When it comes to sampling tea, the Dilmah teabag is my yardstick for comparison, I therefore felt it best to gain a deep insight into this tea first. However, I was a bit too overenthusiastic and I had produced well over 3000 words on the topic, three documents, two blogs (possibly a third) and a spreadsheet! I have now painfully reduced this down to a little under 500 words…
I started drinking Dilmah after a long contemplative period standing in the supermarket looking deeply into what seemed to be a barrage of generic tea options. What caught my eye about Dilmah were the vacuum sealed leaves, and the statement of ethical practice. At the time I was going through a strong anti big-name-brand anything, and Dilmah came across to me as the little man standing up above the rest.
It is a pure black tea and thus contains no traces of bergamot; a citrus fruit used to flavour many blended teas. One to two minutes is all that is needed to make a typical mug strength brew, for larger cups, I would recommend the use of two bags, or the use of the extra strength variety (which I will look into at a later date). It takes a long time for the bitterness to seep out of the bag making this a very safe tea for the forgetful. The colour is deep amber with a hint of rust red, with the addition of milk this becomes a yellow-orange hue depending on the length of brew. Dilmah drinks well with milk, sugar, and honey, but can also be nice with a slice of lemon, or a twist of lime. The finish is polite and moves on after lingering just long enough to let you know it has done a good job, but before you realise there is a very slight hint of bitterness.
The bags can be reused at most up to three times if drunk as a black tea. A longer brew time is necessary with the second brew producing a sweeter flavour with less of the bold maltiness expressed the finish the first time round; I liked this second brew best with a little sugar as it made the tea taste of honeysuckle. If you are on a tight budget the third brew if left long enough brought in a very subtle floral notes, but the tea had started to cool considerably before it got to this stage.
There has been many a time where I have left a mug on the bench in the kitchen for upwards of 30 minutes with it still being drinkable, with i might add a notable involuntary twitch at the end; there is small amount of fine dust does get left in the bottom of the cup, If drunk too slowly this can cause the last mouthful to be quite bitter. I recommend not drinking this last bit if you have left the tea a bit too long; rather, leave this unsavoury deposit for the sink.
I intend to revisit this tea in future when I feel I have grown a better appreciation of it in comparison to the rest of the tea out there.
Dilmah 100% Ceylon tea from a teabag.