|JING Nilgiri tea|
As you pour boiling water over your tea each morning, watching patiently as the soothing clouds of colour slowly stain the steaming water, it's easy not to spare a thought for the centuries of history and tradition, the cultural preferences and the passions that inspire the best teas of today. [Insert Tibetan gong sound here.]
Or you can just whack a bag of strong workman's tea in your mug, burp, scratch your chest and get on with the day. But I need something more if I'm to be diverted from my beloved - often life giving - cup of coffee. I like a tea with elegance.
I recently attended the launch of the new JING Nilgiri tea at The Cinnamon Club in Westminster.
Over canapes and tea based cocktails, David Hepburn explained the origins of some of JING's finest teas (there are 82 in the range). David takes his tea seriously.
My favourite, the Nilgiri black whole leaf tea, is mellow, warm and full bodied. I love the slight caramel undertones, and my notes suggest you might also taste malt and orange peel. Sourced from the Coonoor Estate in the Nilgiri Hills in Southern India, the tea is handled with care to produce large leaves and a premium quality product. It's so far above the ageing tea in a bag rubbish I drink at work that I've even bought myself some spanking new kit to drink the Nilgiri in style at my desk. Stylin'....
I was provided with some teas to try at home. Earl Grey is usually my tea of choice, and JING's is gorgeous. Delicate, comforting and aromatic, it's a whole leaf Ceylon black tea, scented with bergamot.
JING sources tea from a range of countries, including China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Egypt, and it has 14 Michelin Star restaurant customers (including The Fat Duck and The Lanesborough).
For more information or to purchase JING tea, check out JING's website here.
If you have an interest in tea, you might also like to take a peek at my earlier write up on the Teanamu tea tasting workshops in Notting Hill here. There's also a lovely section on tea, and how to make a decent pot of it, in Victoria Moore's "How to Drink".