For the connoisseur who wants to immerse themselves in some of the great black teas of India and Sri Lanka, unadorned with flavors, fruits, flowers, or other distractions, we present this collection of luxury black teas. Each is sourced from a single tea plantation, and exemplifies the unique terroir of each famed tea region. This collection contains Happy Valley Estate Darjeeling (TGFOP), Bukhial Estate Assam (TGFOP), Courtlodge Estate Nuwara Eliya Ceylon (FBOP) and Tiger Hill Estate Nilgiri (FBOP).
Happy Valley Estate Darjeeling (TGFOP) – Happy Valley is one of the oldest and most storied estates in Darjeeling, on 437-acres just outside the town of the same name, at no fewer than 6800 ft, (2100 m) above sea level. The first tea bushes were put in the ground in 1854 and by 1860, the estate had begun to produce finished tea and word of its quality quickly spread throughout the British Empire. In 1903, Wilson estate was purchased by an Indian aristocrat from Hooghly named Tarapanda Banerjee. In 1929 Banerjee purchased neighbouring Windsor Tea Estate, merged it with Wilson and changed the name to Happy Valley. Happy Valley thrived until the fall of the USSR (the main consumer of Indian Teas in the 20th century), and then began to fall into disrepair, but in the early 2000s, was purchased by new owners who have invested in returning it and its teas to their former glory. In fact, Happy Valley is now producing it’s best tea in a over a century.
This remarkable 2nd flush TGFOP is a sparkling example of Darjeeling’s finest – lush muscatel notes, soft tones of honey and lightly balanced astringency. For Darjeeling-lovers or the Darjeeling-curious alike, this cup is an experience not to be missed.
Bukhial Estate Assam (TGFOP) – This bold, coppery Assam-style black tea (TGFOP) comes from Bukhial Tea Estate in the state of Assam, where wild elephants still roam the estate! Millenia of loamy river sediments in the soil creates an outstanding terroir, and the limited rainfall of the area slows the growth of the tea bushes and concentrates flavor in the tea leaf. The resulting tea is rich and malty, with the bright coppery-golden color Assam-aficionados love. For serious tea lovers, or those just looking for an unforgettable cup, this gorgeous whole-leaf tea from Assam’s finest estate is not to be missed.
Courtlodge Estate Nuwara Eliya Ceylon (FBOP) – This Ceylon-style black tea (FBOP) hails from Courtlodge estate in the Nuwara Eliya region of Sri Lanka, which produces superlative teas known as the “champagne of Ceylon.” The Nuwara Eliya district is in the central part of the island of Sri Lanka, straddling the ‘island divide’. In February the northwest monsoons create a rain shadow effect on the western side of Nuwara Eliya (the side where Courtlodge is situated) resulting in peak or seasonal quality during this time. Courtlodge Estate, ranging from 4000 – 5900 feet in elevation, in particular, has consistently produced some of the best teas in Sri Lanka over the years.
The bright, light liquoring tea has the point, astringency and lively flavor that has made “Ceylon” teas favored the world over. These loose leaves are lightly broken, which makes for a faster, stronger brew with a gorgeous coppery color.
Tiger Hill Nilgiri (FBOP) – This January production tea has a flavor profile that is unbelievable. You will taste a fruit-like floral character with satisfying thickness. This quality is only available in Jan. and the average price during this time is generally between 2 to 3 times the price at other times of the year. What causes this flavor? The sun shines more intensely, there are fewer clouds, the temperature is cooler and there is virtually no rain – the perfect conditions for stunning tea. The infusion is bight, tending coppery, with sweet floral-like notes with a deliciously satisfying tea character. An any time of day tea, although the broken leaf style means a faster brew, perfect for mornings. Very high in antioxidants, moderate caffeine.