Review: Sonata Ceylon, Adagio Teas

Review: Sonata Ceylon, Adagio Teas

Review: Sonata Ceylon

Tea Type

Overall, Adagio’s Ceylon produces a medium bodied tea with subtle peach and honey flavors in its smooth, subtle flavors. The flavor intensifies at the tea cools, with citrus and a slight pucker at the finish. It’s excellent enjoyed by itself without milk and sugar. For those of you who prefer strong, robust black teas with a bite, I’d probably skip this one. While I certainly see this as an every day tea, I found it a little too weak for my taste.

Adagio Teas’ Description:

Classic black tea from Sri Lanka. In colonial times, this island nation was known as Ceylon. This name is still used to describe all teas grown here. Ceylon tea is bright and lively, medium body and delightfully tangy. Our ‘Ceylon Sonata’ is from the renowned Kenilworth Estate, located in Sri Lanka’s Kandy region. Fresh, citrusy aroma, sweet juicy notes like mandarin peel or grapefruit, refreshing texture and balanced astringency. The perfect afternoon tea.

The Story:

The tiny island of Sri Lanka is the world’s third largest producer of tea, due in part to the fact that tea can be harvested year-round here. The island is blessed with perfect trade winds and striking geography, creating unique micro-climates favorable to tea production. Tea flavor is very much tied to the altitude where it grows here: low, medium or high, each with its own sought-after character. Low-grown teas are hearty, tangy and very rich in mouthfeel. High-grown teas are much lighter bodied, but are more aromatic and sweet. Mid-grown are a combination of the two, depending on exact conditions. Medium to full body with noticeable unique aromatics.

Tasting Notes

Brewing Instructions

Steep at 212 F for 3 minutes. Use 1 teaspoon of tea for each 6 oz. serving.

For this tasting, I steeped at 212F for 4 minutes.


The dry leaves for the Sonata Ceylon are thin, spindly bits of large, uniformly sized leaf and twig. The color is dark brown with the occasional highlight of light amber stem thrown into the mix. The scent is aromatic, dark and earthy; there’s a hint of toast and maltiness to it that promises a rich flavor.

In the cup, the liquor brews to a deep amber gold; against the glass, you can see it as a pale amber.

(Incidentally, I realized that my tea liquor photos in the glass tend to show a far paler color than if I took them against a white cup. Anyone have thoughts about this?)

The steeped tea leaves are a fragrant and uniform chocolate brown.


The scent of the steeped tea is fragrant and woodsy. The tea was weaker in flavor than I expected from the dry leaves with a slightly citrusy start to the tea and a mouth-puckering finish. The weak taste relative to the other stronger black teas I’m accustomed to began to grow on me after I became accustomed to it; unlike other black teas, this one is quite drinkable without needing milk and sugar to round out its flavors.

Pricing & Where to Buy

Pack Size: Sample, 3 oz, 16 oz
Price per unit: $2, $6 and $19 for respective sizes above
This tea can be purchased on the Adagio Teas website here.