Dimbula OP1 Pure Ceylon Black Tea from Tea and Herb Company Limited

Today, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to Dimbula region of Sri Lanka, as I tasted a sample of Dimbula OP1 Pure Ceylon black tea, provided by the Tea and Herb Company Limited, located in North Mulleriyawa, Sri Lanka.

According to documentation provided by my contact at the Tea and Herb Co., the tea in this sample was sourced from four estates (Garden Marks) in Sri Lanka. These estates include St. Andrews, Queensberry, Bogahawatte, and Weddemulle. This tea is considered a high altitude (3,500 ft to 5,000 ft) grown tea whose planters focus more on the flavor of their teas, and less on the leaf style during production. The estates each provide teas that have a fresh taste, but differ slightly according to the microclimate in which they reside. The teas blend together very well, producing a tea that is bright, fresh, and leaves a clean taste in the mouth. Below is a map of the Dimbula growing region, courtesy of Vicony Teas.

Dimbula Region Map

Let the journey begin…

Date: 09/03/2013

Product Name: Dimbula OP1 Pure Ceylon Black Tea

Purchased From: The Tea and Herb Company Limited

Origin: Dimbula growing region of Sri Lanka

Type of Tea: Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Black

Tea Leaf Characteristics Prior to Infusion:

Dimbula OP1 Dry Leaves

Aroma: Sweet, fruity (dried fruit). A very pleasant and rich aroma.

Dryness: Very dry. Leaves crack in to coarse crumbles.

Color: Dark Brown to black, with a few reddish tips.

Texture: Smooth, dry, twisted leaves with some stems.

Size, Shape, and Length: Fairly uniform size and shape. Average length about 0.5 inches (13 mm). Leaves are twisted.

Unique Characteristics: Great aroma, uniform color/shape/size, a few nice reddish tips.

Sampling Measurements:

Amount of Water: 18 oz (532 ml)

Amount of Tea: 9 grams

Tea Liquor Evaluation:

First Infusion:

Dimbula OP1 1st Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F (93°C)

Infusion Time: 3 Minutes and 0 seconds

Aroma: Slightly fruity and spicy. Fresh and clean black tea aroma.

Color: Bright copper. Clean. Transparent.

Taste: Fresh, clean taste with a slightly floral (jasmine) note, and a very mild bitterness. Body is full and smooth. Aftertaste has a certain spiciness, but hard to determine which spice.

Comments: A fresh black tea taste with a touch of jasmine and spice towards the end.

Second Infusion:

Dimbula OP1 2nd Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F (93°C)

Infusion Time: 3 Minutes and 0 seconds

Aroma: Lighter overall. Slightly fruity and very slight spice.

Color: Very light copper. Clear. Transparent.

Taste: Lighter overall. Aftertaste maintains a floral (jasmine) and very light spice taste. Body is lighter.

Comments: Despite lighter aroma/color/taste, still a good taste. Third infusion should produce an acceptable flavor.

Third Infusion:

Dimbula OP1 3rd Infusion

Water Temperature: 200°F (93°C)

Infusion Time: 3 minutes and 15 seconds

Aroma: Lighter than the 2nd infusion. Very lightly fruity.

Color: Dull golden, with a very light touch of copper. Clear. Transparent.

Taste: Lighter overall than 2nd infusion. Very light floral (jasmine) taste toward the end. Spice is no longer noticeable. Lighter body.

Comments: Still an acceptable flavor, despite lighter character. I do not expect a fourth infusion to be worthwhile.

Leaf Characteristics After Infusions:

Dimbula OP1 Wet LeavesColor: Brown to dark brown, with a few green leaves. Brown stems.

Aroma: Slightly fruity and sweet.

Size, Shape: All leaf fragments and stems. Leaves appear to be on the smaller side of the spectrum. Not much structural durability.

Unique Characteristics: Pleasant wet leaf smell. Some green leaves blended in with mostly brown.

Final Comments: Now that I have sampled four unflavored black teas from four different regions of Sri Lanka, I can honestly say that each region really does have specific characteristics, and they are not always subtle differences. This Dimbula OP1 had a very fresh, yet classic, black tea taste with obvious notes of jasmine at the end. This blend could be used as an Earl Grey base, or perhaps a lighter style of breakfast blend. This was a very enjoyable black tea, with the only noteworthy and potentially negative aspect being the obvious changes in color and strength from infusion to infusion. However, the third infusion still produced an acceptable taste, and I had no problem finishing the pot. Another good quality Ceylon black tea from the Tea and Herb Company.