Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Winter Frost Havukal Black - 2020 Pick

(Dear Readers, I hope you are are still holding up during these times. I read this morning one of the Boba Guys founder had to let 400 employees go and that he never cried so much in his life. I also read an ice skating rink was turned into a morgue. I feel numbly paralyzed reading the daily news and have relapsed to obsessing about tea. Continuing with old tea rituals is some measure of comfort. I hope you allow yourself some daily reprieve doing something that eases your burdens.)
Dried peach the perfect  accompaniment
Last year, out of the twenty odd teas from India, the Winter Frost Havukal Black struck me as the most intriguing. The tea body was light yet with an intense floral profile. I don't like oolongs that are too floral but this tea made my palate curious. This example of a high-grown Nilgiri winter flush lies somewhere in triangulation between oolongs and darjeeling muscatels but is distinctly it's own genre.

Given the mild climates of southern India doesn't vary as much, it's not clear whether or not winter flush is more of a marketing designation.  Even the teabox blog states:
"Observed almost exclusively in the Nilgiri mountains of southern India, these teas are harvested from December to January. In Nilgiri, the term winter flush is used interchangeably with autumn flush, since there is no distinct autumn and winter in the south Indian tropics."
I am a complete noob to the nilgiri winter flush genre and now will have to hunt around for more examples as I don't know how this tea compares to it's peers.  It doesn't matter in the current enjoyment of this tea but for curiosity and for future procurement. If you have a particular nilgiri or winterflush that you enjoy, please let me know.

When I saw the February 4, 2020 pick was available, I confidently ordered a 100g packet last week to compare with the 2019 pick along with more Glendale nilgiris. (I sighed about the 3 cups of stale bagged teas I drank at European museum cafes that cost more than the 100 grams of this compelling tea. Although one can theoretically order 100 grams of this tea for $4 direct from Havukal's site, the shipping came out to a prohibitive $67 dollars even though the site promised free shipping on all orders over 1000 rupees or $13.) 

Last year's pick had overwhelming orchid(?) aromatics with a long long lasting finish, but this year's pick is slightly more muted which makes me wonder if some aging time might be good for this tea. The 2020 pick is not without it's charms.  Although it's called a black, the tea genre is quite green and new greens are always bothersome to my system so I will put this 2020 pick away to revisit this winter. I regret not buying up more of the 2019 to drink now.

The lovely game I'm lucky to play this week is 'Ori, the Will of the Wisps', an absolute visual feast but a devilishly hard platformer that is punishing my poor stiff fingers.

1 comment:

  1. Drinking the Glendale Special Twirl tonight. Nilgiris are fantastic tea genre that I am grateful to be able to drink this month.