(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Region: Uva - Bandarawela
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: FP (Flowery Pekoe)
Altitude: 4000- 4500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Seasonal tea with a refreshing astringent flavor that is almost dry (to taste).
Infusion: Tending bright with golden yellow highlights
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
The Uva district of Sri Lanka peaks in quality during the Southwest monsoons from July to September. As the monsoon winds blow across the Indian Ocean they pick-up moisture during the 3000 mile journey to Sri Lanka. As the warm moist air rises into the cool mountain air condensation occurs and there is heavy rainfall on the western side of the island. The Eastern side gets very little rain but lots of sunshine. Uva is on the east side of the island and consequently being in the rain shadow the quality improves dramatically.
Aislaby is in the Malwatte Valley, also known as the heart of the Uva tea district. The pungency that this tea exhibits is particular to this district. Aislaby is classed as a high grown estate in that its bushes grow in a band between 4000 - 4500 feet above sea level. Aislaby is a medium sized estate for this region, covering 326 hectares (about 825 acres - there are 640 square acres in a square mile). The yield of the estate is about 1600 kilos per annum per hectare or about 1.1 million pounds per year, (this is enough tea to fill 175,000,000 tea bags!). Because Aislaby produces such high quality tea only about 50% is used for tea bags - the rest is bought by discerning tea people around the world. Aislaby was established as a tea factory and tea estate in the 1880’s a few short years after the tea industry began in Sri Lanka. The current estate manager Mr. Y. Wadugodapitiya is justifiably proud of his wonderful tea.
Teas that come from high grown estates provide superior flavor and the best quality because: cooler temperatures, generally better soil conditions, more sunshine, generally slightly less rainfall - These conditions cause the bush to grow more slowly and the goodness and flavor is concentrated in the new shoots.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of Aislaby for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help capture the floral character of this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!