilla extract, the new beverage contained vanillin, a synthetic substitute. Immediately Madagascar's sales of fresh vanilla halved and the economy all but collapsed. Thankfully for the people of Madagascar, New Coke was a failure and the company was forced to reintroduce the Classic formula that used real, honest to goodness vanilla in its formula. The people of Madagascar breathed a sigh of relief and began diversifying their income stream.
Well, here at Culinary Teas, we're happy to have a hand in this diversification by creating a wonderful green tea that relies on vanilla for its incredible flavor. We've flavored premium, high grown Hyson gunpowder from Sri Lanka with pure vanilla extract to create a cup that is light liquoring and intensely refreshing with astringent notes of orchid and honey. A wonderful cup - and, much better for you than soda and soft drinks! (3 cups is reported to have the vitamin C content of an orange!)
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180�F or 90�C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves, they foretell your fortune.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed '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.]