Nilgiri Forest | Nilgiri Green Tea
Taste: Toasted barley & green sugarcane
Tea Maker: Tea Studio
Steep 1 1 Tbsp / 3 g | 8 oz | 190° F | 3.5 min
Steep 2 8 oz | 195° F | 4.5 min
Certifications: None (organically grown, verified through testing)
Nilgiri Forest is made with only the flattened stems of the tea plant, giving this tea the comforting qualities of savory vegetable broth and green sugar cane. Japan’s famous twig teas inspired this loose-leaf, crafted by the all-woman team at Tea Studio.
Tasting Notes: When drinking Nilgiri Forest, discover three unique sensory experiences. First, a woody bouquet with gentle aromas of toasted barley rises from the cup, similar to its cousin Nilgiri Kukicha. Upon drinking, the two teas diverge. This one offers a pleasantly heavy, savory body reminiscent of a vegetable broth. Finally, the experience finishes with clean notes of fresh, green sugarcane. Because caffeine is concentrated in the leaves of the tea plant, this tea contains a lower caffeine content than most. Lovers of Japanese Kukicha and Genmaicha will likely enjoy this one.
Production: Nilgiri Forest is a true expression of creativity. The tea makers at Tea Studio cupped the Japanese style of Kukicha, another twig tea, and then sought to make their own version. It’s quite a labor-intensive tea, as the first step involves separating the stems and leaves by hand. The woody material is panned and flattened using specialized techniques that Tea Studio keeps secret; they’ve even applied for a patent on this tea to ensure the process stays under wraps. Since creating this tea, they’ve also made their own version of a Nilgiri Kukicha, a darker and stronger cousin to Nilgiri Forest.
Region: The Nilgiri region contains India’s southernmost mountains. While the district is only slightly larger than Darjeeling, it produces nearly four times as much tea. The prolific growth can be attributed to the lush tropical climate that allows for year-round growth. Unlike other regions, most of the land is owned by small growers who sell their green leaf to “bought leaf” factories. Nigiri teas are generally known to be less bitter and difficult to oversteep. They also don’t get cloudy as they steep, which makes them popular for high-end iced tea. Read our blog about this region here.
Tea Makers: Tea Studio is a state-of-the-art processing facility in the Nilgiris, run by Muskan Khanna and jointly owned by several international partners. Muskan’s father, Indi, has been experimenting with just about every aspect of tea since Muskan was a child--from growing the leaf, to sourcing the equipment, to exporting tea by the container. Indi is a fearless self-made tea man, and Muskan inherited her father’s love for tea. Her creativity and passion is evident in the teas her team makes--they all incorporate traditional Chinese methods and machines. Under Muskan’s leadership, Tea Studio is currently run and operated exclusively by a team of women–rare for the tea industry in any part of the world, let alone India. Tea Studio is also an educational space designed to host groups and teach professionals how to make fine whole-leaf teas. Read more about Muskan’s Journey.
Impact: In a trade dominated by men, Muskan and the all-woman team at Tea Studio show change is possible. They are exercising a level of creativity unheard of in India tea, rethinking every aspect of tea’s production, from the field to the factory. And with women leading the way, social norms are being transformed in Nilgiri villages, as locals see women creating teas that are getting attention from buyers from across the globe. Through Tea Studio’s educational offerings, they are creating opportunities for more small growers to gain the skills needed to make high-quality teas, raising up their entire community.
Packaging: Our teas come in resealable standup pouches with strong moisture and oxygen barriers. All our pouches are made with at least 20% post-consumer recycled milk jugs and water bottles. They are infinitely reusable although not recyclable. They are essentially high-end resealable bags. After you have finished your tea, wash and reuse them to store your car snacks, carry your favorite trail-mix on a hike, or even store odds and ends such as art and craft supplies, batteries and toiletries.