Notes of walnuts, dried prunes, and a hint of maple syrup
Oolong Tea from the Nilgiri Hills, India / Harvested in July 2019 / Organic
This is an organic tea from the Nilgiris, grown in the Western Ghats of southern India. After cupping hundreds of oolong teas from various gardens that did not measure up to Ahista Tea's standards, they decided the best approach to take was to have one made by a sustainable farmer with mutual objectives: quality and innovation. They are delighted to introduce Mahogany, a tea that should build on the reputation that the Nilgiris produce teas with a degree of complexity, richness and depth.
The source garden sits at 2200m and uses biodynamic inputs, through a combination of scientific data and traditional moon calendars to optimize cultivation. In 2008, current owners began using these methods and have continued to improve the quality and vitality of their organic crops through strict standards. The plants that produced this tea are 75 years old with deep root systems and are nearly 12 feet tall which allows a higher absorption of nutrients and minerals. Local flora and fauna grow alongside the tea plants, which have adapted to the environment resulting in pest resistance that requires no watering or fertilizers.
But what makes this tea stand out is the artful control of oxidation by their teamaker. It involves awareness and intuition in accordance with the physical and chemical reactions that take place with each passing second after the tea leaf is picked. The tea leaves were picked only on a sunny afternoon, withered, bruised by hand-rolling before they were left to oxidize to at least 55%. The oxidized leaves were then pan-fried in a large wok then sun-dried.
The resulting product showcases true Indian craftsmanship. Large, mahogany coloured leaves, with a striking uniformity of being 6 centimetres in size. Full-sized leaves in the truest sense. The brewed tea is an amalgamation of complex flavour notes - dried prunes combined with a faint woody astringency of walnuts that is balanced with a slightly caramelised, sweet taste reminiscent of maple syrup."