|"Buttery, citrusy, and mildly smoky, this is exactly what I want from my green teas."|
The Tea Shelf is a company that specialises in Indian teas, sourcing its variety directly from several growing regions. It has a smaller collection than some companies, but it has a nice variety of types of tea and gardens. Although you can’t add samples of individual teas, there are several options of very affordable sampler sets, so you can try a variety without breaking the bank.
Billimalai is a garden located in the Coonoor district of India, an area I must admit I have little experience with. The leaves are delicate grassy green with twigs and buds. They’re very late, so I heap a generous tablespoon worth into my cup. After one minute at 160°, I get a pale yellow liquor that smells strongly vegetal and mildly smoky. It’s a surprisingly robust scent, reminiscent of cooked artichoke.
The cup has a beautiful buttery flavour and texture, making it completely smooth. There’s a brilliant steamed spinach flavour that lingers in to the aftertaste. It’s robust yet delicate, pure and brilliant. My 2-minute second steep has a scent on par with the first. It’s all cooked green veg and subtle smoke again, but now it has the distinct taste of lime. Overall, the flavour is milder than the first. The aftertaste lingers like the first cup, but now there’s no buttery character.
India isn’t especially known for their green teas, but maybe it should be. Buttery, citrusy, and mildly smoky, this is exactly what I want from my green teas. This is my first sample from The Tea Shelf, but I have several more to try, and after this, I look forward to them all.
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