I’ve only had one other Nilgiri and I honestly wasn’t a fan. There was an edge to it that made me think of thick, rough plant leaves – you know, the kind you’d find in a cheapy bouquet – and I just couldn’t get over that. It’s one of those tastes for me (like rooibos) that no matter how little of it there is in something, that’s all my mind can focus on. And I smell a little bit of that raw leafness in this cup. Uh oh.
Yeah, I taste it, too. There’s a floral hint that sweetens the tea a little and it is definitely bolder and richer than the previous Nilgiri I have had (Tao of Tea’s Neela) but all I can focus on is that leaf that somehow got into my cup. I keep thinking, “This must be what it is like to eat a tea-flavored rose bush leaf.” Because yeah, that’s what I get. There’s also a hint of sharpness at the end that makes me think of a Darjeeling but only in a not-so-positive way.
I tried to tweak this a bit with sugar and half & half since the company’s tasting notes say that it can take it but, meh. Nothing I did really seemed to help – half & half made the raw leaf bit calm down but seemed to accentuate the bitterness. Sugar didn’t really do anything until I put in more than I wanted – then it was just sweet. And raw. And leafy.
I just don’t think Nilgiris and I are ever going to get along.