Tea: Royal Midlands
Reviewer: Alex Zorach
✓ 1267 teas reviewed
✓ 38 of Ceylon Black Tea
✓ 12 of teakruthi
✓ 7 from Kandy, Sri Lanka
Review of Royal Midlands
January 5th, 2017
I went to try this tea first because I got the sense that it seemed the most "classic Ceylon" of Teakruthi's offerings, and it definitely delivered the character I expected. This is a little less like the types of Ceylons served in British traditions though, and more like the type of tea I find consumed in the middle-east. It had a strangeness to it though, and I felt like its true character only came out when it had cooled somewhat. I also found it grew on me, it was a bit boring the first time I tried it, but by the third time I steeped it it started to seem more remarkable.
The dry leaf has a grayish appearance and a mild but very pleasant aroma of cocoa and chocolate.
The brewed cup is rich and dark. Teakruthi describes it as "malty, fresh, slightly tart, and strong" and I agree on all points. It has a slighty charred or burned aroma, which I find very pleasant; in contrast to the dry leaf, whose smell suggested sweetness, the cup smells more like bitter chocolate. A little toasty and a little fruity, this reminds me of a more refined tea in a similar style to Ahmad Tea's Ceylon OPA: although this has smaller leaves, the aroma and overall character is similar with the bitter chocolate notes. They recommend drinking without milk, and I always drink tea this way, but I can imagine this tea also going well with milk.
The aftertaste, especially when getting to the bottom of the cup, is one thing that separates this tea from the more common renditions. There's a little tannic edge but also a freshness, almost a bit minty.
There are a lot of nuances of the aroma in this tea that only come out when it has cooled. I found I enjoyed drinking it most when it was warmer than room temperature, but only slightly. It tasted sweeter, smoother this way. I also tried letting a bit of it cool completely to room temperature, and I liked this as well.
I very much dislike that teakruthi lists "cups" but not dry weight on the online store...people don't always use the same amount of leaf and this makes it hard to get an honest price comparison. Their calculation is reasonable, 2.3 grams / cup, which would be just under 70 grams for $20.00 or just under 140 grams for $32.50. (I assume this is the quantity being sold, but I'm not sure.) That is very expensive and puts this in a price category with some of the best teas I've sampled. I thought this was a very good tea, but it wasn't quite as extraordinary as I would demand for a tea of this price. I look forward to trying the rest of Teakruthi's offerings though, I started by reviewing this one specifically because I expected it to wow me least.
I also think the "up to three steepings" was a bit of a stretch. This tea is good for two steeps, but even using more leaf and a briefer first two steeps, the third was too thin for me to really appreciate. I recommend going for two, short on the first and long on the second.