Taste: Walnut & Plum Fruit Leather
Tea Maker: Tea Studio
Hot 1 Tbsp /2.5 g | 8 oz | 210° F | 5 min
Iced 2 Tbsp /5 g | 8 oz | 210° F | 5 min, then pour over ice and refrigerate for 15 minutes
A small-lot oolong ideal for making premium iced tea at home. Created by the all-women team at Tea Studio in the Nilgiri mountains, this rare Indian oolong delivers a light, crisp, refreshing cup with notes of walnut and fruit leather made from ripe plums.
Taste: Nilgiri teas are famous for their low tannins. This allows their fruity characters to shine, unmasked by the astringency of high-tannin teas. Nilgiri Ice does just that, with light notes of dried plum backed up by a pleasantly textured taste of walnut. To make a decadent iced tea, start by making this tea hot at double strength (twice as much tea as usual), pouring into a pitcher, and then refrigerating. Just before serving, pour the concentrated tea over ice so and as the ice melts, the tea will achieve a well-balanced equilibrium. For a fun twist, add a slice of lemon and a touch of your favorite sweetener just before drinking. Or simply make the tea hot and enjoy!
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. Since Muskan was a child, her father Indi has been experimenting with just about every aspect of tea–from growing the leaf, to sourcing the equipment, to exporting tea by the container. As his greatest work yet, he drew on his international network to launch Tea Studio, a world-class boutique tea factory using equipment from China and Taiwan. Then he handed over the operations over to his grown daughter. Muskan’s creativity and passion is evident in the teas her team make, borrowing from traditional tea styles yet with exciting reinterpretations. Under Muskan’s leadership, Tea Studio is currently run and operated exclusively by a team of women, which is 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-women team at Tea Studio show change is possible. They are exercising a level of creativity unheard of in Indian 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 international attention. Through Tea Studio’s educational offerings, the organization is creating opportunities for more small growers to gain the skills needed to make high-quality teas, raising up their entire community.
Production: Muskan and her team start by rolling the fresh green leaf to break the walls and trigger oxidation. Afterwards, they use a carding machine to gently shape the leaf into long, wiry strands. The leaf is semi-oxidized, making it a rare Indian oolong. In contrast to the pearl-shaped Nilgiri Beauty Oolong Tea Studio also makes, Nilgiri Ice’s more slender shape leads to a lighter cup. It’s difficult to oversteep and perfect for iced tea.
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 its 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. Read our blog about this region here.
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 house odds and ends such as craft supplies or toiletries.