Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Basilur Tea Book: Love Story Volume II

Now, before you become confused, dear reader, as to what precisely it is that I am reviewing here, let me explain.

Basilur is a tea company, specialising in Ceylon tea, and marketing their range of high-end blends and flavoured teas to more than fifty countries.

Their 'Tea Book' is a metal tea caddy, designed and shaped to look like a book, containing a foil pouch of tea inside.

And 'Love Story' is one of their range of teas, consisting of three different tea blends, each available as a Tea Book - hence Volumes I, II, and III.

Make sense? Good. Let's move on...

"Basilur" - says their website - "is an expression of the art of drinking tea. Each range of Basilur depicts its own story related to the rich Sri Lankan heritage. Each product is a unique tea drinking experience which transports its discerning tea drinkers to another time and place."

When you name something, you make it more than it was before. And when you give it a story, you bring it to life. This is what Basilur have tried to do with their teas, making each one more than just a name and a flavour by creating a story to go with it, adding - as it were - a purpose to each tea, and giving the tea drinker an expectation of something more than is provided by a regular cuppa.

The 'Love Story' range is "a token of love and gratitude to all the women around the globe." It is supposed to "mystify" and "mesmerise" and make you '"fall in love with the world all over again". It is, in short, a love potion for the disenchanted.

'Love Story Volume II' is about "subtle romance": a "mystic" tea, to be shared with the object of your affections, and which "will make each day seem like a fairytale with the perfect ending."

This might all sound like hyperbole, but I can buy into the transformative power of even a simple experience. If you set out to appreciate the small things in life it can change your whole way of thinking and looking at the world. If you can "savour each sip" and take a mindful approach to your tea-drinking, it might actually change your life.

But stories and mindfulness aside, let's get down to the important part - the tea itself.

What I'm about to brew up is a blend of pure Ceylon black leaf tea and Sencha green leaf tea, with natural amaranth flowers, flavoured with almond and rose. It sounds delicious, and when I open the packet is enticingly marzipan-scented. The tea itself looks exciting with its mixture of black and green leaves and pretty pink flowers, and brewed in a glass teapot looks incredibly beautiful as the leaves unfurl and the flowers move around in the water.

Tea wisdom - and the back of the caddy - suggests a teaspoon of leaves per cup, but I decided to start with a much lighter brew of one-and-a-bit teaspoons in a medium-sized pot. This brewed up a gorgeous caramel colour, and was just about right for my taste.

I can describe this tea for you in one word: exquisite.

This is an incredibly aromatic blend, with the sweet scent of marzipan rising up from the steaming tea as it is poured.

To me, the first few sips tasted strongly of marzipan (the almond flavour), but P (yes, I'm sharing it with my loved one) said that for him the taste of rose was stronger.

Halfway through the cup I lost the almond flavour and then the taste of the green tea comes in, and this is very pleasant indeed.

I assumed that I had simply lost my ability to taste the almond after the first half of the cup, as one often loses the ability to smell a scent after a few breaths of it. But when I topped up my cup from what remained in the pot the almond taste was there again, quite strongly. As I neared the bottom of the cup I began to taste the balance between the almond and the rose.

The mixture of black and green tea works well, as it has the freshness of green tea but the satisfying body of black tea.

This really is a tea to be slowly sipped and savoured, and might just be one of the best I have ever tasted. Aromatic and exquisite, you could enjoy all aspects of this tea as part of a quiet meditation.

The caddy itself is really rather beautiful, designed to look like a richly ornamented antique book, with gilded 'pages' and decorative embossing. It would quite happily blend in with a shelf of hardbacks, and I imagine that you would want to collect one of each design.

I have just one complaint about this product: that Basilur don't appear to sell refill pouches for any of their Tea Books. £9.50 plus postage for 100g of tea in a tin might be fine as a gift, or an initial purchase, but is rather steep for repeat custom. I'd like to keep this tea in stock but I don't want a new tea caddy with every purchase, I want to refill the one that I have. Perhaps this is something that Basilur will consider adding to their range in future.

So, to sum up: totally enamoured of 'Love Story Volume II' and want to try more Basilur tea!


  1. Oooh... I have the Volume III ad haven't tried it yet... Thanks for the review!!! :) :) :)