(Estate Black tea)
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: OP1 (Orange Pekoe 1)
Altitude: 1600’ feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: A most satisfying tea that is smooth with excellent 'mouth feel' and a plum-like finish.
Infusion: Coppery red tending orange.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
For those of us from the West, exploring the Ruhunu region of Sri Lanka, home to Lumbini estate, is an incredible adventure. As your car winds into the hills a veritable riot of scenery passes by your window. Women in brightly colored saris hoist large baskets of fruit and vegetables fresh from the jungle as religious processions wind their way along the roadside, music blasts from loudspeakers, brightly painted roadside stalls overflow with bananas, mangos and papayas, vehicles of every shape and size stream past, livestock bray under their riders and neatly dressed school children pour out of roadside school houses, all blending together in a cacophony of sight, sound and smell.
Contrasting with this world of excitement and chaos are the neatly planted fields of tea scattered throughout the countryside, their ordered rows and stately white-washed shade trees stretching for acres. Although most of Sri Lanka’s better-known teas are produced farther “up-country” in the Uva and Dimbula growing districts, many fabulous teas are grown at the comparatively lower elevations of the Ruhunu region. Most plantations in Ruhunu are situated at roughly 2000 feet – (Lumbini falls into this category). Teas grown in the Ruhunu tend to be full bodied and thick, with an arguably more robust mouth feel than the high grown teas Sri Lanka is famous for. Lumbini OP 1 is a stunning example of this regional character. The estate is considered one of the finest in the area and in August 2006, was awarded a One Star rating by the Sri Lankan tea board. Earning the star requires excellence in 5 categories: tea quality, estate productivity, hygiene practices, production excellence and social responsibility programs.
One sip of Lumbini’s OP1 offering and you’ll understand why the estate deserved the award. The full-bodied cup leads with a brooding character that rolls over the tongue followed by the round, sultry expressiveness of plum, finishing with long satisfying layers of astringency. With its bright, coppery infusion, Lumbini OP1 can be enjoyed straight, or with a dash of milk to help open the cup – an amazing tea.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea 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 enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’