There’s always beer when it gets too hot for comfort. But then again, not everyone is in love with bitter, fermented barley. For those who prefer warmer things in life, there are few better companions on a summer’s day, stormy evening, chilly morning or after a hard day’s night, than a freshly brewed cup of tea.
But tea from Sri Lanka? Sure they produce some explosive and exciting cricketers and boast of some of the most beautiful beaches in the sub continent, but Ceylon tea doesn’t hold a candle to good old Darjeeling, does it?
Perhaps it’s time for a rethink? Or at least, we figured, let’s give our southern neighbours a fair chance. So we picked on one of the biggest names that bring Ceylon tea to India -- Basilur and took home four of their most marketed and talked about flavours to try out. Here’s what we found after three of us tried out each flavour, wrote down our thoughts and then matched them to arrive at a common conclusion.
Sure, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of “tea experts” out there who could have done a “review” for us instead. Perhaps that would have been more exact and detailed. But we figured the best judge of how tea tastes, are common people who pass just one filter: they love the leaves! Who better, than fellow tea lovers, to tell you how and why they liked or disliked a tea. Here’s what we found:
The Four Seasons Summer Tea
This long leaf Sencha green tea from Japan has a mild flavour of strawberries. It also has undertones of marigold, cornflour and, of course, the wild strawberries. The flora bouquet does not detract from the pure taste of the tea leaves. Steep it for three minutes and you get a refreshing and soothing smooth cup of tea.
When: If energy drinks are not your thing, then this is a great replacement after a workout, because of its fruity pedigree. The Japs and the Chinese drink it after a gym session. Do you still need to be convinced?
AT: 125 gm, Rs 849
The Cream Fantasy
The name oozed sex appeal. But the first thing that hit us was the flavour. We are used to a creamy cappuccino with vanilla, but not too many green teas boast of this. But, before you start wondering, here’s what: the experience was good. The sweet berries, tasty cream with a light base of flower petal went down well with us. The flavour of strawberries and cream tastes good on these hot summer days. We let the tea bag soak in hot water (boiled and then allowed to cool off for two minutes before we dipped the tea bag in) for three minutes. We like our tea relatively strong, even if it’s a flavoured brew. You could steep it between two to three minutes, depending on your preference. This is a sweet tea, so add no sugar or milk, unless that’s the only way you drink your teas.
When: A mid-morning or early evening drink to get the energy back for work
AT: 20 teabags, 30 gms, Rs 449
No the tea is not from Morocco. This 100 per cent pure Ceylon green leaf tea gets its minty flavour from Moroccan spearmint. It leaves a powerful aftertaste that requires an evolved palate to appreciate. But if you are adventurous, you will like this. Brew this for less than two minutes if you want a milder mint flavour. This has a calming effect on the senses, so it feels good especially after a hectic workday or weekend spent shopping.
When: It’s been a hard day’s night? Drink this and you’ll be sleeping like a log
AT: 100 gm, Rs 849
The Green freshness
The price is a bit steep considering there are so many green tea options found even in neighbourhood stores these days. This one has a mild peppermint flavour. Brewed for two and a half minutes, this tea is very refreshing. It’s a healthy option; And for heaven’s sake, no sugar or milk!
When: You can sip this one any time of the day
AT: 20 teabags, 30 gms, Rs 449