2 March 2011
The Nilgiri Parkside, arrives late each February to begin the year’s teas.
It is an unusual looking tea with its green flakes and dark wiry leaf combination.
On tasting the lively liquor is an eccentric blend of green spring freshness and a smooth barley-sugar sweetness.
Well structured with balance and finesse.
The base of this tea is the plant material; the leaf used is the clonal CR6017 which is a high quality ‘China’ type cultivar. ‘CR’ from the Craigmore Estate where the plant was originally cloned this tea is one of Nilgiri’s three top quality clonals along with the UPASI 3, TRF 2 (UPASI The United Planters’ Association of Southern India ).
This leaf comes from a section of the Parkside Estate that is pure CR6017. During the first cooler weeks of the year the flavour compounds in the leaves are at their best and a very fine pluck is used to focus on the tenderest new shoots. Once in the factory a hard wither reduces the leaf moisture over 65%. The relatively thick stem of the CR6017 absorbs more moisture than many other cultivars leaving the leaf-borders completely dry. These extremities of the leaf will thus remain green and will flake during the rolling. It is these flakes that are responsible for the green characteristics of the flavour profile.
The withered leaf is then loaded into a 36” deep-well, double-action rolling table in which it is rolled for an hour without any vertical pressure application. As a result, the final product is the complete leaf or “big bulk” and almost all (more than 90%) whole leaf. Smaller particles such Brokens, Fannings or Dusts are of negligible quantity so the leaf is not graded and is packed complete and rushed by air from the garden to us.
What a wonderful way to start the year!