There is no beverage quite like tea. Brewed from the leaves of a herb first recorded as a medicine five thousand years ago, tea has since been celebrated in the most revered manner by poets, emperors, kings, and commoners. Tea is universally known as a healthy herb though not often as one that is also luxurious and indulgent. The Seasonal phenomenon that is perfectly expressed in the Uva Region of Sri Lanka, is induced entirely by nature and wonderfully presents the indulgence in tea.
The most popular natural beverage in the world after water hides in the aromatic infusion of its leaves an inspiring and artistic story. The luxury in real tea – tea made in the traditional style – is derived from the artisanal manner in which it is made.
Handpicked, gently withered, rolled in a style perfected over millennia, expertly fermented under the eye of a tea maker with decades of experience who must individually define the perfect moment at which to finally bake the tea and conclude a process that for millennia has followed an identical rhythm. Then tea is tasted for selected by experts who have trained for decades to understand the mystery of nature’s most wonderful brew. That, in essence is the story of each tea, although it is manifest in thousands of different tastes.
Fine tea that is made in the traditional manner and enjoyed garden fresh, unblended is blessed with unique, delicious and often rare qualities derived from the aspect of terroir. As in the case of fine wine, tea grown in different valleys, fields and under the varied soil, humidity, and climatic conditions in Sri Lanka, each have their own identity. It is that aspect of terroir and the personality that it confers upon each tea that elevates single origin, single region and single estate tea from a tasteful luxury that is imbued with natural goodness to an indulgence that combines sensorial pleasure, natural goodness and the uniqueness of identity crafted by nature.
The Uva Seasonal phenomenon is produced entirely by natural alchemy through climatic conditions that appear for only a few days each year. The Uva Seasonal Quality was chief amongst the reasons why Ceylon tea has for centuries been known as the world’s finest. On 09th August, on Uva Highlands Estate, our Uva 2011 Seasonal Flush was harvested at 4,000 feet above sea level.
Nurtured by a dramatic but fleeting confluence of natural conditions, the tea plants on the estate entered an entirely climate induced period of natural disruption. Fanned by the dry, dessicating winds from the East in the two weeks prior to harvesting, the plants experience breakdown in normal photosynthesis. The combination of cold nights, hot daytime temperature and the dry wind accentuates the formation of certain desirable volatiles that contribute to the aroma and flavour of tea. In this way, combined with a shorter than usual wither, roll and fermentation, an unique seasonal flavour appears.
Seasonal conditions would usually occur in the Uva Region from July to September, even for a few days, whilst in the Dimbula region an entirely different seasonal quality appears if the right conditions occur, usually at some time from January to April.
When handpicked at the perfect moment on 9th August, the natural climatic influences had conditioned the young, tender shoots, inducing a period of very slow growth but superlative flavour. When picked therefore the leaves offered the very special pleasure that has been prized for centuries as a rare indulgence. This year less than 500 kilogrammes of the distinctive tea were harvested as the season quickly ended with the onset of rain.
The result, a limited edition Seasonal Flush, signed by the Teamaker and individually numbered. The tea is bright and energetic with a sparkling bouquet and flavour that combines eucalyptus, citrus, herbs and mint in a complex but delicate, honey coloured infusion. Magical. Natural. Enjoy.