Kandy is the oldest tea producing region in Sri Lanka. Kandy’s oldest tea garden, Loolecondera Estate, was established by James Taylor in 1867. Today i’m reviewing a tea from Loolecondera Estate. Beyond that historical novelty, it’s more or less a pointless tea you really wouldn’t choose to drink. I’m not saying it’s terrible… but it barely scoots in under the wire of being “decent” (ironically, not unlike James Taylor…).
Located in the dead center of Sri Lanka, Kandy tends to get warm, wet weather all year round. Like other parts of Sri Lanka, being tropically situated, Kandy actually gets very little temperature variation throughout the year–making it an ideal place to raise. That being said, the most teas produced in Kandy end up being CTC, OP, BOPs and the occasional FOP. The highest regarded tea garden in Kandy (at least here in the West) is Kenilworth Estate. Unfortunately i wasn’t able to get my hands on one of those this time.
Although I’ve never reviewed one before, there is a tea grading lower than OP: just simply called “pekoe”. ^^;; As you can imagine it’s pretty rare. The reasons to produce such an unrefined tea (rather than simply making a CTC or souchong that would probably be of higher quality and definitely sell better) usually have something to do with the growing conditions or some kind of unexpected drought. Otherwise it’s more so a novelty than anything else, as is the case with today’s tea.
Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe‘s aroma kind of sucks. I’ve definitely had better aromas from CTC blends. Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe has the tiniest hint of honey dropped into an otherwise unremarkable Ceylon Black scent. In flavor, Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe is also just kind of sad. It’s a bit sweeter than your average Ceylon CTC blend, but not by much. In texture, Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe has a medium-low grit with a minute portion of smokey curl. Honestly, I have to say the best thing that Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe has going for is its liquor: a copper-amber with a green sheen on the meniscus. According to Upton, Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe makes for “a rich cup with citrus hints and dark honey notes…The finish is complex, with cedar hints and subtle wintergreen nuances.” Err… yeah, not so much this year. Overall, Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe has quite the sad showing. If you want to try a tea from the oldest garden in Sri Lanka, this is your chance. If you want a decent tea, try pretty much any other orthodox Ceylon?
- Aroma – 92
- Taste – 90
- Texture – 91
- Spunk – 89
- Price – 92
- Availability – 98 (Unavailable anywhere else, but then… can anyone else really afford to take such a loss on a tea?)
- Appearance – 93
Mean score – 92%
Meh. On the upside, i get to add another tea to the “novelty teas” category…