It's no secret amongst my regular readers that Earl Grey is my all time favourite blend of tea. And I have tried many types of Earl Grey to confirm this. But if you were to ask me what my favourite tea is in it's purest form you may not know. That is because I myself have never been sure. All I have known is that as a tea drinker who does not add milk, Assam is certainly not my thing. It's too strong, too malty with a slightly odd taste.
This past year though, I have taken to drinking Ceylon tea and have utterly fallen in love with it. It comes in many different forms. Some are gently sweet, others fiercely flavoursome, some are so delicate it's barely there, others are as satisfying as any Indian or Chinese tea. But what I love every time I drink a cup is that it oozes quality and sophistication and it is a tea that keeps me interested.
I was delighted last week to be contacted by a new tea company. Niko Ceylon Tea specialise in Ceylon tea and I was very kindly sent a wonderful selection of their tea. I love getting involved with fledging tea companies. I love seeing them evolve and raise their profile. I love seeing what they can do. And I absolutely love - and appreciate - their enthusiasm and very obvious love for tea. It matches my own so I was incredibly excited to try their wonderful tea.
Currently Niko tea are in the process of building their website so you can access their tea via Amazon.
After a particularly hot summer here in England, where the air was stifling, the temperatures were relentless and everything felt like such a chore, it's quite refreshing now to have cooler temperatures. In fact at times, when the evenings and mornings are nippy, there is a real sense of autumn (my favourite season) in the air. There is, at times, a crisp freshness, a clarity to the air that you get as temperatures cool down. And I am now looking towards autumn and my favourite celebrations. Halloween and firework night.
So there is a desire in me to experience autumnal tea's. Those sorts of tea's that are warming and comforting. Those sorts of tea's that you make in your favourite mug, or sip from travel mugs whilst enjoying the end of year festivities. When the huge batch of samples arrived I homed in on one particular one immediately - Cinnamon Orange. And within minutes the kettle was on and the tea measured out strictly to make the idea cup of tea.
In the physical sense this tea really does represent autumn to me. This tea is dark black in colour and the additional orange rind and sunflower petals add wonderful dashes of colour in contrast. It reminds me of bright, sparkly fireworks against a inky black sky.
The aroma of the unmade tea is stunning. That all too familiar scent of orange is the first thing I noticed. It hits you when you open the package. In addition, there is a sweet element to the aroma. Inviting and delicious.
I was pottering around the kitchen whilst the tea was brewing and the wonderful scent of the tea fills the kitchen, making everything feel fresh and new. I brewed the tea for several minutes. It was hard to wait that long though, I couldn't wait to sit down and try this wonderful blend.
The Ceylon tea used as the base is a strong tea. It's certainly not at all delicate like some of the other similar tea's I've tried. But this is good. It needs to stand it's own against the cinnamon and orange. If this was a more delicate tea then the flavour of the tea would of been lost amongst everything else that is going on with this tea. So you are guaranteed a wonderful, strong and solid cup of tea. Ideal for those who do like Assam tea, without all the yucky malty element.
This tea is particularly well balanced. The flavour of the orange is present and clear but not at all overpowering. There is a wonderful zingy-ness to the orange. The base tea is strong and the slightly sweet orange flavour takes the edge of the strength of the tea. The two flavours balance nicely. One doesn't outshine the other. It's particularly well blended.
What is really interesting about this tea is the added cinnamon, a typical ingredient for winter tea's. Each time you take a sip of this tea your tastebuds go on a real journey. The strength of the tea is the first thing to hit you. Then you have the softening sweetness of the citrus flavour, which washes over your tongue in gentle waves. Finally though, you have the spiciness of the cinnamon. It tiptoes over your tongue and sets everything alive. The sensations that this blend of tea brings to you are wonderful. This is not just another cup of tea - it's a real experience. And a satisfying one as well. I am especially fond of this tea!
This tea is idea for autumn. It's warming and satisfying whilst being refreshing, too. The quality of the tea is exceptional - some of the best Ceylon tea I've ever tasted. It's rich, robust, smooth with a ever so slightly nutty flavour to it too.
I can only thank the lovely Niko tea for sending me such a wonderful mixture of tea. I cannot wait to try the other blends that were included in the package. If they are as good as this tea, I'm in for a real treat.