Friday, April 16, 2010

New teas from India

After a long wait, the Makaibari Estate Autumnal Flush 2009 Darjeeling is finally here! Well, almost. We got samples and tasted them, now we're just waiting for it to arrive and it should be any day now.

UPDATE: It's here! You can get it on our website or in the shop.

We usually get the Autumnal flush sometime around January or February, so you may be wondering what the hold-up was. Well, they had a very good excuse; in May of 2009, Cyclone Aila ravaged several tea estates in Darjeeling, including Makaibari. They have done a remarkable job of recovering, though, and were still able to produce an Autumnal flush.

It has a lovely smooth flavor with less astringency than most other Darjeelings. The liquor is a bright golden color. It's a bit lighter than one would expect in an Autumnal, but it's still a good, well-rounded tea. We'll have it in the shop and online soon, but remember, it's a seasonal tea so we won't have it forever.

Darjeeling may be the most famous tea-producing region in India, but it's certainly not the only one. Nilgiri, in southern India, is quickly becoming more well-known in the tea industry for its unique flavor. Nilgiri teas tend to have some similarity to Ceylon teas (which makes sense, they're practically neighbors), but Nilgiri teas have a fragrant, woodsy quality not found in other teas.

For quite some time, we had a wonderful tea from the Havukal Estate in Nilgiri, but sadly we can't get that particular picking anymore. So recently we tasted several samples of Nilgiri teas to try to take its place. This OP (Orange Pekoe) grade tea from the Korakundah Estate was the winner of our taste test, and so here it is!

The flavor is a bit lighter than our Corsley Estate, but still has that exceptional woodsy fragrance that Nilgiri is known for. This would make a lovely afternoon tea, perfect for relaxing in the bright Spring weather. And not only does it taste good, but it's TransFair certified and grown using organic farming methods. The Korakundah Estate Nilgiri is available in the shop and online.