Nilgiri tea is a black tea produced from the Nilgiri region, in southern India. The Nilgiri region - or the "blue mountains" - is a mountainous region, where tea is grown from 1000 meters to 2500 meters above sea level. Tea has been grown in Nilgiri since the late 1800s.
Due to the elevation at which the tea is grown, plus the rainfall which varies between 100 and 600 centimeters a year, the conditions promote the growth of a tea with a distinctive and brisk flavor.
Nilgiri tea is known as a robust, smooth and versatile tea that can be used in a variety of situations, both by itself and as part of a mixture. Nilgiri tea is known as one of the most distinctive-tasting teas. Some varieties have a taste reminiscent of lemons.
By itself, Nilgiri tea can be drunk with or without sugar or milk and can be made into iced tea. As part of a mixture, Nilgiri tea can be used to make Chai, as its strong taste can compliment subtle spices and is not overwhelmed by stronger spices.
When poured, Nilgiri tea has dark amber color.
Production of Nilgiri tea
Nilgiri Tea is processed using the "crush, tear and curl" (CTC) method. Leaves processed using the CTC method are not rolled, but are placed through cylindrical rollers with small teeth. The rollers crush, tear and curl the leaves, hence the name of the method.
CTC was developed during the Second World War to increase the weight of tea that can be packed into a bag or sack. With the popularity of tea bags, this method has also grown in popularity.
Tea processed using CTC tend to brew faster and yields more cups of tea per kilogram. The brewed tea often tends towards a red color, such as the case with Nilgiri tea.
Preparation of Nilgiri tea
When preparing Nilgiri Tea, one teaspoon should be used per 6 oz. cup. The water should be boiled thoroughly before being poured, and the tea should be allowed to brew for 3-4 minutes.