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Tea of the Week for January 22, 2018: Bootleg Nilgiri Black Tea!

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 Bootleg Nilgiri!

Tea Description: One day while browsing through some cocktail recipes, I came across a mixed drink called 'Bootleg.' It's a blend of lemon, lime, mint, vodka and club soda. I decided that I liked the idea of the flavor combination of lemon, lime and mint - so I thought I should make a Bootleg tea! 

Now, I'm not one to drink much alcohol - I consider myself to be a TEA-totaler (see what I did there?) but I imagine if you were to steep this tea (double strength, at least) in vodka and let it steep for at least a few hours (I'm really not sure how long you'd need to steep it in vodka, to be honest - but if you're familiar with steeping tea in alcohol, please feel free to comment here and let us know!) and then add some club soda to the blend of vodka and tea, you'd have yourself a Bootleg Tea Cocktail. 

But back to this tea - I started with a beautiful, organic Nilgiri (it's considered a black tea but does have some green leaves to it, reminding me very much of a first flush Darjeeling. If I were to guess, I'd say that it's somewhere between 90 and 95% oxidation) and to this Nilgiri, I added some spearmint and peppermint leaves, some lemon grass, lemon balm, lime leaves as well as some dried lemon and lime wedges. The flavor is smooth and crisp - because it's a green-ish Nilgiri, it's lighter in body than your typical black tea. 

I can't say how this would compare to a Bootleg cocktail - because I've never had a Bootleg cocktail. It's definitely more citrus than it is mint, but not by much. The fruit flavors are bright and the mint is exhilarating - a very refreshing drink for the palate!


organic ingredients: black tea, lemon grass, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, lime leaves, lemons, limes & natural flavors

With the coming of the New Year, I wanted something that was light and refreshing. Something that left the palate feeling clean and didn't weigh me down. This isn't too sweet - it's pleasantly tart and bright tasting. A perfect afternoon tea. 

The cup brews up a coppery color - it's light and clear. I don't get a strong floral flavor from the tea (as is often the case with a first flush Darjeeling) so when I say that this Nilgiri reminds me of a first flush Darjeeling, I'm referring more to it's appearance and the color of the liquid once brewed, rather than the flavor. The flavor is light - similar to a first flush Darjeeling, but certainly less floral tasting. In fact, when brewed alone, this Nilgiri tends to have a more fruity flavor, so in that regard, it's perhaps similar to a second flush Darjeeling - but I don't get a strong 'muscatel' note from it - just a fruity flavor that I thought would work nicely with the citrus and the mint, which is why I chose it to provide the base for this Bootleg blend.

It's really quite nice!

to brew: be sure to give the pouch a good shake before you measure, because there are a lot of herb-y leaves along with the Nilgiri leaves and you want the ingredients to be well-incorporated so you get a balanced measurement of all ingredients. 3g of leaf to 12 ounces of hot water - I recommend somewhere between 190 and 195°F for this tea because of the lower oxidation point of the leaves. Let it steep for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes. I've taste tested this twice, once with a time of 2 1/2 minutes and one with 3 minutes. I find that the 3 minute infusion had a stronger flavor - of course - but there was also a just a bit of astringency that I didn't pick up on with the 2 1/2 minute infusion. It isn't a distracting or disturbing level of astringency in either case. So, the 2 1/2 minute infusion is smoother yet lighter, the 3 minute flavor more flavorful but a little less smooth.

I found this tea to be rather pleasant without any sweetener at all - so I'd recommend tasting before you sweeten it.