Review: Hina’s Lumbini OP1

Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Hina's Tea Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Simply put, Lumbini OP1 is a supreme top-notch Ceylon tea, and one of my all-time favorites. "
Dan’s Teaview: 10/10
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HinalogoHina's Tea is an oasis in midtown Sacramento. They opened up shop right after I moved away, just to run it in my face that I left town, I think. The shop is owned by a knowledgeable and friendly woman named Hina, who - as with most tea shop owners - is very passionate about her product. The sleek, modern-appointed midtown store space is urban chic - would definitely not be out of place in a more hip locale like San Francisco or Manhattan. It's transformed from an almost retail-exclusive space into a more inviting spot to hang out and chillax with a cuppa or three. Occasionally they show Kung Fu movies on Sundays as well. Their selection of over 350 teas is really overwhelming, and there are so many tantalizing blends on offer that you need to do your best to concentrate and focus. Hina is glad to help make recommendations and let you sample many varieties. Thankfully I still have friends in town who keep me well-stocked for birthdays and other special occasions.

One such tea that I came across on recommendations by both Hina and my friend Leon was Lumbini OP1. At the time, I sampled it (amongst probably half a dozen others) and thought it was nice enough to bring home a 2 ounce sack. As time went on and I have quaffed down more and more of the stuff, it grew even more delightful to my palette. Now, years later, after sampling virtually hundreds of new-to-me tea varieties since then, I still come back to Lumbini OP1 on a very consistent basis. It is now (and has been for quite some time) my go-to every-day cuppa delicious black tea. This is no average tea, mind you -- it is top quality all the way. But it's kind of an extension of me now - I'm not sure what I would do without it.

The Lumbini leaves are very long and tightly rolled (wiry) dark leaves from The Lumbini Tea Factory in the Matara District (Southern Province) of Sri Lanka. If my calculations are correct, the factory produces an astonishing amount of tea -- over 100,000 pounds of tea every month! Their teas have won many awards over the years, and this blend in particular took home the gold medal at the Specialty Tea competition in 2002. The aroma coming from the dried leaves is simple and elegant - a pure, aromatic, dark black tea with no additives.

Hina's has somewhat of a strange vagueness to their recommended brewings for their offerings. They are almost all recommended at 180 degrees, and from a range of 3 to 7 minutes. That's quite a wide range, and perhaps their reasoning is that in some ways, it's a matter of taste. Oddly enough, Lumbini OP1 works at a variety of ranges of temperatures and steeping times. I've gone as cool as 170 degrees and as hot as 212. I've had it steep as little as 3 minutes and as much as 13 minutes (by accident!) and none of the cups has ever been off-putting. That said, my standard brewing is about 190-200 degrees for 5 minutes, and that produces an ideal cup for my palette. The brewed cup is a very bright and gorgeous, deep color. Hina's comments indicate "sultry hints of plum and satisfying layers of astringency" -- however I find neither of these to be the case, personally. Any astringency is extremely mild. This is just one of the smoothest teas to put down. I generally savor every sip - several thousand of them to date - and roll it around my tongue, much moreso than almost any other tea I've had.

Simply put, Lumbini OP1 is a supreme top-notch Ceylon tea, and one of my all-time favorites. I could - and very often do! - just drink it cup, after cup, after cup, all day long.

— To purchase Hina’s Lumbini OP1, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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