Today, we talk about wintertime teas in India. Usually considered an off season for most of the Indian tea industry, a period to rest the plants before the spectacular first flush harvest in the spring season. In the sleepy town of Ooty, it’s the time for some of the best teas to be made. Considered the peak season for Nilgiri orthodox teas, the slow growth and the cold weather gives way for some really fine teas.
We visited Coonoor, Nilgiri in the first week of February and were blown away by the amazing teas we came across just on the first day of the visit. India produces a lot of great teas and we knew some really fine Orthodox teas were coming our way, but the way the Green Tea surprised us was something we were not expecting. They have a motto of preserving the leaf character which their highly skilled workforce know exactly how to do. The steep slopes aren’t a very comfortable place to work, it can rain anytime of the day making it especially difficult to work around the bushes, but they push on with their grit rewarding us with these beautiful teas.
NILGIRI HIGHLAND GREEN
The green tea we have been talking so much about is our Nilgiri Highland Green. Grown at an altitude of 6300 feet, the wintertime slow growth ensures that the leaf is packed with aromatics and the experts at the estate put their full effort in preserving the leaf and stopping the oxidation perfectly. The leaf is also minimally rolled and left as it is resulting in a smooth pale green liquor with intense notes of umami, freshly cut grass and mild flowery notes on the finish.
2020 WINTER NILGIRI OOLONG
While the Green Teas were the highlight of the trip, we came across some wonderful White and Oolong Teas as well. The 2020 Winter Nilgiri Oolong on our site is one of the best examples of lightly oxidized Oolong Tea from India. The liquor is pale yellow with a very smooth creamy mouthfeel. Notes of rose, white flowers and nuts make for a very refreshing cup. The rosy note is replaced by a betel leaf note in the later steeps giving a wonderful Indian touch to it. You get an apricot like mouthfeel after you finish the sip which lasts for a very long time reminding you of the wonderful tea time you just had.
NILGIRI HIGHLAND WHITE
Now let’s talk about the wintertime White Tea, Nilgiri Highland White. The dry leaf aroma is creamy and fruity, tending towards raw peach and mango. On the heated teaware it blasts off the same creamy aroma with a flowery undertone to it. The first infusion is dominant in white flowers with a mango undertone, the creamy texture adds to the sweetness and overall it makes for a very silky and sweet cup. Second infusion onwards the milky notes go into the background making way for very special grassy and vegetal notes which is somehow sweet with the mango and raw peach still present. What makes this tea so special is the way these notes blend together to make way for a very pleasing cup, the vegetal and grassy notes are accompanied by a fruity and flowery taste brewing a very interesting liquor. All the sips have a sweet character very close to sweet aftertaste of raw fruits. If you are somebody who loves a good tasting challenge, this is the tea for you, full of complexity but also simply enjoyable!
All these teas are processed under very experienced tea experts at the factory and can handle almost any brewing method and temperature. Please feel free to experiment trying to find the sweet spot which works for you! We hope you have a wonderful tea time with these teas. Namaste!