Tea Book Volume II (Gold)

Picture of Tea Book Volume II (Gold)
Style:Flavored Black Tea
Region:Sri Lanka / Ceylon
Product page:Tea Book Volume II (Gold)

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Reviewer pic64 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
(377 reviews) on

Basilur is creative in the packaging and marketing of their teas. This is part of an impressively elaborate gimmick: the second in a multi-volume series of well-decorated "books"—each a metal tin about the size and shape of a small hardback book—containing a plastic bag full of loose tea that gets folded and somewhat flattened by the inner edges of the "book" wall. I used the packaging photo from the website, but uploaded my own of the loose tea, since the actual product has fewer flowers and far fewer fruit pieces than depicted in Basilur's onsite photo.

The dry tea leaves look long, brown/black and wiry, unfurling upon steeping as a mix of lengthwise-cut tea-leaf pieces and tea stems. Perhaps 5–10% of the Ceylon tea leaves are golden instead of dark. The dried fruit pieces (papaya) aren't very common and expand in-steep by about a factor of two. The thin floral pieces (marigold, sunflower, safflower) unfurl and rise, mostly floating atop it all.

As for the tea itself...this one is best described as very weird. I've had a few cups so far, and still don't know what to think. Maybe this tea is best appreciated while under the influence of mind-altering substances. I can't directly testify to that notion, however. :-)

The dry-leaf aroma is wonderful and captivating: a potent, fruity, decidedly chocolate scent (even though chocolate isn't a listed ingredient), with florals in the background, that wafts far aloft and fills a good part of the airspace nearby, as would incense. Similarly to "Love Story", it would make a good small-room potpourri...seriously! In both cup scent and direct flavor, the chocolate recedes and takes a back seat to the floral aspect, but with base tea still farther in the background. That's hard to understand, given that the black tea is, by far, the dominant plant material by volume. What this renders across the tongue is unique in my experience, and most closely described as a floral/chocolate mix, somewhat fruity, with hints of black tea. Only the aftertaste is fruit-dominant. I still can't decide how much I like this beverage, because something like a berry-flavored chocolate bar filled with flower petals is outside my culinary world...about as bizarre as you'd imagine drinking a chocolatey potpourri.

I haven't had the other "volumes" yet, though I did review a sampler-pack version of a separate "book" called "Love Story" a couple years ago. "Tea Book Vol. II" came from an estate sale, unopened, sealed and fresh, so I'm basing the "value" rating on the current onsite price of $13.50 for 100g. Obviously you pay a premium for the intricate and artistic packaging.
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