Ingredients from: Sri Lanka
Region(s): Nuwara Eliya Dimbula Uva
Seasonality: Seasonal quality (Jan.- Feb. August growth)
Grade Composition: OP (Orange Pekoe)
Growing Altitudes: 4000 – 8500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type(s): Orthodox (Traditional leafy)
Cup Characteristics: An unbelievable aroma that portends an unbelievable taste. We have been told repeatedly: “This is the best Earl Grey I have ever tasted!”
Infusion: Bright with coppery.
Pairing Suggestions: Eggs Benedict, Dark Chocolate, Crème Brûlée, Citrus fruit tarts, Strong fish dishes
Luxury Ingredients: Black tea, Cornflower petals, Natural Organic Compliant flavors
Caffeine Content: Medium
Traditionally Earl Grey was a blend of Chinese and Indian teas scented with oil from the citrus bergamot fruit – a sort of orange. Stories about the origins of Earl Grey are numerous. One such tale tells how a British diplomat on a mission to China saved the life of a Mandarin. As a gift of gratitude, the diplomat was given the recipe for this flavored tea. Upon his return to Britain, the diplomat presented the tea to the Prime Minister of the day, Earl Grey. Another story says it was the Prime Minister himself who saved the Mandarin. In any event it was the Prime Minister of England (1830-1834) Earl Grey who made this tea fashionable.
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 filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea, 1 tea bag or 1 Q3 portion pack for each 7-9oz/200-260ml of fluid volume in 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).
Iced tea brewing method (Pitcher): (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea, 6 tea bags or 6 Q3 portion packs into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the tea or removing the bags. 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 increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about.)
Iced tea brewing method (Individual Serving): Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea, 1 tea bag or 1 Q3 portion pack into a teapot for each serving required. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 6-7oz/170-200ml per serving over the tea. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the tea or removing the bags. Not all of the tea will fit, allowing for approximately an additional ½ serving. Sweeten and/or add lemon to taste. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
ANTIOXIDANT BENEFIT: More antioxidants are extracted from tea (L. Camellia Sinesis), or rooibos (Asphalatus Linearis), the longer it is brewed….and the more tea or rooibos that is used, the greater the antioxidant benefit.