Sri Lanka is synonymous with Tea, but did you know it was introduced to the island by a Scotsman after the indigenous local coffee crops died from a disease? The terrain and climate suited the delicate plants perfectly, so since the 1800's Sri Lankan teas have been enjoyed around the world in china cups with slices of cake, in mugs on building sites with biscuits, in tin caddies on campsites and in moments of deep stress with lots of sugar.
Our guests often tuk-tuk to a privately owned, local White Tea plantation for a tour and love the blends they try and the utter beauty in expereince of being shown around a working plantation.
Over recent years, the tea narrative has progressed to keep up with the times. Even 2 years ago a pair of German tea-mixologists fought off fierce bids from a number of Dragon's Den investors who wanted a piece of their tea and alcohol infusions. But apart from the gimmicks that come and go, what about the good old classic brew that we love?
Uma is a high flying city girl who left the City life to indulge her tastes for gastronomic finery by founding 'Miss Teasmith', an online tea emporium sourcing teas from all over Sri Lanka and cleverly blending them for a discerning tea-drinking UK market.
I was introduced to Uma Satkunam while sipping a delicious "House Blend" tea at The Allbright club in London. The tea I drank was rooibos with cocoa, turmeric and beetroot and was unbelievably delicious and exclusive to the club menu. Little did I know that Uma, a fellow Sri Lankan, was the creator. Uma blends her own fantastic and inspirational flavours - this is a brand worth knowing about and one that supports local communities too.
Read on to discover how to pair her 'Dark Romance' tea with her well loved Sri Lankan Chocolate Cake Recipe and how she creates those delectable flavours. A little cocktail recipe can be found on her instagram page - details below.
Blending Ceylon tea for flavour was discovered through my first love – cake! I retrained after years in the City, as a pastry chef at Le Corden Bleu ,with plans to open a tea house serving Ceylon’s finest teas paired with cakes and patisserie. I started out at Farmers' Markets in East London and literally went from my kitchen table to a market stall table. I have an understanding of flavour and how to blend to give my customers the experience of "drinking Sri Lanka" wherever they live.
How do you make a tea blend different from every other tea business around?
The only way I could do so was to blend Sri Lanka’s vibrancy into it, the land of my birth. Taking tea from different island regions and then using either Ceylon cinnamon or any of an array of spices, herbs and flowers to create mouth watering flavours that pair with desserts. Our blends are inspired in simple moments like walking over chocolate mint and then discovering, with total surprise, that mint has natural chocolate as flavouring!
Teas, like grapes, reflect the terroir they are farmed in and the different tea leaves are harvested and crafted into our own unique blends. Our teas are sustainably sourced from the highlands for mellow and subtle flavours, and from the hills and plains of the island for the more robust flavours . Other blends are age-old traditional remedies and we also love to give a traditional blend a twist for the modern palate looking for something more exciting.
For a tiny island, Sri Lanka has an abundance of flora and the lushness and depth of flavour, colour and diversity of what is on offer is what we use to inspire our flavours.
We at Miss TeaSmith blend teas that are as indulgent and rich as the island of Sri Lanka. Teas, spices, flowers and herbs are hand blended in the UK in small batches and I create the flavours My tea business supports the women and girls who plant and pick our teas. From original source to you receiving the tea is what drives my business. We have never used plastic packaging and all of the contents in our tin/refill packs are biodegradable, and the tins are reusable.
Dark Romance – one of my most popular blends, for when you just don’t feel like a sweet. No calories but still tastes like a satisfying end to a hearty meal. Works superbly with the Sri Lankan chocolate cake recipe below.
Empa-Tea – herbal tea, start and end the day with a bit of zing.
Ceylon Black tea from the mountains – pairs well with madeleines and light sponge cakes
Ceylon Black tea from the hills – goes really well with rich puddings/desserts and chocolate cake (the best seller from my days at farmers markets is shared below).
Ceylon Black low grown tea – these teas may already be in your tea cupboard. Most likely as a blend with teas from India, Kenya and Rwanda. Popular in many of our supermarket breakfast blends.
Ceylon Green tea – best brewed at 70°C to finish off an indulgent meal.
Tea and cake are such a perfect pairing. If I make cake, I need to have a cup of tea with a slic. When I am blending new recipes I am looking for scrummy things to pair it with - try Dark Romance from my collection or a Ceylon low grown tea with this recipe.
250g salted butter
250g caster sugar, so much better if you can use cane sugar rather that beet sugar
125g self-raising flour
85g cocoa powder, like Valrhona, dark
2 tbsp hot milk
250g butter, softened
400g icing sugar
50-60g of cocoa powder
Grease 2 round cake tins and preheat the oven to 160°C
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder and set aside
Whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Whisk in the eggs one at a time
Fold in the flour and cocoa
Pour the batter into the cake tins and bake in the centre for 30-40 minutes
Remove and cool in the tins for 20 minutes and then remove to cool on a rack
Whisk the butter for frosting
Whisk in the icing and cocoa powder
When the cakes are cool. Frost and sandwich the cakes
More recipes and ideas on The MissTeasmith blog pages like this for using up any Jasmine or Green tea you may have in your storecupboard..
Website : https://missteasmith.com
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/missteasmith/