Murali 's Nilgiri Black
Nilgiri Black is a wonderfully smooth black tea with a fruity aroma & a creamy finish from this 5 acre family farm
In more depth....
Tea Name : Nilgiri Black
Tea Maker : Murali Subramanian
Origin : Nr Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Southern India
Size : 5 Acres
Harvest Time : June
Cultivar : ‘China Plant’ variety; no known cultivar name or number.
Plucking standard : Two leaves and one bud
Processing : Withered, rolled, oxidised and fired
Experience : Smooth and flavoursome
Last visited by Comins : January 2019, Rob & Michelle Comins
How to prepare : Western Style
Amount of tea per bowl (200 ml): 2.5 g (1 tsp)
Water temperature: 100℃ / 212℉
Infusion / brewing time: 3 minutes
Number of infusions: 1
How to enjoy: No sugar, no milk.
Tales of the Tea Trade : Murali's Tea Farm
Michelle Extract from our our book Tales of the tea trade : Of the 1,200 million kilograms of tea produced in India annually, south India accounts for 20 percent of production [....] Most of the tea farming here is geared towards CTC (cut-tear-curl) but the Indian Tea Board is encouraging small gardens to improve leaf quality and move towards orthodox or speciality tea [....]
Murali : 'The summers are hot and humid in the plains of Coimbatore in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but the local town, Nilgiri, is a paradise with its cool temperatures and rolling mountains covered in greenery. We wanted to buy a small cottage as a summer getaway but ended up buying a 5-acre tea garden. We had no idea how deep we would get into the tea business at that time [......] we keep our tea garden on a self-sustainable model. The plants are grown under abundant shade from 500 cypress trees and are cultivated using traditional Indian panchagavya techniques. This Sanskrit word refers to a traditional concoction of five cow products. In addition to warding off pests and diseases, the use of panchagavya is said to impart a fruitier, earthier aspect to tea leaves [...]'
[....] As we leave, Murali shares his hopes for the future. Like all the small farmers we continue to meet in India, he tells us that small investments can make a big difference. Supporting small tea gardens that show promise can offer a big boost to this sector. If one small garden succeeds, others are likely to follow and soon there will be many small gardens producing quality leaves in successful regions.
Further insight from our time at Murali's
The Panchagavya preparation : Reading the above you may be interested to know more about the Panchagavya preparation. Here is the link to Tamilnadu Agriculture University link that provides all the Panchagavya ingredients (with photos), detailed preparation information and all the documented beneficial effects. Certainly an interested read.
An incredible partnership : This small garden is full of heart. When Murali explained to us that ''we need to dance with nature to grow the best leaves :)" we knew that we were dealing with someone and somewhere very special. The operation here is a partnership between old school friends, Murali, the two Ramakrishnan's and Muralis incredible wife Kameswari. an incredibly positive, strong, energetic woman &, in our opinion, creator of some of the most wonderful dishes we have ever eaten. We were lucky to visited the team in 2018 for a few days around Pongal - the harvest festival - and were treated to an unforgettable array of South Indian delicacies.
What was clear here is how valued the small team are. As described in Tales of the tea trade 'There are nine people employed at the garden: Gautham, who operates the tea machines, a native of West Bengal and now settled in the Nilgiris, whose family has been at the garden for two years; Sonali, Gautham’s wife, who helps in tea machine operation, sorting fresh leaves and also leaf picking; expert leaf pickers Lokamma, Gowri, Chitra, Navamani, Jyothimani and Jayalakshmi; and Sekar, an expert in managing tea bushes'
We were honoured to present the team with their Pongal gifts on our visit and also extremely honoured to be invited to plant 5 new tea bushes at the Tea garden - one for each of our family. so in a few years you will be able to drink tea from these bushes - expertly cared for by the team here :)
Kameswari deserves further mention. Sleeping only from 11pm - 4 or 4.30am she rises every day to chant & then prepare for the day ahead. All the food we enjoyed & savoured was fresh, prepared simply for that day (not to keep for the next) and offered with love. Kameswari taught us how to make Pongal and by the time you read this you will hopefully have had the chance to try our version at Tea House!