|"This tea was far stronger than I usually preferred my Ceylons but still quite decent. "|
The Ceylon I was trying from this estate consisted of small-cut, jet black leaves with a dry but floral scent to them. The grade given it was a “Fine Broken Orange Pekoe” (FBOP)…but there was also another “F” in the label. I asked around to see if anyone knew what it meant. The best suggestion I heard was that it stood for “F’ing awesome”. However, that didn’t quite sit well with me as an official answer. KTeas got back to me with a response direct from the grower. The “F” stood for “Fannings”. Wait a minute…these didn’t look like fannings. I’ve seen fannings. They’re the stuff of teabags.
A tea-educator informed me that fannings could be anything from ground powder to much larger pieces. Basically, anything that could fit through a certain-sized mesh could be labeled as fannings. Personally, I would think that any loose leaf grower would want to label their wares as anything other than that, but what do I know? It smelled pretty good, and it held up in my strainer. That’s all that matters.
There weren’t any brewing instructions posted on the KTeas site for this quite yet (at the time of this writing), but I assumed one was meant to prepare it like any normal black tea. I went on the lighter side with a three-minute steep in 205F water – 1 tsp. in 8oz.
The liquor colored quickly to an amber-to-cherry infusion with an astringent nose. The amber aspect occupied the base, which I also found peculiar. It definitely smelled like a low-country leaf-borne beverage. As for flavor, it possessed a slightly bitter front that quickly transitioned to a sweet and malty middle before tapering off into typical Ceylon “florality”. This tea was far stronger than I usually preferred my Ceylons but still quite decent.
A second, indeterminate infusion turned up a deep, hibiscus red beast with a more caramel nose and smoother palate delivery. It was also quite strong but less dry than the first – more to my Ceylon liking. A Russian shop owner once told me that people from her homeland preferred Ceylon teas. I scoffed at that given how light the high-altitude ones are. However, after this strong steeper, I can see how they’d favor it. Quite chewy.
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