Tea tasting cup set

These are standard tools for tea tasting. They’re most common for Indian teas but are often seen in other tea geographies around the world. The main cup with lid is used to brew the tea, then you set that sideways into bowl to pour. Afterwards you turn the main cup upside down quickly and the tea is thrown against the lid. Open and set back on top to reveal the leaves.

This was a gift from Benoy of Thunderbolt Teas while I was visiting Darjeeling. May 2013.

Coffee from India

This is my first post about coffee. When I was in India in May I travelled south to visit the Highfield Tea Estate in the Nilgiri region. While there I realized that India has a noteworthy coffee industry.

One day I accompanied some of the Highfield staff to a market in Coonoor and they helped me pick up some coffee for my coffee loving brother and sister-in-law.

Santha Coffee Works

Tea & Coffee Merchants, Market, Coonoor -2

Arabica coffee, Grade Peaberry

From Coorg Karnataka, Southern India

What does Peaberry mean? In the coffee fruit there are two seeds. As the seeds develop in the cherry one side of each seed will be flat. Most often both seed will develop, but sometimes only one does. That’s the peaberry and it’s typically rounder. It has a higher value amongst coffee lovers due to its rarity and difference in flavors and aromas.

The beans have a matte finish to them, indicating a modest roast. The aroma in the bag is pleasant – purely coffee and nothing addition or distracting from that. Sometimes you smell the inside of a bag of beans and you sense a sharpness, sourness, or plastic.

While I’m very savvy with flavors and differences amongst teas, I’m much less so with coffee. I can say the taste of the brew is satisfying and there was nothing masking a range of flavors I’m used too when tasting coffee.

Rajah Banerjee, director of the Makaibari estate, doing his morning tasting. Each of these came from different portions of the fields two days prior. He’s sampling each, analyzing flavor and aroma of the liquor and look of the leaves, all knowing the many factors that play part: location of the bush on the estate, weather when plucked, machines used for rolling, and more.