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What Is Ceylon Tea? Benefits, Uses, & Recipes
Written by Lindsey Goodwin Updated 08/05/20
Ceylon tea is a popular type of black tea that is also known as Sri Lankan tea. Served as an iced tea or warm, it is a favorite beverage for many tea drinkers. While Ceylon is known for its bold flavor, it can vary significantly in taste, depending on the type of tea and where it’s grown in the country.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
• Origin: Sri Lanka
• Alternative Names: Sri Lankan tea
• Temperature: 194–205°F
• Caffeine: 50–90 mg per cup
What Is Ceylon Tea?
Ceylon (say-lawn) tea is a tea produced on the island nation of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka is small, but it has an enormous range in elevation, climate, soil type, plant varietals, and weather, so the flavors and character of the teas produced there vary greatly. Despite the regional nuances, a classic Ceylon flavor is generally thought to be bold, full, and brisk. It has medium-to-full tannins and some notes of citrus, chocolate, or spice.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Ceylon teas are made from the dried leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are often described as wiry because they are left long and thin with a wirelike look. In the world of tea, these leaves are very easy to recognize. Most Ceylon tea is orthodox tea, meaning it was processed by hand, making a brisk, bright tea.
5 Health Benefits of Ceylon Tea:
Ceylon tea is known to have a long list of health benefits. Some major benefits include:https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Drinking tea boosts your metabolism, which may help increase energy and help your body burn fat.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Ceylon tea is rich in antioxidants, which may increase white blood cells, boost the immune system, and help the body fight disease-causing viruses and harmful bacteria.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Studies have shown that consumption of black tea may help reduce blood pressure.1 Ceylon tea contains potassium, which relaxes the tension in your blood vessels and arteries.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Drinking Ceylon tea has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels. By helping to regulate the glucose and insulin levels in the body, Ceylon tea may help prevent the spikes and drops that can be dangerous for people with diabetes.https://453aaf78c3fee4e9558e77454a3d4cb9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Collagen is important for skin elasticity. Some of the antioxidants that have been identified in Ceylon tea are linked to reducing collagen loss in the skin by preventing oxidative stress in the surrounding cells.
Ceylon tea is typically consumed as a refreshing beverage, freshly brewed and hot, or as an iced tea. Lemon, sweeteners, and/or milk may be added to smooth its strong flavor and reduce bitterness. Because of its caffeine and brisk qualities, it makes for a good morning or afternoon tea.
How to Drink Ceylon Tea
The diversity of Ceylon teas leads to a great variety in how you can enjoy it. Ceylon teas are a popular base for iced teas. They also make one of the most pleasant hot teas you will find. This type of tea is the epitome of the term “self-drinker,” which is used to describe teas (primarily black) that need no enhancements because they are perfect on their own. You can also use it in milk tea, which is an ideal way to smooth out the flavor and bitterness present in Ceylon tea.
To brew Ceylon tea, fill a teapot and teacup about halfway with hot water to preheat them, then pour the water out. Add about 1 teaspoon leaves per 8 ounces of water to the teapot. Fill with boiling water (194 to 205 F), cover the pot, and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the leaves settle at the bottom of the teapot, agitate the tea to allow proper extraction. The longer the tea brews, the greater the caffeine content and strength of flavor.
Caffeine Content in Ceylon Tea
Ceylon tea does have caffeine, but the amount will vary depending on the leaves used and how it is prepared. Tea bags usually have more caffeine than whole tea leaves, and the steeping time will also affect the caffeine level.
An 8-ounce cup of Ceylon black tea generally contains 50 to 90 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the strength to which it’s brewed. Ceylon green tea usually has about 35 milligrams per cup, and Ceylon white tea may have as little as 6 milligrams, depending on where it is from.
Buying and Storing
When buying Ceylon tea, purchase loose leaves for optimum quality; alternatively, purchase tea bags. Genuine Ceylon tea displays a unique lion logo on the package. The logo is owned by the Sri Lankan Tea Board and is trademarked around the world. Store the tea in a clean airtight container in a cool and dry place, away from moisture, heat, light, and pungent odors.Everything You Need to Know About Brewing and Drinking Black Tea
Ceylon tea is an excellent choice for any drink recipe that calls for a generic black tea.
• Thai Iced Tea
• Hong Kong Milk Tea
• Black Tea-Infused Vodka
• Iced Breakfast Tea Latte
• Sweet Adeline: Warm Pomegranate and Black Tea Drink
Types of Ceylon Tea
Although some Sri Lankan producers are branching out in their offerings to include green tea and other tea types, most Ceylon teas are black teas. There are seven tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka, and Ceylon teas are categorized by three different altitudes: high grown (above 4,000 feet), medium grown (between 2,000 and 4,000 feet), and low grown (from sea level up to 2,000 feet).
- Nuwara Eliya: Nuwara Eliya is the highest elevation tea-producing area in Sri Lanka. It is also located in the center of the island, west of Uva and north of Dimbula. Its terroir produces tea with a delicate, floral fragrance and light, brisk flavor. The high elevation teas of Nuwara Eliya are exceptional iced or served with lemon.
- Uva: is a high-grown tea and perhaps the most famous tea-growing region in Sri Lanka. It is located in central Sri Lanka, east of both Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula. The territory of Uva produces black tea with a distinctively sweet flavor and woodsy aroma that can handle a bit of milk. Some white teas are also produced in Uva.
- Dimbula (or Dambulla): Dimbula is a tea-growing region in central Sri Lanka. It is the southernmost of the three well-known regions. As a region of mountain slopes, the terroir ranges greatly with the elevation. Some teas are full-bodied, while others are delicate, but most are mellow in flavor.
- Uda Pussellawa: Uda Pussellawa is close to Nuwara Eliya, in a region that has heavy rainfall. Its tea is similar to tea from Nuwara Eliya, but darker, with a pinkish hue and a stronger flavor.
- Kandy:Kandy is a medium-level elevation district that produces mid-grown teas, which vary in flavor depending on exposure to monsoon winds. The tea is generally full-bodied, malty, and copper-hued.
- Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa: Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa are lower elevation regions that produce low-grown black teas with a full flavor, rich hues of orange and reds, with notes of honey, chocolate, and caramel. Most of the teas grown in these regions are processed as orange pekoes and flowery orange pekoes.
Drinking too much black tea—or any caffeinated beverage in large quantities—can increase the chance of side effects, such as headache, nervousness, shakiness, irregular heartbeat, or sleep problems.2 To reduce this risk, avoid drinking tea in large quantities and drink a tea that is not too strong.
Why You Should Drink More Darjeeling
MAX FALKOWITZ Published: July 30, 2012 Last Updated: August 9, 2018
Quick: close your eyes, and picture the first thing you think of when I say “Indian tea.”
Two guesses on what you see: sultry spiced chai or dark amber black tea, taken with milk and English biscuits.
These are both great things, and we make our fair share of them, but I don’t think they’re the most interesting tea to come out of India. For a brew that’s at once delicate, assertive, and totally unique, you have to go with Darjeeling.
What’s the deal with Darjeeling, and why is it so highly prized? It’s a Chinese tea that grows in India with flavors of French grapes and Himalayan mountain air. It can taste more like wine than other tea. Even if you’re not a tea drinker, good Darjeeling is so interesting that it’s really worth a try. If your only Darjeeling experiences have been with blended teas, added flavors, or the dark bitterness of over-brewing, there’s a lot more to it that’s worth sipping.
What Does it Taste Like?
The light-colored liquor of a first flush Darjeeling, poured from a gaiwan. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]Don’t miss: Pasta With ‘Nduja-Tomato Saucehttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.437.0_en.html#goog_344980547PauseUnmuteCurrent Time 0:31/Duration 0:35Loaded: 100.00% Fullscreen
Darjeeling is frequently called the “Champagne of teas,” with musky-sweet tasting notes similar to muscat wine. But it can also have delicate vegetal, mossy, fruity, and citrus flavors. Though Darjeeling is an Indian-grown tea (from, you got it, Darjeeling), the leaves are actually Chinese. “Most tea plants in Darjeeling are of the smaller leaf Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, rather than the larger leaf var. assamica, more commonly grown throughout the rest of India,” explains Jim Schreiber, a tea and beverage operations manager.
“While classified as a black tea, Darjeeling teas are almost always less oxidized than a typical black tea,” says Schreiber. The unique flavor of Darjeeling comes from Chinese tea genetics mixing with Indian terroir—plus the intricacies of harvesting and processing. It’s lighter and less astringent than most black tea, but more layered and complex than most greens.
The same Darjeeling tea from the same plantation will taste different depending on when it’s harvested. These periodic harvests, called flushes, span the tea growing season, punctuated by the regular high mountain rains. From the first to the last harvest, the general flavor trend is light and delicate to robust and full-bodied. The second flush from the more mature plant is where the big wine-like flavors come out, but the highly prized first flush, which uses the very youngest leaves, is where you can find some really interesting, delicate, and smooth arboreal-minty-fresh mountain air flavors.
Why It’s Awesome
discovering delicate, verdant first flush and sultry-sweet second flush Darjeelings is like learning about gin if you only knew about vodka and whiskey
Okay, that last sentence may sound a little ridiculous to non-tea nerds, but think of it this way: discovering delicate, verdant first flush and sultry-sweet second flush Darjeelings is like learning about gin if you only knew about vodka and whiskey. It’s a tea game-changer, a taste that the Western mass tea market just doesn’t pay enough attention to.
First flush Darjeelings also have that satisfying balance of sweetness and astringency that’s often hard to find in good tea. Jim describes the ideal Darjeeling as “pleasantly astringent and optimistically bright in both taste and color”; it’ll be sweet, fragrant, and astringent in equal turns, easygoing so you can just drink and enjoy, but complicated enough to keep your interest piqued. Once you get a taste of the good stuff, blended, sweetened teas with added ingredients will just taste like overkill.
I’d recommend starting out your Darjeeling journey with a couple high quality first flushes, then moving on to second and autumn flushes. And definitely try some Darjeeling-like teas grown in other Himalayan regions like Nepal—they can be just as good, and often cheaper. Those first sips of first flush will reveal all the flavorful delicate potential that Darjeeling has to offer, including a genuine taste of that moist, clean mountaintop air (yeah, you really do taste it).
They’ll also give you some context for the wine-like flavors of second flushes and the caramel notes of fall flushes. Rather than just tasting those [admittedly fascinating] flavors in isolation, you’ll get a sense of how they bloomed from the region’s growing conditions.
What Is Darjeeling Tea? Benefits, Uses, & Recipes
Written by Lindsey Goodwin
Darjeeling tea is a well-known tea variety that is exported around the world. It grows in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. Darjeeling tea is unique because the leaves can be processed in different ways, resulting in black, green, white, or oolong tea.
- Origin: Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India
- Alternative Names: the champagne of teas
- Temperature: 195–205°F
- Caffeine: about 50 mg of caffeine per 8-fluid-ounce cup; can vary based on flush
What Is Darjeeling Tea?
Darjeeling tea is made from the Chinese variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. It is a thin, light-colored tea with a floral aroma. The tea plant, like most plants, goes through periods of growth and periods of dormancy. Each flush is a period that starts when the tea plant grows new leaves and ends when those leaves are harvested. Darjeeling tea has three major flushes. The first flush takes place mid-March to May, the second flush is from June to mid-August, and the third flush (also known as autumn flush) occurs October to November.https://d028ac9b423a45c2f95cec2bf9ee525b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
There are two minor flushes as well. The in-between flush is two weeks between the first and second flushes. The rains/monsoon flush is between the second and third flushes during the month of September.
Since this is all based on weather patterns, the time periods are not fixed and depend on both the weather in Darjeeling and the specific location of the estate. Excess rainfall earlier than expected can reduce the time period of a second flush while increasing the length of the rain flush by a few weeks and vice versa.
The distinct flushes will yield different results in taste, color, and aroma. As the tea ferments, flavonols in the tea leaves combine with oxygen in the air. It is this process that differentiates the black, oolong, and green tea varieties. Darjeeling black tea has undergone full fermentation, oolongs are semi-fermented, and Darjeeling green tea is not fermented at all.
3 Health Benefits of Darjeeling Tea:
High in Antioxidants
Darjeeling tea is rich in antioxidants, which are known to combat free radicals in the body, neutralize chemicals during digestion, and eliminate toxins.
A cup of tea provides useful hydration to the body and helps combat dehydration.
Darjeeling tea helps the body regulate the production of cortisol, known as a stress hormone.
Darjeeling tea is best enjoyed during the midmorning or early afternoon. It does have some caffeine, so it should be avoided in the late afternoon or evening (and earlier for those with caffeine sensitivities). If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid drinking Darjeeling tea on an empty stomach.
How to Drink Darjeeling Tea
Add 1 teaspoon of high-quality loose-leaf Darjeeling tea into a warmed teapot. Boil water and then allow it to cool for a minute or two. Pour water over the tea and steep for three minutes. Purists drink Darjeeling tea without milk, sugar, or lemon. Add what you prefer.
Caffeine Content in Darjeeling Tea
The caffeine content in Darjeeling tea can vary depending on its flush. It can contain around 50 milligrams of caffeine per 8-fluid-ounce cup. This is higher than green tea but lower than black Assam tea. It has a low acidity level, especially compared to black tea or coffee.
|8 oz. Beverage||Average Caffeine Content|
|Green Tea||24 to 40 mg|
|Darjeeling Tea||Around 50 mg|
|Matcha Tea||25 to 70 mg|
|Brewed Coffee||85 to 200 mg|
Buying and Storing
Darjeeling tea can be purchased loose or in tea bags from better grocery stores, coffee/tea shops, or online retailers. Darjeeling teas are very aromatic, but they will lose their aroma when exposed to air for a long time. They’re especially sensitive to moist humid air, direct sunlight, heat, and strong odors, so it’s best to store the tea in a sealed container in a dark pantry. The tea is best consumed within two years of harvesting.
Try some of these tasty recipes; Darjeeling tea will work in any of them:
Types of Darjeeling
The three main flushes and two additional flushes will produce different types of Darjeeling teas.
- Darjeeling first flush tea: The first tea harvested in the spring after the winter dormancy. The color of the tea is light and clear. The tea leaves have a flowery scent that is bright and distinct. Due to their freshness and color, the first flush teas are generally more expensive than the other flushes.
- Darjeeling second flush tea: It has a dark, amber color and strong flavor, especially in contrast to first flush teas. The tea leaves have a purplish bloom and can have a fruity taste. Many in the tea world liken the flavor of a second flush to a muscatel grape. The distinct flavor is caused by a combination of unique weather, topography, and plant types. Some tea connoisseurs prefer the second flush because of this unique flavor.
- Darjeeling third flush tea: When brewed, this flush results in a dark or coppery colored tea. Autumn Darjeeling leaves are larger than those from other seasons. This type tends to be priced slightly lower than the first and second flush teas.
- In-between flush tea: This tea tends to have similar characteristics to the first flush but is often slightly lower in quality.
- Monsoon flush tea: This tea is more oxidized and sold at lower prices. It’s commonly used for masala chai. In-between flush tea and monsoon flush are rarely exported.
Keep in mind that in addition to flushes, Darjeeling tea is rated using a grading system. The teas are graded by the size and quality of the tea leaves. The four categories of tea leaves that are graded are whole tea leaves, broken leaves, fannings, and dust. Whole leaves are the highest grade, and dust is the lowest. Fannings are small leaf particles that are used in tea bags and tea dust is essentially the waste left by the tea leaves.