My go-to black tea: Winter frost

Couple of years ago, I cut down my coffee and tea consumption. I didn’t want to quit. I simply wanted to control how many cups I had – largely that meant 2 cups a day.

Since I cut down on quantity, I started focusing on quality. That opened up a world of coffees and teas I would otherwise not have experimented with. One such being the winter frost teas from Nilgiris.

These winter frost teas are plucked in the dew laden early mornings of December, January and February in Nilgiris. The leaves take longer to grow in winter and that allows it more opportunity to absorb the ambient flavours – thereby making it very aromatic and flavourful. Several estates like Chamraj and Havukal make these winter frost teas.

My go-to black these days is the Winter frost from Chamraj estate. Has a floral aroma that is reminiscent of being in the proximity of a jasmine, and an after-taste that is very peach-fruity in a clean manner. Mildly astringent when steeped right (my preference is about 175-190F water for 3-3.5 mins). A good technique to identify right temperature for this is to take water off boil when you notice several small bubbles at the bottom (don’t let the water boil, it will make this tea bitter – it’s better to let it cool off for a minute or so in such cases before pouring it on tea leaves).

This tea is also great for cold brewing. Just add to water and leave it in fridge for 8 hours or so. That’s it.

Best served plain. No sugar, no milk, not even lemon. Doesn’t have the body to accommodate those.

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