I’m starting with the black teas in my cupboard. This one is called Buddha Peak Ceylon and is an organic, Sri Lanka black tea from Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
Although now Sri Lanka is known for tea, according to Coffee and Tea by Elin McCoy and John Frederick Walker, it started with coffee approximately 200 years before planting tea. The coffee blight destroyed the island’s coffee crops in the 1870s, and while the tea plants had gone in before then, shortly thereafter they planted more tea. It is now one of their main exports. (154-55)
There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere.
Black teas have been completely oxidized, so the leaves of this tea are long, slender and black, with no gradation in color. It is described on the tin as having a malty flavor, and I smell it in the tin. When brewed, the leaves turn a lovely reddish brown, and take on an almost floral fragrance. The color in the cup is the same bright reddish brown.
[All teas are tasted without milk, even though that is how I customarily drink my black teas. I add the milk later, after I have come up with my flavor profile, as limited as my tasting vocabulary is] The flavor is clear and crisp, and I could conceivably drink this without milk, but I don’t want to. This is a lighter tea than the breakfast teas that I like, and while it won’t be put into the regular rotation, I like it. You can get it here http://www.peets.com/shop/tea_detail.asp?id=2043&cid=2001