This is another one of the new work teas, tested in peace at home with regards to posting about it. I actually had this at work yesterday, but as mentioned, while I’m there I don’t have time or opportunity to really fully pay attention to it. I did find it quite pleasant as a while-I-work-tea, though.
I have to say I’m not a fan of this leaf grade. They’re torn into such tiny pieces, it’s a crying shame to look at. Remember I’m used to large leaf Chinese primarily. I don’t know why Indian stuff almost always have to come in such itty-bitty sizes. A lot of the beauty goes missing this way.
Purely aesthetical issues aside, though, they don’t have a very strong dry aroma. It’s there though and kind of malty. It’s much better after steeping, malty and a little grainy as well. It smells very smooth.
Now, this is what I like! I’m not a fan of Indian teas in general. I dislike the prickly grassyness of Darjeelings and Assams tend to develop a funny sort of astringency all too easily. Both get fiendishly bitter when not tended to. I’ve had Dooars and Sikkim as well, neither of which managed to leave any sort of good impression on me. I think I’ve had a plain Nilgiri once but wasn’t hugely impressed at the time, although if I could find one I’m sure it would grow on my in a quite spectacular way. I seem to recall me disliking it at the time for the same sort of reason that I initially wasn’t all that happy about the Tan Yang Te Ji, which later, famously, completely bowled me over ♥. This is the first plain Travancore I’ve had in my life and as it comes from the South West of India, like Nilgiri, I expect there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two.
But this, this is finally an Indian tea that I like. Typical then, that it’s one that’s virtually unknown in Denmark. A C Perch’s, my favourite tea shop in the country, has it though so I’m not complaining. I’ve got my bases covered. :)
The tea tastes very different from the North Indian types, it has an almost Chinese Fujian-y quality to it. The smoothness and the grainy sort of malty notes that make me think of rye bread.
And a milked note. That’s a funny sort of note, that one. It’s the one that usually makes me try something with milk in it, because it sort of tastes like there’s already a little in there. It’s a very small one though, and easily missed. I doubt I’ll try this with milk although I’m sure it would hold up to it beautifully, mostly because I just prefer my tea without. I can drink it with, I prefer not to.
It’s a large flavour. Rounded and assertive, and I’m not at all suprised to discover that it’s also used in A C Perchs’ Irish Breakfast blend. It has that breakfast-y sort of flavour.
I don’t know if, like the others, it will turn super-bitter over time, though, and I’m not going to find out if I can help it, but it doesn’t taste like it would, really. Totally smooth and not a hint of astringency anywhere at all.
I am WAY pleased! Imagine finding an Indian tea that I actually like. And not just I-drink-this-like, but like -like! I’m so glad I allowed myself to get inspired for this one. I think the boss will like it too. (She’s had two days off work, so she hasn’t been introduced to our new teas yet)