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We said we're going to switch seasons and regions this year and this is the start of it! Finally introducing the crowd favourite Nilgiri Handmade Black Tea but from the summer season instead of the usual winter one. Because the weather stays almost the same throughout the year, the differences are not as drastic as it is for other regions, but there are some very noticeable differences nonetheless, it is punchier, with notes of mint shining through the fruit and flower notes. The aftertaste is also more fruity than the winter harvests.


Indian estates have been redefining the boundaries of traditional black tea and taking it more and more away from the classic red tea or hong cha which once was the only dimention for black teas. This one even further blurs the line between black and whites, a minimally processed black tea, with a limited oxidation and delicate handling done completely by hand, we can honestly get away with calling it a white tea. With black teas here, the aim of the first harvest season of the year is to preserve the fresh growth juices with just a touch of oxidation and make it shine through the processing method we understand the most, orthodox black tea processing. Although this is not the first harvest, it still follows the same process and due to some top secret processing methods(not kidding at all!) and beautiful Nilgiri weather, it ends up in a similar category. The leaves develop all these intense and fresh winter/spring notes only after it is left to oxidise post rolling, that is when the tea is undergoing the controlled oxidation process and the leaf juices interact with each other resulting in these interesting flavours.


This particular tea goes through a bunch of unique steps. The withering is done using cold air instead of hot air. The temperature increase also happens by using hot water pipes opposed to flames. This adds a stability to the temperature and helps with preserving the wintertime character. Also, the tea is hand rolled on a purpose built Sri Lankan wooden board and we have seen the big difference it makes, in India as well as in Sri Lanka tea estates we visited a few years back.


The dry leaf smells minty and we'll repeat it once again this year, it smells exactly like Nilgiri, like a cool breeze blowing through the eucalyptus trees. When you place it on the heated ware, you can feel the notes of rose wafting its way to your nose. On the first sip, you can taste notes of lemongrass and mint. On further sips, the white flower nectar like sweetness makes its presence felt with some fruity notes of oranges in the background. As the liquor further cools down, you can experience notes of lemon cake and rose. The white flower note is dominant in jasmine and that too is more noticeable once the liquor cools down.


Appearance : Light yellow

Taste : Lemongrass, guava, orange, rose, jasmine, lemon cake, white flowers

Steeping Time : 3.5 minutes western style, 25 seconds gongfu style adding 10 seconds every subsequent steep
Leaf to water ratio :  1 gram per 100ml for western style, 3 grams per 100ml for gongfu style

Recommended Steeping Temperature : 85°C

Recommended Steeping Method : Works good both ways

Harvest Season : Summer 2024

Nilgiri Handmade Black Tea (Summer 2024)


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