Tag Archives: India

April tea hero: Discover Tea and Terroir with LaKyrsiew

12 Apr

Stunning (image courtesy of Lakyrsiew Tea Co)

As you may know already we have been looking at how terroir determines a tea’s unique characteristics. This month’s loose leaf tea hero is one of our newest teas and producers but is already an all time favourite with us and our customers: Awakening.

Awakening is from the beautiful LaKyrsiew Indian boutique tea garden. It is an “addictively caramel-chocolatey sweet black loose leaf tea that oozes opulence.” Full of shiny tea tips, an opulent aroma and a smooth, lingering sweetness, this unique tea takes you on a journey of your senses in every way!

I chose Awakening for April’s tea hero because LaKyrsiew make stunning teas that take you on the most beautiful voyage to begin to understand terroir.

The story of the LaKyrsiew tea garden is fascinating! Two hundred years ago, the forest covered hills of Meghalaya, a province that lies between Darjeeling and Assam, were discovered to be perfect for growing beautiful tea. However, growing tea here was deemed too costly due to the remoteness and the high yields that neighboring Assam could reap, and so the land was left wild.

Two centuries later, the old tea garden plans were discovered, virgin scrubland and woodland was cultivated and LaKyrsiew “The Awakening” tea garden was born.

Organic from the start, working with the contours of the land to protect the ancient fertile topsoil from monsoon rains and watered by a spring high on the jungle slopes, the flavours produced by the tea garden are unrivaled.

Geert and Nayan, the owners of LaKyrsiew, are passionate about the beautiful loose leaf teas they produce. Their focus is quality not quantity; in 2009 only 650kg of tea were made. They carefully pluck the top two leaves and a bud then wither, roll and fire the tea themselves. They even have their own bespoke brass rolling table that improves the flavour of the tea!

Although comparable to teas made in neighboring Darjeeling, the slow growth, favourable weather and strict leaf picking, LaKyrsiew tea has its own unique character – opulent and smooth with a lingering sweetness.

Try both Awakening and their stunning white tea, Silver Tips and you’ll see what I mean!

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The fabulous Walnut Tree Restaurant is now serving Lahloo Tea…..

8 Jun

I feel very lucky that I have been treated to lunch at The Walnut Tree restaurant in the gorgeous countryside just on the edge of the Black Mountains near Abergavenny. If you haven’t had the chance to eat at The Walnut Tree, then I hope you have plans to do so as soon as humanly possible! Don’t worry if you live further than we do (about an hours drive from Bristol), they have lovely accommodation so you can sample the fantastic wine list as well as the food. Or maybe head to the fabulous Abergavenny Food Festival and make a trip to taste Shaun’s food (just remember to book).

The Walnut Tree has been a famous inn and restaurant since it began in the early 1960’s. It is now run as a joint venture between Shaun Hill (see above) and William Griffiths. The Walnut Tree offers proper dining and drinking in an informal setting. Join them for a glass of good wine and a plate of something delicious or sit and savour a full lunch or dinner in the welcoming inn.

The menu is an eclectic mix, based on Shaun’s personal taste and sound cooking techniques, rather than any particular country’s cuisine.  Shaun and his team have this year earned a coveted Michelin star in recognition of the food being served and the team serving it. Well done!

When I first contacted Shaun to introduce him to Lahloo Tea and to see if he would like to serve our tea at The Walnut Tree, I did so with some trepidation. You see I knew that Shaun also oversees the long-established restaurants at Fortnum & Mason. Especially, St James’ Restaurant where he oversees the tea menu. He really knows – and loves – his tea! He really appreciates the difference between a Golden Assam and a high mountain Second Flush Darjeeling.

I needn’t have worried. After our initial chat over a lovely cup of Jungpana Darjeeling over a year ago, Shaun enjoyed Lahloo Tea so much so, that he asked me to keep in touch. So I did! And now I’m happy to say that you’ll now be able to sip a delicious cup of tea after your meal at The Walnut Tree.

Together with Shaun we have created a delicious tea list from around the world. Choose from a pot of light and fragrant Darjeeling Second Flush from high in the Indian Himalayas, the wonderfully refreshing and digestive Orchid oolong from the Phoenix Mountains in China (superb with his sensational chocolate puddings) or a cleansing cup of Japanese green tea. Whatever you choose, it will be delicious. So when you go back or visit for the first time, sit back relax and enjoy the food lovingly prepared by Shaun and the team. Just don’t forget to ask for a special cup of tea to follow…

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