I feel particularly fond of this tea for three reasons. Firstly because it is a good tea in itself; secondly because I twice had the privilege of visiting the plantation and factory, near Nuwara Eliya in the central hills of Sri Lanka; thirdly because it brings back such happy memories of a night spent at the splendid Hill Club, also at Nuwara Eliya.
The Labookellie Tea Factory is an extraordinary place - a large wooden building filled with the delicious scent of drying tea leaves. The machinery used for moving, filtering, sorting and packaging the tea all has a delightful Heath-Robinson look to it. The wooden tea-crates awaiting shipment with the company name and content stencilled in black on the sides seem to me ever so romantic - shades of the East India Company, Thermopylae, Cutty Sark and the other great tea clippers. They serve a first-class afternoon tea there too, accompanied with slices of excellent home-made fruit-cake and chocolate-cake.
The reality of the plantations is of course very tough and not so romantic - the harvesters are almost all women, paid low bit-rates, exposed to the elements and sometimes to the risk of snake-bite. Realising how much hard work goes into making a cup of tea changed my perception of the drink.
Another tea I enjoy for its unusual tarry flavour is Lapsang Suchong.
Thank you for starting an interesting thread -