Saturday, May 10, 2008
Origin: Nilgiri, India
Vendor: TeaSource (Product page)
Price: $6.04 (2 oz) / $11.27 (4 oz)
I'm back! Sorry for the long hiatus; between finals, beach week, graduation, and moving out, I've had a lot on my mind lately! Anyway, this isn't time for excuses, it's time for tea. This particular tea, a handmade Nilgiri, is a gift from my good friend Dustin. I tried one or two Nilgiris years ago and was unimpressed, but this tea has shown me that Nilgiri is not simply an inferior version of Darjeeling.
That said, this tea is an awful lot like Darjeeling. If I recall correctly, the Nilgiri region is just one mountain range away, so it's really not too surprising. The leaf, nice and whole, looks just like a second flush Darjeeling, with a mix of browns, whites, and greens. It smells (and oh boy, does it ever!) like a cross between Darjeeling and Ceylon, actually; it's like a Darjeeling with a bit of the edge smoothed out, which I enjoyed.
I brewed it just as I would a Darjeeling: 4 grams of leaf, 10 oz of water (yes, I like to make things inconvenient for both metric and non-metric users), and 2 minutes of steep time.
The first steep was a bit under-brewed, but still good. It was sweet, fruity, floral, and had nice body. It's not quite as complex as a top-notch Darjeeling, but it makes up for it with solid, powerful flavor. The second steep had more "tea" flavor ("tea" referring to typical American-brewed tea), but was still good.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this tea— especially to someone exploring Nilgiri tea or to a devout Darjeeling drinker who is looking for a change of pace. Thanks again to Dustin for providing me with the sample, I enjoyed it very much (plus, I got to use an old teapot I had all but forgotten about)!