Taste: Wild honey and blooming roses
Origin: Nilgiri mountains of Southern India
Tea Maker: Tea Studio
Steep 1 2 Tbsp/2.5 g | 8 oz | 170° F | 3.5 min
Steep 2 8 oz | 175° F | 4.5 min
Nilgiri White is a balanced, sweet white tea that’s good at any time of the day. We source it from the all-woman-led Tea Studio in Southern India, an experiential tea facility pioneering new approaches to tea and bending gender norms.
Tasting Notes: This aromatic white loose-leaf tea has the gentle aroma of blooming roses sprinkled over a balanced, light body of wild honey. True to the classic white teas that inspired it, it is best steeped at a lower temperature to avoid cooking the young, tender leaves that make it so special. It carries subtle yet vibrant notes of wild honey that echo after the finish. Lovers of White Peony (Bai Mudan) will likely enjoy this one.
Production: The tea makers behind this white begin by sorting the fresh harvest to select the best preserved whole leaves. The tea is layered on bamboo mesh to wither naturally for up to 20 hours, depending on ambient conditions. It is minimally handled to avoid any breakage, and finished at a low heat.
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.
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.