Nilgiri Long Jing (Dragon Well) comes from a small but modern factory called the ” Tea Studio” But before we talk about the tea, let’s think about where it comes from.
There are many similarities between tea and wine, not least how the terroir affects the finished product. Also important in our eyes is provenance. Strictly speaking a Beaujolais wine should come from the Beaujolais region in France and Long Jing (Dragon Well) should come from West Lake in the Hangzhou region or one of two other accredited areas of Zhejiang Province, China.
Times are however, changing. While this tea might not be an exact copy of a Chinese Long Jing, Nilgiri Long Jing, as we wrote to the producers of this tea, it is by far the best Indian green tea we have ever tasted. With beautifully large, flat and green dry leaf (typical of those from the Assamica variety of the tea plant that are abundant in the region) that folds together like spaghetti going into a pan of boiling water when you brew it, the infusion comes out to delicate pale yellow colour that is as subtle in flavour and aroma as it looks in the cup. Both the dry leaf and the infusion are testimony to the level of care that is taken not just in selecting and handling the leaves to pluck, but also in processing them. It is clear that this tea has not just been produced, it has been crafted, and crafted with love and passion.
This tea is the result of a small cottage industry project. The processing unit – the “Tea Studio” is small and modern. The machines in the factory are revolutionary in design and functionality – unique in India. Run on LPG, it is absolutely pollution free and has no negative impact on the environment around it: Quite the opposite. The leaves for the tea come from small-holders (who each have ½ acre or ¼ acre plots) in the vicinity of the project. The whole set-up is run by women and the small-holders who provide the fresh leaves are paid 100-200% more than the norm. Although not certified organic, this a pure and natural tea, produced without the use of chemicals or industrial fertilisers.
Discovering, importing directly and now enjoying a tea like Nilgiri Long Jing is one of the things that makes our job worth doing. Try it for yourselves, experience the joy and pleasure of each sip, savour both infusions and taste the passion put into the tea by the people who made it.