Review: TeaVert Vithanakande OP1

Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Single Estate Tea, TeaVert Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The aroma they gave off was also unusual, resembling chocolate-covered cherries dipped in brandy."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6.7/10, Sophie gave it 8.5/10
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Vithanakande is a low-altitude tea estate located near the Ratnapura District of Sabaragamuwa Province in Southern Sri Lanka. (Say that five times fast.) The operation is fairly new by tea estate standards. Initial construction began in the 1940s, leading to the earliest yields later that decade. After the death of the initial founder, management transitioned for nearly five decades before the founder's son gained sole proprietorship in 1981. The factory is situated near the Sinharaja rainforest - an area with climate conditions considered ideal for tea production.

The TeaVert profile mentions that this Ceylon orange pekoe differs from others because whole leaves were used, not cut. The leaves were indeed long, twisty, with a black sheen that made them look Assam-grown. The aroma they gave off was also unusual, resembling chocolate-covered cherries dipped in brandy. A far cry different from the "honey and spice" comparison given on the website.

Brewing instructions were incredibly heavy. TeaVert recommended boiled water and a five-minute steep. I usually never exceeded three minutes - tending to like my black teas on the fairer side of un-astringent - but I went with 1 tsp in 8oz steeped for five...hoping for the best.

It brewed to a sparkling cherry red with a dry but malty nose. Astringency on taste was my first concern. However, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I expected a bitter forefront on the initial sip, but what I got was a smooth, transitionally robust liquor with only a bit of dryness in the middle. No cotton-mouthy finish. Like other Ceylons, it held its floral characteristics; not as much as the high-altitude varieties but close. And, of course, there was maltiness, close in flavor to a hearty Assam without the bite.

Ceylon teas were my gateway into black tea appreciation. I trusted their lighter approach. While this was darker than I was used to - likely due to the longer brewing time - it still held fast to the terrific trappings of its namesake.

— To purchase TeaVert Vithanakande 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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