David Burton of the Evening Post (New Zealand)
takes a sip of the Pinot Noir of tea
Like Chateau Bottled Wine, Single Region Tea
First commercial production of Watte:
A dream come true
In the style of the finest Grand Cru wine,
Single Region Tea, from Dilmah
Johannes van Dam, a respected food, wine and restaurant critic experience Watte Single Region Tea at the Watte Tea Appreciation in Amsterdams prestigious Blakes Hotel. Johannes wrote of his experiences in Het Parool of 16th November, inviting Amsterdam to join him for a cup of Watte (translated from Dutch):
I have previously mentioned that I often, out of pure desperation, fill teabags myself in order to be able to enjoy a decent cup of tea in a bar. You seldom find an establishment with good quality tea. If you are lucky they will serve you envelopes containing Levelt teabags, but also that, is a compromise. If such a thin, barely sealed, paper bag leans against yet another bag containing mint, you will taste this. The taste diffuses quite easily through these paper bags.
The excellent teas of Fortnum & Mason are enclosed in better quality bags, but eventually also lose their taste and freshness. Jacksons brand tea is packed in foil, but the quality of F&M tea is slightly better.
Since a few months there is a tea of superior quality in Holland which in addition is packed in perfect 'sachets': pure Ceylon tea (from Sri Lanka), Dilmah brand.
This tea is cultivated, harvested, processed (fermented) and packed by one and the same company in Ceylon. This enables them to pack the tea in airtight bags within two weeks after harvesting. Really freshly picked. At this stage other teas will have had an extensive life.
Recently Dilmah has developed a selection of garden-fresh varieties, each grown at different elevations in the mountains of Ceylon. These teas, the Watte-series (Watte meaning garden) are compared to wines, and therefore during the presentation recently held, it was Hubrecht Duyker who was invited to guide the tasting.
This exquisite ´Boutique´ tea is available in four varieties. Ran Watte, the lightest (golden pack), harvested at 2000 metres, is compared with champagne. It is followed by the Uda Watte (red), from 1500 metres, comparable with a light pinot noir. At 1000 metres the Meda Watte is harvested (chocolate brown), that is compared with the syrah-grape (I noted a hint of figs in it). And at 500 metres and lower we find the darkest and fullest tasting tea, Yata Watte (dark blue); those at Dilmah compare this tea to the cabernet sauvignon. I had already made acquaintance with this tea when they were still in experimental stage and have not ever drunk anything else since, when on the road. The only problem was the availability. But now that problem is solved.
In Holland the same company which imports Celestial Seasonings, distributes this tea, and like that brand Dilmah also carries other varieties, blended and flavoured tea. This series however (which is not available in every country; we are fortunate as traditional quality tea drinkers and former colonist of Ceylon) surpasses by far all other bagged tea varieties in freshness and taste. Including the price, as one box of 25 sachets goes for Euro 6,25, which is 25 cents per cup. Quite a step for those who are used to pay 10 cents or less, but peanuts compared to other beverages. Dilmah tea is available in drug stores ´De Tuinen` (6 stores in Amsterdam), ´Het Zonnetje´ (Haarlemmerdijk 45) and soon, in every store that wants the best for their tea drinking customers, I presume. Wholesaler Kweker sells it too. Importer is Madal Bal.
Who ever sees me walking may approach me; I always carry bags on me and I am very generous. Watch yourself you will do the same. I wonder when the Darjeeling and the Oolong gardens will be put in such excellent quality bags.