No.143/6, Weediya Bandara Mawatha,
Angoda, Sri Lanka(Ceylon).
Whilst all blends have been well received by consumers around the world, we have noticed some special preference towards specific blends. The FESTIVAL COLLECTION teas rank first in that category while BOUQUET teas have been a very popular choice among the female consumers. FRUITS & FLOWERS was a novel experience to many customers where it gave them the opportunity to experience pure black /green tea with teas mixed with fruits & flowers in two parts of the same product.
Except few specialty blends such as Darjeeling and Oolong where these teas are not grown/manufactured in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Basilur tea always use only the highest quality 100% Pure Ceylon Teas carrying the precious Lion Logo, which is the symbol of fine quality Ceylon teas. We have a range of Ceylon High Grown teas, Medium Growns and Low Growns. High Grown & low Grown black teas are also available with & without flavours. Also a range of flavoured & non flavoured green teas are available under BASILUR.
Occasionally, tea connoisseurs will express contempt for tea bags, for the following reasons
1. Tea bags usually contain broken grades so that they will infuse quickly.
2. Whole-leaf teas come in a larger number of varieties; and the most interesting and enjoyable teas are sometimes not available in bags.
3. Connoisseurs like to have something to sneer at.
Nevertheless, BASILUR use only the highest quality grades for our tea bags ensuring the same enjoyment as of a leafy grade. Of course, you can always enjoy BASILUR leaf tea better because you could touch it and feel it and see how is has been made. We invite you to enjoy some of the unique characters of Ceylon teas such as Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya and Uva in BASILUR tea bags.
Generally spring water has a higher mineral content. Acidity, alkalinity and mineral content of the water can affect the taste of the brew. Water with a higher mineral content can give a fuller, sweeter taste, while water with a lower mineral content can taste slightly sharper & bright. The types of minerals present will also change the taste & body of the tea. Calcium is needed for a full sweet taste where as magnesium & iron are detrimental to the flavour of the tea. The ph of the water can have similar effects, though closer to neutral ( a ph of 07 is neutral) or slightly alkaline is generally considered best for tea. If you are using tap water some sort of filtration is usually recommended. One should remove chlorine & other chemicals as well as sediment from your water eliminating too many minerals. The composition of tap water varies from region to region. It is informative to experiment using different bottled waters & filtering techniques with a regularly used tea to experience the difference of good water & to find your own preferences
We recommend using non chlorinated water for brewing tea, especially for green teas. Chlorinated tap water destroys the flavour of tea.
We suggest that one should not use boiling water straight on to the tea leaves. The reason is that boiling water tends to cook & stew the tea leaves. In addition, when water is boiled oxygen evaporates & the crisp mineral texture in the brew disappears. Especially the green teas should be steeped with well below boiling water. That is at temperatures not exceeding 50-85 degrees Celsius. But black teas can be steeped near boiling water that gives the tea a fuller body.
Quantity of leaves
Tea should be made to match your personal taste. Our suggestion is to always use lesser amount of leaves & steep longer. This provides more control to the tea drinker. Secondly we recommend avoiding tight metal ball strainers or narrow teapots. Pure tea leaves offer the best flavour when provided ample room to brew & exude their best.
Finally we prefer letting the leaves sit in the water and not necessarily straining them out. Good quality tea leaves when used in correct quantities will not go bitter unless left for a very long time.
For conventional style of green tea brewing we recommend to use 1.5grms of green tea & brew for 3-5 minutes.
For conventional style of black tea brewing we recommend to use 2grms of black tea leaves to be steeped in a pot for 3-4 minutes. Black tea can be steeped with near boiling water since these teas are harder than green teas.
Tea is a drink made by infusing leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis, or Thea sinensis) in hot water. The name ‘tea’ is also used to refer to the leaves themselves; and it is also the name of a mid- to late-afternoon meal in the British Isles and associated countries, at which tea (the drink) is served along with various foods.
The three main categories are green, black, and oolong. All three kinds are made from the same plant species. The major differences between them are a result of the different processing methods they undergo. Black teas undergo several hours of oxidation in their preparation for market; oolongs receive less oxidation, and green teas are not oxidized at all.
There are, of course, many different varieties within these three main categories.
The word for tea in most of mainland China (and also in Japan) is ‘cha’. (Hence its frequency in names of Japanese teas: Sencha, Hojicha, etc.) But the word for tea in Fujian province is ‘te’ (pronounced approximately ‘tay’). As luck would have it, the first mass marketers of tea in the West were the Dutch, whose contacts were in Fujian. They adopted this name, and handed it on to most other European countries. The two exceptions are Russia and Portugal, who had independent trade links to China. The Portuguese call it ‘cha’, the Russians ‘chai’. Other areas (such as Turkey, South Asia and the Arab countries) have some version of ‘chai’ or ‘shai’.
‘Tay’ was the pronunciation when the word first entered English, and it still is in Scotland and Ireland. For unknown reasons, at some time in the early eighteenth century the English changed their pronunciation to ‘tee’. Virtually every other European language, however, retains the original pronunciation of ‘tay’.
The first step in tea production is the harvest. Most harvesting is still done by hand, which is very labor-intensive. Some growers have had success using a machine that acts much like a vacuum cleaner, sucking the leaves off the branch. The latter method is used for the cheaper varieties of tea, as it is not capable of discriminating between the high-quality tip leaves and the coarser leaves toward the bottom of the branch. The harvested leaves can be processed in two ways: CTC or orthodox.
CTC, which stands for “cut/crush, tear, curl,” is used primarily for lower-quality leaves. CTC processing is done by machine; its name is actually fairly descriptive. The machines rapidly compress withered tea leaves, forcing out most of their sap; they then tear the leaves and curl them tightly into balls that look something like instant coffee crystals. The leaves are then “fired,” or dehydrated.
Most tea connoisseurs are not very interested in CTC tea, since this process does not allow for the careful treatment that high-quality leaves merit. But CTC has an important and legitimate role in the tea industry: since it is a mechanized process, it allows for the rapid processing of a high volume of leaves which otherwise would go to waste. It is also good for producing a strong, robust flavour from leaves of middling quality; in fact, for many varieties of leaf CTC is the preferred processing method.
The orthodox method is a bit more complex, and is usually done mostly by hand. The process differs for black, green, and oolong teas. The basic steps in the production of black tea are withering, rolling, oxidation, and firing.
First, the leaves are spread out in the open (preferably in the shade) until they wither/moisture is taken out and become limp. Withering will help rolling the leaves without breaking.
Rolling is the next step. This is rarely done by hand anymore; it is more often done by machine. Rolling helps mix together a variety of chemicals found naturally within the leaves, enhancing oxidation. After rolling, the clumped leaves are broken up and set to oxidize. Oxidation, which starts during rolling, is allowed to proceed for an amount of time that depends on the variety of leaf. Longer oxidation usually produces a less flavorful but more pungent tea. Many texts refer to the oxidation process by the misleading term “fermentation.” However traditional and evocative the term may be, I think it is best avoided. Oxidation of tea leaves is a purely chemical process and has nothing to do with the yeast-based fermentation that produces bread or beer.
Finally, the leaves are heated, or “fired,” to end the oxidation process and dehydrate them so that they can be stored until brewed or consumed as a drink.
Oolong is produced just like black tea, except that the leaves are oxidized for less time.
Green tea is not oxidized at all. Some varieties are not even withered, but are simply harvested, fired, and shipped out.
Orange Pekoe – pronounced [PEE-koh]. Usually from Ceylon and also from much of southern India. These are the largest rolled leaves. Liquors are light or pale in colour. A common misconception is that Orange Pekoe is a type of tea with an orange flavor, or that is otherwise somehow associated with the orange fruit. In fact, however, the word
OP – ‘Orange’ has nothing at all to do with the tea’s flavour.
OPA – Orange Peko A – Long bold leaf tea with fair twist. Larger than OP in size. Light in cup.
BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe. Considerably large pieces of broken leaves, which need more time to infuse. This grade of tealeaves is slower to infuse than D and F. Many fine teas are available starting from this grade
Pekoe – Shotty, curly or semi curly leaf of large size. Bigger than BOP. The liquors generally have more color than a leafy grade
OP1 – Orange Pekoe 1 – well made, wiry, twisted long leaf. Liquor light in cup.
BOP1 – Broken Orange Pekoe 1 – Wiry and twisted, shorter than OP1.
FBOPF1Sp – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning 1 Special – similar leaf to BOP1, has long bright tips. Light in cup.
GFOP – Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe – Often referred to flowery orange pekoe with “tips” and flowers that are golden in colour.
TGFOP – Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe – A larger ratio of golden tips would be included in this classification of flowery orange pekoe.
B.O.P.F. – Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning – It is much smaller than B.O.P. and its main virtues are quick brewing, with good colour in the cup.
Dust – The tiniest particles of the broken tea leaves left behind after sifting due to mechanical damage by transportation or processing. The relatively smallest particle size has the biggest surface area and contributes to rapidly steeping of tea. D grade tea is often used in tea bags.
Fanning – Slightly larger than dust, this grade has the same rapid steeping property like D-grade and often used in tea bags.
Unorthodox – ( CTC ) manufacture
BP1 – Broken Pekoe1- Most common broken pekoe grade. Slightly larger than B.O.P., but granular.
PF1 – Pekoe Fanning 1 – Equivalent in size to grainy BOPF but granular. Heavy liquor, dark in cup mainly used in tea bags
PD – Pekoe Dust – Similar to Orthodox Dust, but granular. Heavy liquor, dark in cup mainly used in tea bags
Terms used to describe Dry Leaf :
Black: A black appearance is desirable.
Blackish: A satisfactory appearance.
Bold: Particles of leaf which are too large for the particular grade.
Brown: A brown appearance in teas that normally indicates overly harsh treatment of the leaf.
Clean: Leaf that is free from fibre, dust and all extraneous matter.
Curly: The leaf appearance of whole leaf grade teas such as O.P., as distinct from “wiry”.
Even: True to the grade, consisting of pieces of leaf of fairly even size.
Flaky: Flat, open and often light in texture.
Gray: Caused by too much abrasion during sorting.
Grainy: Describes primary grades of well-made CTC teas such as Pekoe Dust.
Leafy: A tea in which leaves tend to be on the large or long side.
Light: A tea light in weight, of poor density. Sometimes flaky.
Musty: A tea affected by mildew.
Neat: A grade having good “make” and size.
Powdery: Fine light dust.
Ragged: An uneven, badly manufactured and graded tea.
Stalk & Fibre: Should be minimal in superior grades, but is generally unavoidable in lower-grade teas.
Shotty: well-made Gunpowder or Pekoe. Bold in appearance, curly.
Tip: A sign of fine plucking, apparent in top grades of orthodox “Low Grown Type Teas”.
Uneven & Mixed: “Uneven” pieces of leaf usually indicative of poor sorting and not true to the particular grade.
Well Twisted: Used for describing whole-leaf grades, often referred to as “well-made” or “rolled”. OP, OP1 grades.
Wiry: Leaf appearance of a well-twisted, thin-leaf tea. OP, OP1grades.
Terms used to describe Infused Leaf :
Bright: A lively bright appearance. Usually indicates bright liquors.
Coppery: Bright leaf that indicates a well-manufactured tea.
Dull: Lacks brightness and usually denotes poor tea. Can be due to faulty manufacture and firing, or a high moisture content.
Dark: A dark or dull colour that usually indicates poorer leaf.
Green: When referring to black tea, refers to under-fermentation or to leaves from immature bushes (liquors often raw or light). Can also be caused by poor rolling.
Mixed or Uneven: Leaf of varying colour.
Terms used to describe Liquors:
Aroma: Smell or scent denoting “inherent character,” usually in tea grown at high altitudes.
Bakey: An over-fired liquor. Tea in which too much moisture has been driven off.
Body: A liquor having both fullness and strength, as opposed to being thin.
Bright: Denotes a lively fresh tea with good keeping quality.
Brisk: The most “live” characteristic. Results from good manufacture.
Burnt: Extreme over-firing.
Character: An attractive taste, specific to origin, describing teas grown at high altitudes.
Coarse: Describes a harsh, undesirable liquor.
Coloury: Indicates useful depth of colour and strength.
Cream: A precipitate obtained after cooling in well-made low grown teas.
Dull: Not clear, and lacking any brightness or briskness.
Earthy: Normally caused by damp storage, but can also describe a taste that is sometimes “climatically inherent” in teas from certain regions.
Empty: Describes a liquor lacking fullness. No substance.
Flat: Not fresh (usually due to age).
Flavour: A most desirable extension of “character,” caused by slow growth at high elevations. Relatively rare.
Fruity: Can be due to over-fermentation and/or bacterial infection before firing. An overripe taste.
Full: A good combination of strength and colour.
Gone off: A flat or old tea. Often denotes a high moisture content.
Green: An immature, “raw” character. Often due to under fermentation (Sometimes under withering).
Harsh: A taste generally due to under withered leaf. Very rough.
Heavy: A thick, strong and coloury liquor with limited briskness.Heavy: A thick, strong and coloury liquor with limited briskness.
High-Fried: Over-fired but not bakey or burntLacking: Describes a neutral liquor. No body or pronounced characteristics.
Light: Lacking strength and depth of colour.
Malty: A full, bright tea with a taste of malt.
Mature: Not bitter or flat.
Metallic: A sharp Metallic taste.
Muddy: A dull liquor.
Musty: Suspicion of mould.
Plain: A liquor that is “clean” but lacking in desirable characteristics.
Plain: A liquor that is “clean” but lacking in desirable characteristics.
Pungent: Astringent with a good combination of briskness, brightness and strength.
Quality: Refers to “cup quality” and denotes a combination of the most desirable liquoring qualities.
Raw: A bitter, unpleasant flavour.
Soft: The opposite of briskness. Lacking any “live” characteristic. Caused by inefficient fermentation and/or firing.
Strength: Substance in cup.
Taint: Characteristic or taste that is foreign to tea, such as oil, garlic, etc. Often due to being stored next to other commodities with strong characteristics of their own.
Thick: Liquor with good colour and strength.
Thin: An insipid light liquor that lacks desirable characteristics.