Nilgiri / Tea Queens . . . .

There are three main tea growing areas; Assam, Darjeeling, and the lesser known Nilgiri. These teas come from the Southern portion of India. This is the first time I’ve tried a plain black from the region and I’m amazed at how different all three are. While Assam tends to be known for their stronger bodied teas with a punch in the face, and Darjeeling known for their muscatel and delicate flavors, Nilgiri on the other hand is somewhat a mix of both. Woodsy flavors mix with very subtle fruity notes to form a light bodied brew. It’s smooth without any astringency. This is the type of tea that is best consumed on it’s own. Food in general is not a good pairing because the flavors are so light and delicate.

Just as a side note I wanted to mentioned how impressed I am with the company that produces this tea. Burnside estates located in Kotagiri Taluk in the “Blue Mountains” of the Nilgiris in South India. They are a sustainable company focused not only on good tea but also on making sure their employees are properly cared for and the eco-friendliness of this company is superb. If you have time please go to their website and give them a look!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tea Queens 
Description:

A smooth, gentle and mellow black tea from the Burnside Estate in Southern India. This classic and elegant tea is rich with a slightly woody and fruity flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson and Vail. . . .

Nepal is one place I have always wanted to travel to. I try and picture the place, the people, the culture. Since I probably will never have the opportunity to go there I will be living my wanderlust thru tea sipping. Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail helped me with this recently.

Nepal is located in South Asia, and bordered by China and India, and home to some of the largest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest which is the highest point anywhere on Earth. According to S&V and other sources – Nepal is comprised of 75 districts, one of which is the district of Panchthar. Panchthar is located in the Mechi Zone in the easternmost part of Nepal. It borders the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India, and enjoys the same soil and climatic conditions as Darjeeling.

This certified organic garden is located in Panchthar, Nepal at an elevation of 1900 to 2100 meters above sea level. Simpson and Vail’s product description of this tea says that this garden sits among beautiful forested areas and has a stunning view of Mount Kumbhakarna. Pathivara Tea was planted in 1990 and is a relatively young garden that employs 35 people (mostly women). Pathivara almost borders the Sikkim border and the location is quite remote. The yields from Pathivara are not large which allows the growers to concentrate on producing this high-quality tea.

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail consists of large black, golden, and well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup. It gives off a delicate yet full flavor on the tongue. The astringency (that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas) is present in the cup although it is on the lighter side of things. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. An truly delightful cup of tea that I – for one – am thrilled they offer! Yet another great cuppa from our friends at S&V!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

Pathivara Gold tea consists of large black and golden well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup with a delicate yet full flavored taste. The astringency that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas is present in the cup although it is slight. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. A truly delightful cup of tea that we are thrilled to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Glendale Estate, Nilgiri, First Flush 2017 from Yatra Tea Company. . . . . .

If this tea were a man, it’d be at the bar picking up ladies left and right — because it is smoooooooooooooooooooooth. It has a dark, slightly spicy, very earthy flavor that melts on the tongue.

This is a great example of a classic Indian black tea. If someone were like, “hook a sister up with a Darjeeling*,” I’d toss this into their lap. “Give this a whirl. See how India treats you,” I’d reply.

* (No one says things to me like this. I would be SO RECEPTIVE to someone making a nice, specific tea request. Usually I get someone waffling around, asking if, um, I have any tea, that’s like, uh, black? Can they have a cup of, uh, black? I have about 50 types of black tea. I need more specificity.)

Do you know the history of tea in India? LET ME TELL YOU A STORY.

Once upon a time, the British realized they liked tea. But they didn’t want to pay Asia for tea. So they took over India and made the locals grow it for them instead. And they still grow tea in India today.

Interestingly, Indian black tea tends to be lighter, and slightly spicier, than its Asian counterpart. It’s like the spices from Indian cooking somehow correlate with the soil. That’s not science, I know, but it sort of FEELS like it, which is almost the same thing.

Next time you’re a little lonely, let a nice Darjeeling slide into your cup. You might just find love!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Yatra Tea Company
Description

Residing at an elevation of between 4,000 and 6,000 ft., Glendale was established in 1835. Located in close proximity to the scenic city of Conoor in South India, Glendale is among the most recognized Nilgiri tea plantations and follows all global production standards.

Glendale, the anglicized version of “Gleann Dail” (Gaelic), roughly translates to a fertile valley and comprises of 3 gardens which combined make up 525 hectares of planted area.  Typical mountainous conditions allow for the production of distinctive “high grown” teas. The estate has a flourishing ecosystem, and while technology is pervasive, it exists without disrupting the essential characteristics that makes Glendale teas so sought after.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

English Breakfast from The Virginia Tea Company. . .

There are so many teas called English Breakfast, and they can be quite different. The original English Breakfast tea is said to have been pure 100% Chinese Keemun. This is the exception rather than the rule today, and you are more likely to find a mix of black tea from Sri Lanka, India, and Kenya. Modern tea tastes in the UK overall run to strong black tea that not only holds up to, but almost requires, milk and sugar – a nice, boot-you-out-of-bed tea.

Having a tender and sensitive tummy, I am cautious with breakfast blends as I don’t add anything to my tea, and with no milk to smooth my morning beverage the day can go dicey if the tea is too astringent. Also, once awake I am generally ready to go and don’t need to kick in the pants.

This fair trade tea is a blend of Ceylon, Kenyan, and Assam teas. I have put them in the order I believe them to be represented in the blend based on the taste. Far and away the top note for me is the lemony taste of Ceylon tea tingling on my tongue. This high citrus note is almost enough to make you think it is flavored! This often indicates that the tea was grown at a higher elevation of Sri Lanka. I put Assam last because I am not getting a huge amount of malty or bready flavor.

I am quite able to drink this without milk and sugar, enjoying the dry tingle of the briskness of the tea without the almost instant stomach ache some breakfast teas give me. I do believe that if milk and sugar is your thing, the tea could withstand it and wouldn’t wimp out under the additions.

If you love a good, black breakfast blend and want to upgrade to fair trade and organic tea, give it a try!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Virginia Tea Company
Description

This organic tea is perfect for pairing with your morning meal. The full-bodied flavor can be blended with milk and sugar to create an even better drinking experience.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

King Dragon from Wendigo Tea

With a name like King Dragon…this Oolong was set-up for GREATNESS!

Dry, this loose leaf oolong smells like a damp forest with wet wood and stone. After infusing this one it smells more like stone and a little less like wood. However, the aftertaste, especially when chilled, the tea-itself, is fairly woodsy! The aroma and flavors flap back and forth like a dragons MIGHTY WINGS!

This tea ‘brews up’ pretty dark for an Oolong and does well with multiple infusions. The darkness lightens up with each follow-up infusion but the woodsy/earthiness flavor is still present.

If you are a fan of Red Robes you will enjoy this one, as well!

I salute you – King Dragon from Wendigo Tea! You are a warrior!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Wendigo Tea
Description

All arise for I am King Dragon, an ancient and illustrious oolong tea. I smell of exquisite honey, leather, orchids, and wet stone. My taste is of ripe peaches, earth, and smoke with a smooth lingering sweetness.

As reverence for my exalted nature for millennia I was simply known as “The King of Tea”. I also have been called an Imperial Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock Oolong or Royal Red Robe, but all you need to know is that if you are to unleash my all-powerful leaves into the water, all other teas must bow before me.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!