The base tea for this delightful flavored green tea comes from a small tea estate in Sri Lanka called Elpitiya. The estate is medium sized producing nearly 650,000 kilos yearly (1.4 million lbs., enough to make 300 million cups) and does this on about 900 acres of land in the Kandy district. The manager Mr. Gunawardene takes pride in the estate's accomplishments. Elpitiya only started producing green tea in 1995 and in a few short years, on account of the change in crop, has managed to increase the financial return to the estate, allowing it to invest in new equipment and upgraded housing for the workers. In total the estate employs about 400 people but also buys "green leaf" from small holders (small plot farmers) which in turn has improved the living of another 500 families. Additionally the estate provides health care to its workers at district hospitals and on the estate itself there is a small dispensary manned by a nurse to attend to minor day-to-day injuries. The estate provides free housing to its workers and subsidizing food purchases of rice and fish, (vegetables are grown by the workers on small plots around their homes). The estate no longer uses pesticides but does use fertilizers to maintain tea bush yields. The produce from this estate finds its way to various markets in the Middle East and North America.
The manufacture of this Hyson green tea commences with the fresh leaf being fed onto the Panner whose primary function (through the use of heat) is to arrest the fermentation of the leaf and make it more suitable for the subsequent manufacturing (leaf handling). The leaf extracted from the Panner is passed onto the Moon Type Rollers for a 20 to 25 minute pre-condition rolling. On completion of rolling, the leaf is passed through a primary stage tea drier at low temperature to remove the excess moisture. Following the primary drier stage, the green leaf is fed into the Ball Tea Driers for the final drying and formation of the green tea. This process is long, often taking up to eight to twelve hours depending upon the ambient humidity. The dried green tea is then graded according to the size and the appearance of the leaf. The main tea grades made at this estate are: Gunpowder Special Grade, Gunpowder grade 1, Chunmee, Sowmee and Young Hyson.
Blueberries are used in many products as an ingredient and they taste great. The peak harvest is in July (known as the blueberry month) so it is very much a summertime fruit. The blueberry is a native species with North America the world's leading producer accounting for 90% of production. It is a plump juicy fruit. The blueberry started wild and over time was domesticated in the early 1900's. Through natural selection the blueberry was cultivated producing desirable texture, color and flavor.
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Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly, about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180 degrees farenheit or 80 degrees celsius. Place 1 tea bag in your cup let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, place 2-4 tea bags into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir, pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed "straight-up."
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the bags. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]
Shipping Port: Colombo
Altitude: Medium Grown: 2500-3000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Green Tea - Orthodox style
Infusion: Pale yellow green
Cup Characteristics: The tea tends light liquoring but fresh and smooth with reasonable depth and body. Very aromatic. The blueberry flavor literally fills the cup
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