When my daughter came back from a recent trip to Sri Lanka, she brought some loose black tea in a plain paper package. Knowing that this country, formerly called Ceylon, is prime tea-growing land, I had high hopes for those aromatic leaves.
I was right. They brewed up the most deliciously balanced, flavourful yet not at all bitter, slightly sweet cuppa. With milk and a little sugar, as I like to drink tea, this was unequalled.
My search for this tea on home turf began. A visit to a plaza in the east-end Toronto suburb of Scarborough yielded several kinds of Sri Lankan tea. I bought the one recommended by the owner. It paled in compariosn to Ruth’s. Back in Stratford, I bought a package of Ceylon Black Tea at Ten Thousand Villages. It was somewhat better but not up to snuff.
Some weeks later, I was in my old neighbourhood, Kensington Market, receiving a warm hug from “Potts” (Potsothy Sallapa) who hails from Sri Lanka and owns the city’s best organic food shop: 4 Life Natural Foods on AugustaAve. at Nassau.
I mentioned my tea story. Handsome and charming Potts quickly disappeared into the back of his busy shop and returned with a cylindrical plain package. It was tea sent to him by someone in Sri Lanka.
Back home in Stratford, I brewed myself some. Oh happy day, it tasted the same – smooth, delicate and delicious – as the batch Ruth had brought back from her trip.
My Marks & Spencer double-strength tea bags are fine at breakfast but the search now begins for those special leaves to steep in a pot for my laid-back, soothing, Sri Lankan afternoon cup of tea.