Black Tea

Taste A Better Cuppa with Niko Ceylon Tea

39296998_10215071700478658_4065132540745220096_n

Hello Tea Friends,

I hope everyone has been drinking some wonderful teas in my absence. A few days ago I was contacted by a friend that I have worked with privately before asking if I would be interested in reviewing some teas. A new company called Niko Ceylon Tea has been created and is currently selling 11 different teas via Amazon.

All of the available teas are 100% Pure Ceylon Tea and grown under Ozone Friendly conditions to guarantee quality. Niko Ceylon Tea will be donating 3% of the total sales to two Sri Lankan charities:

  • Tea Leaf Trust – Educational projects for the children of the Tea Estate work force
  • Reforestlk – Projects to protect and extend forest cover in Sri Lanka

What a wonderful way to give back to the community (or communi-tea). Every little helps these charities and I love the idea that drinking tea can actually help those in need.

Niko Ceylon Tea were kind enough to send me a sample of each tea they currently offer. At present they are available on Amazon, a 50g bag is only £1.99 plus postage. A steal for some authentic Sri Lankan ceylon.

Let me also just point out that the pouches the leaves come in are great; not only are they re-sealable but they are clearly labelled and have a rough steeping guide.

niko

Cinnamon Orange

Black tea leaves blended with dry orange rind pieces, cinnamon bark shavings and sunflower petals.

niko2

In appearance the leaves are thin and lightly rolled with a few sticks/stems present. Small pieces of both orange rind and cinnamon bark are also easy to note with a generous sprinkling of sunflower petals scattered throughout.

Inhaling deeply I am met with a warming cinnamon and waxy orange scent that immediately makes me think of Christmas and the winter months. Also slightly wooden from the ceylon.

Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water

niko23

niko24

Once steeped the resulting tea is amber in colour and bares a soft orange scent with a touch of smoke.

The first sip reveals a sweet yet tangy orange flavour with a dry, cinnamon after taste. Neither of those masking the rich, malty ceylon base which tastes clean though with some dryness.

It’s a nice blend that was balanced very well and though it had some dryness it still remained refreshing and easy to drink. Smooth enough to be enjoyed without milk nor sweetener.

niko3

Earl Grey

High grown ceylon teas blended with natural bergamot flavour.

niko4

In appearance the leaves are thin and lightly rolled into a curly shape. At a quick glance I couldn’t note any sticks, stems or irregular leaves.

As soon as I opened the packet I was met with a strong, bergamot scent that filled my nostrils like a fine, musky perfume. It certainly packs a punch and isn’t for the faint hearted Earl Grey lover.

Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko25
niko26

Once steeped the resulting tea is burnt orange with a red hue in colour and bares a wooden scent with a subtle but sweet bergamot finish.

The first sip reveals a sour, wooden base with bergamot tones that linger in the after taste, with some astringency and dryness.

I usually have Earl Grey with milk and sweetener but for the purpose of this review I have had it pure. Despite that I believe it’s easy to drink, the astringency is not overpowering nor does it ruin the complexity of this blend.

As it cools the rich wooden base actually becomes less sour and more thick. The astringency still present but lightened by the waxy bergamot.

Overall this was a nice Earl Grey that was not as perfumed as it’s raw form. Smooth enough to drink au natural (or with additions of your choice) and certainly a worthy tea to honour the classic blend that is Earl Grey.

niko5
High Grown ceylon tea blended with Cinnamon and Vanilla and floated with floral sunflower.
niko6
In appearance the leaves are thin and squiggly with sunflower petals scattered throughout. Upon closer inspection I can see some reddish petals and pieces of what I assume to be cinnamon stick.
The scent of this tea is interesting: You have a sweetness which is like vanilla but with a sour after scent. Almost fruity, reminds me of honey too.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko27
niko28

Once steeped the resulting tea is orange in colour and bares a sweet and creamy vanilla scent with a hint of wood behind it.

The first sip reveals a light, vanilla flavour with a sweet and creamy finish that leads to a lingering after taste. Much more vanilla than the raw form lead on. The base is subtle but there is a hint of wood with minimal dryness present, it balances the sweetness of the vanilla very well. No cinnamon though…

As it cools the base becomes a little thicker but the vanilla (though it still remains subtle) is the main character of this blend. I will also state the vanilla tastes pure, more like vanilla pod than anything chemical.

Overall I enjoyed this blend. Originally from the raw scent I did not get the vanilla but it came through in the tasting. The cinnamon however did not, which I will see as a blessing in disguise as it may overpower the subtleness of the vanilla. It’s difficult to make a good vanilla blended tea but this was surprising in a good way.

niko7
Combination of crisp lemongrass with refreshing mint and a black ceylon base.
niko8
In appearance the dark brown, thin ceylon leaves are blended with green lemongrass stick pieces and roughly chopped, green mint leaves.
The scent of this tea is actually what I think of when it comes to Sri Lanka, it’s heavy on the lemongrass with a sweet, citrus crisp that masks a refreshing mint tone that comes through as I pull my nose away from the bag.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko29
niko30

Once steeped the resulting tea is burnt orange with a red hue in colour and bares a sweet, crisp lemongrass scent with mint behind.

The first sip reveals a taste very similar to it’s scent. The lemongrass is crisp and sweet which melds into a refreshing mint tone that remains sweet and tingles on the tongue as it slips down into the after taste. It’s a rich blend, probably due to the ceylon base which is very subtle in comparison to the other flavours.

The mint is actually very nice, I could see myself refreshing my breath in the middle of the day with a cup of this tea. Like a sweet/candy mint except you also get the wonderful lemongrass which lightens the entire blend.

Overall this was a very nice blend, very tisane in flavour but I prefer the ceylon base to a purely herbal one. This was not particularly dry and tasted pure. A beautiful blend, I can see myself drinking a lot of this.

niko9
Broken Orange Pekoe leaves selected from high grown tea estates.
niko10
In appearance the leaves are dark brown and thin with a slight curl. No notable sticks/stems present and I have not seen any discolouration or holes in the leaves.
Upon sniff-spection I can note a dry, wooden scent with a hint of sweetness and smoke.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko31
niko32

Once steeped the resulting tea is amber in colour and bares a rich, sour, wooden scent with a hint of malt.

The first sip reveals a rich and strong wooden base with hints of dry smoke and a sour after taste. Not very astringent considering it’s strength. The dryness is increasing though, a drop of milk should help to mellow that.

As it cools the aftertaste becomes more sour but it’s not unpleasant. I think this would be suitable as a morning tea, something to give you the ‘get up and go’ mentality.

Overall it was a nice, strong tea that lived up to it’s name. I think for me it was too dry so were I to drink more of this I would add milk to balance that out. Still it had good characteristics and the leaves unfurled quickly.

niko11
Green tea from Dimbula region rolled in the shape of loose balls.
niko12
In appearance the dusky green leaves have been lightly rolled into ball like shapes not dissimilar to oolong or gunpowder green.
Despite the green colour this actually smells wooden with dry grass tones.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko33
niko34

Once steeped the resulting tea is dusky yellow in colour and bares a sweet, grassy scent.

The first sip reveals a sweet grass note with hints of butter and green cabbage. Leading to the more vegetal than floral though it does contain both. There is also some dryness in the after taste.

It reminds me of an Oolong, not just by looks but in flavour too. Though this is considerably more grassy than an Oolong (in general), it bares some of the same buttery, floral tones. In terms of it being a green tea this is very flavourful and offers only a mild touch of astringency.

Overall this was very pleasant, not only was it full of flavour but it was easy to drink and was refreshing. Next time I might try this tea iced.

niko13
High grown Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe tea from Dimbula region.
niko14
In appearance the leaves are thin, rolled and loosely chopped with a few stems/sticks present.
The scent is wooden yet sweet with a dry after scent. Not as strong as I was expecting.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko35
niko36

Once steeped the resulting tea is deep burnt orange in colour and bares a rich, malt scent.

The first sip reveals a clean tasting malt flavour that bares some sweetness which leads to a more wooden after taste. Some dryness present. Even as it cools it remains sweet and without astringency.

Being a breakfast tea I expected this to be very strong, which it is, but it’s no where near as astringent as I believed it would be. The fact I can drink this easily without the need of milk or sweetener makes this a great tea. My husband can’t stomach milk in the morning due to his asthma so this would be the sort of tea he would love. Not to mention vegans would also be enlightened by that fact.

Overall this was a lovely breakfast tea. Not as strong as I expected but a mug of this in the morning will do it’s job. If you wanted something with more thrust then the Stronger Ceylon would bridge that gap.

niko15
High grown full leaf tea with blueberry and vanilla floated with cornflower petals.
niko16
In appearance the first thing I see are the blue cornflower and red safflower petals that contrast against the dark brown, thinly rolled leaves. There are also yellow pieces of something present, looks floral and stick like.
Just tearing off the tab at the top revealed the super sweet and strong scent of blueberries in this blend. So sweet, it reminds me of pure blueberry jam. Also a hint of wood.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko37
niko38

Once steeped the resulting tea is red brown  in colour and bares a sweet blueberry scent with dry wood.

The first sip reveals a sweet and jam like blueberry flavour with a rich, wooden base and a honeyed after taste. There is a slight astringency but I find there always is with berries anyway so it’s not really noticeable.

As it cools the honey tones down into a creamy melody of blueberry and that wonderful sweet flavour coats my tongue as it slips down.

Overall this blend gave what the blueberry punch that it’s raw form promised and it was filled with sweet and creamy undertones. A huge fan of this one.

niko17
Thinly rolled black leaf tea from Dimbula region.
niko18
In appearance the leaves are very dark brown (almost black) and thinly rolled. It’s a rough assortment of lengths but overall I would say medium to small in size on average. There is a lot of dust on the side of the bag inside.
The scent is mild and wooden with a hint of dryness. Not much to speak of at present.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko39
niko40

Once steeped the resulting tea is burnt orange with red hues in colour and bares a mild, sour wood scent with a hint of smoke.

The first sip reveals a mild wooden base with a sweet after taste and just a hint of smoke.

As it cools the wood thickens slightly and becomes rather drying. There is no astringency to speak of though and this is extremely easy to drink. Very clean tasting.

Overall I might try 1.5 tsp of this next time as I found it rather mild, though I must stress I prefer stronger teas personally. For the lighter side of tea this was pleasant, my only downside would be the dryness which I felt overpowered the flavours toward the end of my cup.

niko19
Black tea leaves blended with natural peach flavour.
niko20
In appearance the leaves are dark brown and thinly rolled with blue cornflower petals scattered throughout. I can also note some yellow petals and pieces which must be for the peach flavour.
In scent it certainly smells like peaches! Sweet and juicy peach with a creamy undertone. Very candy like actually.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko41
niko42

Once steeped the resulting tea is amber in colour and bares a sweet yet sour peach scent.

The first sip reveals a rich yet wooden peach flavour with some sourness and sweet lingering after taste. Not as peachy as the raw form lead me to believe.

As it cools the sweetness leads to a now astringent tone with some dryness. The peach has toned down somewhat though it remains sweet enough to be fruity.

Overall I think this was a nice tea but it didn’t wow me. From all of the flavoured teas I have tried from Niko Ceylon Tea I think this was the most disappointing. It’s not a bad tea by any means, for me it just wasn’t balanced perfectly. The after taste over powered the peach and all that was left was sweet wood and astringency.

niko21
Low grown whole leaf from Ruhuna region.
niko22
In appearance the leaves are dark brown and thin with some having a shiny, reflection (similar to golden tip) though it’s hard to spot unless the sun shines on them.
The scent is marvellous. Sweet molasses with wooden undertones and some dryness.
Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp into a glass mug with leaf infuser. 4 minutes. Boiling Water
niko43
niko44

Once steeped the resulting tea is orange in colour and bares a sour, damp wooden scent.

The first sip reveals a mild but clean wooden flavour with a sweet yet slightly astringent aftertaste. The sour wood also has some dryness.

As it cools the astringency increases but remains at a satisfactory level, with soft leather and dry wood coming through to the increasingly dry after taste.

Over all it’s a pleasant tea with molasses highs and dry wood lows, leaving the mouth asking for more. The strength started off mild but I could see it being enjoyed with milk too. Another wonderful example of Ceylon tea.

………………………

This was a wonderful ceylon experience and I am reminded once again that Sri Lanka have some great teas to offer. In terms of the British public, ceylon is a word they have heard and it’s commonly used in standard bagged tea; but many do not know the complexity and characterstics that true ceylon has to offer. I hope that Niko Ceylon Tea will take the British public by storm, along with the rest of the world.

Thank you very much Niko Ceylon Teas, I wish you all of the best for the future. Lets hope we can raise some money for those wonderful charities you have chosen.

Until next time, Happy Steeping!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s