Click to enlarge image(s)
Mandarins, (Latin: Citrus reticulata), the smallish oranges we in the West normally associate with winter and Christmas, originated in China over a thousand years ago. Its name comes from the rich color of its peel, which closely resembled the color of the robes worn by the Mandarins, the senior public officials, in ancient Chinese. This bright orange peel is normally quite thin which makes it very easy to remove - which subsequently makes them very easy to eat in large quantities!
Mandarin oranges first made their way westward in 1805. Interestingly, it was a British tea merchant returning from Canton who brought two cultivars back with him as a gift for a botanist acquaintance. From England, the fruit was brought to Italy and by 1850 it was being widely cultivated in the southern portion of that country. Shortly thereafter, the Italian ambassador to New Orleans brought some plants with him to plant in the garden of his Consul house, and the rest, as they say, is history. Brew yourself a pot and experience how well the tangy sweetness of Mandarin oranges blends with the astringency of our high grown Ceylon tea. Served piping hot or chilled over ice, this is a fabulous tea.
What type of tea do we use, how do we flavor the tea and why do we use natural flavors?
- We only use high grown teas from the top 3 tea growing regions of Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva. These three high-grown districts produce flavorful teas that have classic ‘Ceylon’ tea character which is noted by floral bouquet and flavor notes, touches of mild astringency, bright coppery color and, most importantly - perfect for use as the base tea of our flavored teas. (We have tested teas from various other origins around the world as base stock for our flavored teas, but none of these teas made the grade.) Dimbula and the western estates of Nuwara Eliya have a major quality peak during Jan/Feb, whereas Uva and the eastern estates of Nuwara Eliya have their peak in July/Aug. This ‘dual peak period’ allow us to buy the best for our flavored tea blends several times during the year, ensuring top quality and freshness.
- We use flavoring oils not crystals to give the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.
- We specify natural flavors. High quality tea tastes good and natural flavors do not mask the natural taste of the high grown Ceylon tea. (The norm for many making flavored tea is to use overpowering artificial flavors, which can be used to hide lower quality tea). Natural flavors do not leave an aftertaste giving the tea a clean and true character. It should be noted that natural flavors tend to be somewhat ‘soft ‘ and the flavors slightly muted, but for many this is a refreshing change and one of the desired attributes of our naturally flavored teas.