A small cup of black tea and some loose tea leaves.

When it comes to black tea from India, not for me the delicacy of a Darjeeling or the brisk astringency of an Assam - my preference is for nice cup of Nilgiri. A small, strong cup of the stuff on a Saturday morning does me the world of good. The tea shown above is an ‘Orchid’ Nilgiri from What Cha. The cup was made by Matthew Jones Ceramics.

My sensory apparatus for flavour & fragrace is by no means the most acute, and my descriptive vocabulary for it correspondingly weak. I’ve seen Nilgiri described as having “bold fruity and floral flavours — with hints of dusk orchid and woody plums” with a “nutty and spicy” aftertaste. I have to say that neither fruit nor flowers come to mind when I drink it. And I can’t recall ever having eaten an orchid. What does come to mind when I taste the stuff is a sense of mellow warmth & breadth, like a comforting embrace in beverage form. However inexact my apprehension of its niceties, it has become a firm favourite.