Amba Tea Estate

Vangedi Pekoe

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Tea: Vangedi Pekoe (black tea)

Grower: Amba Estate

Teamaker: Neethanjana Tharuka Senadheera

Origin: Ambadandegama - Uva District, Sri Lanka

Elevation: 1,000m (3,280ft)

Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)

Harvest Date: January 2016 

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Brown sugar Malt Orange peel Toffee Dark chocolate

Bold texture with bright finish

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The Tea

Vangedi Pekoe is a black tea with a unique processing style. Instead of being rolled or cut by machines, it is pounded in a vangedi stone mortar. It was once called "stolen tea" because workers would secretly bring home raw leaves from the tea fields, in order to make this tea for their family. The fragmented leaves yield a surprisingly rich, complex profile. The texture is thick, chewy, and full, with a brisk and bright finish. The flavor is strong and bold, with notes of brown sugar, malt, orange peel, and dark chocolate. Unless the tea is very oversteeped, there is little bitterness and astringency, which is surprising for a fragmented tea. When brewed strong, the tea develops a brisk, sharp character which is fantastic with milk, or when blended with spices for chai. A cold-brew brings out more of the delicious brown sugar notes, and a hint of a bourbon flavor. There are three classifications for tea, according to altitude, in Sri Lanka: (1) high-grown teas; (2) mid-grown teas; and (3) low-grown teas. Vangedi Pekoe is classified as a mid-grown tea, uniting the boldness of low-elevation tea with the complexity from higher elevations.

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 The Grower

"Stolen tea" has been made on the plantations for ages. However, the Amba Estate team is the first in Sri Lanka to perfect the process, thanks to their attention to detail and to quality. The team was once led by tea consultant Beverly Wainwright, who helped develop these quality teas with the use of detailed record-keeping and humidity testing. The workers were also trained in all stages of the teamaking process. As a result, the Amba Estate team is truly equipped to produce some of the best handmade teas in Sri Lanka. Amba Estate emphasizes worker ethics and environmental sustainability.