Good morning, dear tea friends! Happy month of spring! March is arriving in true lion style with frigid temps here in New England, despite the sun shining in a deep blue sky. The days are getting longer though and filled with hope for warmer weather soon.
I’m continuing my exploration of teas from the Nilgiri Mountains in southern India. In my cup today is an organic black tea from the Iyerpadi Estate.
In the first half of the 19th century, South India was focused on growing coffee. Then, between 1860 and 1890, the Coffee Blight wiped out the whole crop completely in the Nilgiris (translation: “Blue Mountains”) and the Anamallais. The tea plant had been introduced in the early 19th century in that area but it wasn’t until the coffee crop was gone that the focus turned to tea.
I steeped the chocolate brown leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.
Iyerpadi Estate, located on the slopes of the Anamallais (translation: “Hill of the Elephants”), was opened around the birth of the 20th century. One of the original owners was a Coimbatore barrister by the name of Narasiyer, and his nephew, Meenachi Iyer, who some say was the first Indian planter, became the estate manager. I’ve also read that the estate is in the area of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest and well preserved sanctuary in Tamil Nadu state.
The deep amber liquor has a sweet aroma with brisk hints and toasty mellowness. The flavor is silky smooth with medium body and creamy lemon notes. This tea reminds me of a Ceylon tea, however, it has a deeper, smoother flavor. I think it would stand up to a drop of milk if steeped at a minute or so longer, however, it’s plenty sweet on its own. With its brisk, citrus character, it would make a fabulous iced tea.
It’s a wonderful feeling when you try something for the first time and find it quite delicious.
This weekend my company is having a tea tasting at the 185th Massachusetts Camellia show being held at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. I’ll be there tomorrow from 12-3pm serving tea. So, if you’re in the area, please stop by and enjoy some tea and lovely flowers!
Have a wonderful week, dear tea friends, and hopefully, the next time we meet and enjoy tea together here, spring will be in the air.
“Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those brown [garden] beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”
~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre