This is a rare single estate tea from the Nilgiri region of India. When the sun loses some of its strength in December, January and February and the air develops a crisp chill that lasts through till spring, the tea bushes of Nilgiri grow much more slowly and the flavour of the tea changes dramatically.
Nilgiri Frost combines two distinct characteristics: the richness and complexity of teas produced in Sri Lanka and the crispness and clarity of a spring green tea. These two complementing flavours are found in the striking appearance of the tea – dark, wiry leaf sprinkled with greenery.
Following plucking, the tea is quickly withered and dried so that fragments of the leaf are fixed in their natural green state. Without water these fragments cannot oxidise and are bursting with fresh, grassy flavour. The rest of the leaf is slowly oxidised to give deeper, darker and richer dimension to the tea.
Nilgiri Frost is crisp and refreshing with notes of sweet barley, mountain grasses and apple. The variegated leaves offers a perfect balance of aromatic sweetness and full-bodied depth. It is best enjoyed in the morning.
February (Winter) 2017
Crisp and refreshing with notes of sweet barley and apple.
Additional information: The Nilgiris, or Blue Mountains, are a stunningly beautiful range of hills that stretch down the southwestern tip of India from the state of Kerala, another tea-growing area, to the state of Tamil Nadu. Among the peaks and foothills, there are rolling grasslands and dense jungles where elephants roam in herds. The tea industry was established in this area in 1840 when Colonel John Ouchterloney R.E., while surveying below the Nilgiris, came upon a sheet of virgin forest well-supplied with its own rivers and streams. At a height of about 4,500 feet and with approximately 80 inches of rain a year it was the perfect situation for tea and coffee growing. Ouchterloney's brother, James, planted it, imported labour and food, and started production. Ootacamund, the famous hill resort lies in these hills and is affectionately known as "Ooty" by local planters and tourists who visit throughout the year.
Today, there are about 61,776 acres of tea bushes growing at elevations varying from 1,000 to 6,000 feet among eucalyptus, cypresses, and blue gum trees. They produce about 61,729.5 tonnes of tea annually, making the area India's second biggest tea-producing region after Assam. Every plateau, slope, and valley is covered with bushes which crop all year round. Most of the plantations get two monsoons a year so the bushes have two major flush periods, in April/May when about 25 percent is plucked. Further picking goes on throughout the year. It is these conditions that give the tea its unique flavour.