Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Single Origin Teas, Idulgashinna Ceylon Green Organic

Single Origin Teas Description:
Grown in the esteemed Uva region, Idulgashinna offers a delicious organic fair-trade green tea.  While Sri Lanka is not normally known for green teas, this light brew offers a rich green flavor with a fruitiness that reminds us of lychees.  With a pan-drying finish it certainly can't be called delicate! 

Idulgashinna is a small bio-dynamic tea estate, located above 3,000 feet. This organic estate is committed to fine teas while also  providing ethical jobs for its workers.  This estate is certainly one of the jewels of Sri Lanka, though often gets over-looked!

Sample provided by Single Origin Teas

My Review:
A green tea from Ceylon? Has the world gone mad? Well, yes, and probably. I have only recently heard of Ceylon green tea. This is my first opportunity to sample one. My previous experience with Single Origin Teas has been excellent, so I am looking forward to today's tasting.

I have had several email exchanges with James at Single Origin Teas. This business is a new labor of love for him but he is hardly new at it. Before opening this Texas based company he worked at a tea shop in England. Before that he worked on an estate in Sri Lanka.

Another interesting tidbit of information is the brown paper bags the tea is packed in was chosen because it is made in the USA and for its environmental footprint. Except for the wire tie the bag is completely compostable, including the window, which is made from plants. That is pretty cool.

On to the tea. First off, the picture is very accurate of what was in my sample. It is green, silver, and brown. The leaf is longer than expected. I am used to seeing roto-vane Ceylon tea. This is large pieces.

The dry aroma is grassy. I used about two tsp of leaf. I set my kettle to 180F. I am shooting from the hip with the parameters. My steep time was 3 minutes. The result is a dark honey colored liquor that is quite clear and shiny. The wet leaf has what I call a beef stew aroma.

The sip is making me take notice. It is familiar and different at the same time. This is difficult for me to describe. It has an almost leather quality below the lighter floral notes. There is a brisk element and a slight drying. It is not bitter. I think it could become so, if you overheat or over steep. Three minutes was about right. I might even go 2 1/2 just to see. I am still at a loss for words. I think the best I can offer is this is green tea with guts. It is still much gentler than most black teas. I cannot verify the fruitiness of lychees stated in the description as I have yet to sample a lychee. I have one in storage but have not gotten to it yet.

Cup two was also brewed at 180F for 3 minutes. The wet leaf now has a seaweed scent. The brew is similar in color to the first. The sip is much more tame. It still has flavor but I miss the Grrr of the first cup. As it cools, it does liven up a bit. I think a little more leaf and a shorter first steep would balance this out.

As I was approaching the bottom of the cup, the light hit it just right. The liquor kind of glowed. It was honey-yellow around the edges and became a beautiful orange-red in the deeper pool of delight. I imagine it would have made a funny sight if my wife had seen me. I was probably cross-eyed as I stared at the bottom of the cup for a good long while.

All in all, for my first experience with a Ceylon green, I am pleased. This one is $7 for 2 ounces making it another good choice for an everyday tea.

I must have just hit the sweet spot with this one today. I steeped for 3 minutes with a higher temp of around 195 F. The wet leaf still has what I often call a beef stew aroma, others call it artichoke. I’ve never had artichoke so I’ll take their word for it. BUT on top of that wonderful green aroma this time I noticed an awesome floral note. A reviewer on Steepster called it orange flowers – and I say, yes exactly!

When I sipped the hot cup my first reaction was beer but not really. I sipped again and thought wine but not really. Good definitely. As it cools it becomes closer to bi luo chun but with a strong fruit/floral thing going on. Single Origin Teas says it reminds them of lychee. I still have not tried lychee tea. To me it is almost mango or something. This is a truly cool tea that kept me interested the entire cup.

Visit Single Origin Teas website.

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