Monday, February 22, 2010

Tea Review 109: Dilmah Single Estate Ceylon Teas


Dombagastalawa Estate
Nilagama Estate
Lover's Leap Estate
Somerset Estate
Dilmah Watte Series
Single Estate Ceylon Teas

My experiences with Ceylon tea, thus far, have been mostly so-so, with one or two notable exceptions. I found Dilmah's Watte Series of single estate Ceylons to be an interesting notion though I liked some of the varieties more than others. While they may or may not be attempting to woo wine drinkers into trying their teas, the packaging, with notes on each estate, including altitude, and tasting notes that compare each tea to a type of wine, is obviously an attempt to present Ceylon tea as a more upscale kind of beverage.

Dombagastalawa Estate
Dilmah compares this tea, which is grown at 3,300 feet, to a Syrah wine and notes that it has a "biscuity" taste. I'm not sure what that means, but for me this one was probably the best of the bunch, with a full, rich flavor not unlike a high end Assam.

Nilagama Estate
A low grown tea, from an estate located at just 800 feet, Nilagama is "almost chocolatey and ripe tasting" and "full bodied with a big structure and fleshy." Fleshy? Really? Its analogue in the wine world is supposedly the Cabernet Sauvignon. I'd rank this one second of the bunch after the Dombagastalawa. It has a somewhat similar flavor, but lacks the richness of the former.

Lover's Leap Estate
This one didn't do it for me, but of course there's no accounting for taste. Lover's Leap is produced at 5,700 feet and Dilmah likens it to a Champagne, a comparison often made about Darjeeling tea. This variety is probably closer to a Darjeeling than any of the others, with a very light color and flavor, but I found it to be a little too thin and astringent for my liking.

Somerset Estate
From the Somerset Estate, at 4,600 feet, comes a tea with a "fruity, exotic perfume" and "ample tannins" that Dilmah likens to a Pinot Noir. For me this one was not so bad with a nice reddish brown color and a good flavor but perhaps just a bit too thin and astringent. When I think of Ceylon tea, this is the "classic" flavor profile - if there is such a thing - that comes to mind.


RedUmbrella Tea
Canada’s Loose Leaf Tea Co.

1 comment:

Nora said...

I came across dilmah in tea bags quite by accident. Tea peeps get all kinds of donations, don't we? I was ery pleased with this CTC.