Illam estate has a darjeeling-like character with good muscatel flavor. Some may ask, "What is the muscatel flavor?" When you taste this tea you will experience an almost perfume like character that some tea drinkers call -"`Chanel -like;" others call the darjeeling character "slightly over-fired" or oaky. The muscatel flavor is the natural taste of the tea - becoming more pronounced during April (light tasting with astringency and intense flavor) and June (intense flavor with more body). The flavor is on account of the altitude of the tea estate, the soil conditions in the Himalayas the weather patterns, temperature, the originating species of the bush (Chinese genus as opposed to the Indian genus) and fermenting techniques; it has nothing to do with the tea being over-fired (over-fired is a description of poor manufacturing techniques). The leaf appearance is very typical of a well produced high mountain grown Nepalese tea. It appears mottled with brownish and greenish leaf - almost camouflage-like. This appearance is caused the myriad of different mother bushes, the older age of the bushes and the subsequent fact that the leaves ferment differently.
The area where Illam is produced is high in the Himalayan mountains. The slopes where the tea is produced are extremely steep which makes it very difficult for the tea pluckers to go about their work. At Illam one is surrounded by the high snow covered peaks of the world's highest mountains. It is truly a very scenic area. The quality of this tea befits the tremendous efforts undertaken to produce the tea and the beautiful surroundings.
There are 3 main times of year for producing good quality Darjeelings:
1st flush - Springtime harvested teas from late February to mid-April. The young leaves yield a light tea with generally intense muscatel with "point." A gentle afternoon tea.
2nd flush - Harvested in June, these teas are more fully developed. The liquor is bright and the taste full and round excellent muscatel. An superb afternoon tea that is especially good with scones and raspberry conserve.
Autumnal - Not always available depending upon the weather, they are typified by a round taste and coppery liquor. Excellent as a breakfast tea with milk.
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Hot tea brewing method: This tea is best enjoyed using 2-3 tea bags for a 6 cup teapot. Allow the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes, remove the bags and pour. We do not recommend adding milk or sugar since this can mask some of the intrigue and subtle nuances of this vintage tea.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].
Shipping Port: Calcutta
Altitude: up to 7000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Light liquoring with muscatel character
Infusion: Bright, light tending slightly greenish
ZooScape is proud to be the exclusive distributor of TerraVita teas, herbs and supplements in the United States, Canada and around the world. Please direct all wholesale and bulk inquiries to Simona Heather at 1-844-449-0444.
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