Origin: Nilgiris, Southern India
Producer: Tea Studio
Infusion Suggestion: 210 degrees, 4 min
Tasting Notes: Toasted Grains and Coffee
Information: This Japanese inspired tea, made using just the stems of the tea plant, has a strong roasted taste that hearkens to a cup of coffee. This nourishing tea is enjoyed both hot and cold.
This unique tea is made by one of India's first female tea producers -- Muskan Khanna. This tea is part of a series Khanna is making by adapting Japanese and Chinese methods to Indian tea leaves.
Production: The kukicha is a roasted green tea made from only the stems of the plant. After being hand sorted, the stalk goes through a series of machines to be flattened and then roasted. Kukicha has less caffeine than other green teas which results from the roasting process.
Region: The Nilgiri region contain India’s southern most 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. 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 as they contain fewer tannins than most china bush teas.
Growers: Tea Studio is a state of the art processing facility in the Nilgiris run Muskan Khanna. Her father, Indi, has been producing fine Indian teas for decades, however Muskan was interested in incorporating traditional Chinese methods into their production in order to create high quality, one-of-a-kind teas. Under Muskan’s leadership, the factory is currently run and operated exclusively by a team of women – rare for the tea industry. In addition, 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: With the creativity and expertise employed at Tea Studio – the breadth and interest of Indian teas continue to expand. Though education and professional development, more small growers will have access to the resources they need to process high quality teas in the specialty tea world. In an industry dominated by middle aged men, Muskan represents a youthful energy and face that will be essential if tea will continue to survive in rural India.