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Tea Tasting: Nilgiri, Glendale Estate, Handmade

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This Tea Tasting Discussion features an Indian black tea, a Nilgiri, Glendale Estate, Handmade. Bill Waddington at teasource.com is providing free 10 gram samples for me and three more eG Society members. Each sample is enough to make about four cups of first infusion tea.

This is an impressive tea I first ordered last year from Tea Source. I have since ordered more, unusual for me since I typically prefer to explore many teas, an ounce at a time. Here is some background information from the Teasource site:

Nilgiri teas are from southwestern India, in the Blue Mountains, and are mellow, non-astringent teas that yield satisfying cups.

This is an absolutely stunning tea.  It is composed of whole leaves and bud sets and brews up a translucent golden color.  The cup is lighter, more delicate, and more complex than many teas.  It's aroma and flavor are sweet (almost honey-like), slightly fruity, and crisp.

The three free samples are available to members who 1) will do at least two brewing sessions from the sample, 2) will report on their experience and participate in the discussion, and 3) who have previously posted at least ten (10) substantive posts (questions, answers, comments that add to discussions) in the Coffee and Tea forum.

Preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Thursday July 16, 2009 to those who have not participated in the last two tastings.

As always, everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion, whether or not you receive a sample.

So, please PM me now if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.

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Just a reminder that preference will be given until midnight tomorrow to those who did not participate in the last two tea tastings. PM me if you are interested in one of the free tea samples.

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Just a reminder that preference will be given until midnight tomorrow to those who did not participate in the last two tea tastings. PM me if you are interested in one of the free tea samples.

Only two free samples left.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Nilgiri teas are among my favorite Indian teas.

On the left, the subject of this tasting, Tea Source's Glendale Estate, Handmade.

On the right, Tea Source's Glendale Estate, FOP.


Note the different appearance of the leaves. The handmade are mostly whole and some are light green. They were hard to measure with my usual spoon; it took almost 2 spoonfuls to weigh 2 grams. The FOP fit nicely into the spoon, and 1 rounded spoon weighed in at 3 grams.

Brita-filtered NYC water was brought just to a boil; thermopen registered 211F. Leaves were steeped for the minimum recommended time of 4 minutes, then strained out.

Both teas are remarkably smooth, well balanced, and round, with no discernable astingency. I detect the slightest hint of malt or perhaps barley. Easily enjoyed black, and by themselves, they would also be a good match for many foods.


The Handmade Nilgiri had a hint of sweetness and a slight green note, clover-like. In some ways it reminded me of a good oolong. The FOP Nilgiri was slightly bolder and reminded me of a fine Assam.

Thank you, Tea Source and Richard Kilgore, for another fine tasting experience.

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I will start by describing the brewing, although it was not complicated. I used my favorite tea pot, a very simple China Town for $6 one. But it works well. The lid is extra thick and helps keep the tea at the right temp for brewing.

Teapot has a wire basket inside for the leaves. I did not use this. It makes things slightly quicker to clean, but does not really let the leaves open up right. Fine with some dodgy CTC, not so good with amazing wide open leaves like these.

rinsed pot with hot tap water, boiled water to rolling boil, pored on leaves in pot. Pot holds about 1 1/2 mugs of water, and i used just under half of the tea.

I let it sit for the time suggested on the package, 8 minutes I think. To keep it warm i used my multi tasking cosy.... The quilt that is draped over my couch... it either keeps my toes warm or, i wrap in over the teapot and it keeps that warm.

Back to the tea. When i opened the little package i saw the leaves, as Baroness showed above. They are definitely whole leaves.

I gave it a sniff, expecting a far maltier richer Assam aroma. I was quite surprised at how green and Darjeeling like it smelled to me. I found the aroma to be grassy or flowery (ish... this is the world of black teas )

After the required brewing time. I poured it out. Brew was a darkish brown. Pretty much what I would expect. I put in about a tablespoon of milk (sue me.. i cant drink it with out), and sipped. This was a delicous tea for my taste.

Living up to the smell of the leaves, this definitely had the taste of a Darjeeling to me. I would describe it as winey... white winey, that real flowery champagne taste.

I definitely did taste astringency, for me, the perfect amount, enough to offset the milk. Clover as baroness said, is a good descriptor for what i tasted. I tasted very little malt, but this could be because i was expecting more, and because i often drink strongly malt teas, and i was expecting this to taste much more like an Assam. Obviously wrongly.

I thought this was a wonderful tea. Pretty much exactly what i like to drink. In order to experiment, i brewed a second infusion..... boiling water, same brew time... I did manage to drink it, but it was far tooo weak for my taste. i could discern no increased sweetness of anything. just less of every thing.

I have enough for another brewing and wanted to save it till i saw what others thought, and then see if i could taste the same things.

Edited by Yajna Patni (log)
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Thanks for the detailed report, Yajna Patni. I think the timing suggestions for the tea are 4 - 6 minutes, rather than 8, but given your preferences that may seem a bit weak to you. However, it would explain why you found some astringency and why your second infusion washed out.

I like your multi-tasker cozy...I usually grab a dish towel and wrap up the pot.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks to Bill Waddington at teasource.com for providing the tea for this Tea Tasting & Discussion, and to Yajna Patni and baroness for participating.

There are two more Tea Tasting & Discussions at this time here in the Coffee & Tea forum, and several new ones in the pipeline: a pu-erh, Lapsang Souchong, DanCong, sencha and more. If you subscribe to the forum, you will be among the first to know when a new one is posted.

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