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Nilgiri Kala Moti

The tea known as the black pearl of the Nilgiri Hills… Read More

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The tea known as the black pearl of the Nilgiri Hills…

Although most associate tea with North India, it's well worth discovering the teas produced in South India's Nilgiri Hills. Often thought to yield a dark and overtly aromatic brew, the better varieties tend to be far more subtle - our Kala Moti is a case in point.

The name literally translates as 'black pearl', referring to the lightly oxidised leaves which are delicately rolled by hand. The leaves open to an extraordinary size in the infusion, creating a truly multi-layered brew with a tropical fruit sweetness and a lightly nutty, peppery twist to the finish. Enjoyed without milk, it's wonderfully refreshing - there's no other Nilgiri tea quite like it.

  • Tea Type

    Black Tea

  • Origin


  • Taste Profile

    Citrus, Floral, Refreshing

  • Tastes like

    Subtly fruity, with a peppery twist

  • Food pairing

    Spinach, mushroom and other strong, hearty foods

  • When to drink

    Divine at any time of day


Brew the perfect cup

Add one teaspoon (around 2g) of loose leaf tea per cup and always use freshly drawn and boiled water. Allow to brew for 3-5 minutes according to taste. Can be enjoyed with or without milk.

A note from Whittard

“I don’t respond that well to caffeine, so I tend to go to our fruit and herbal infusions. Baked Apple is one of my favourites, and rooibos is lovely as a caffeine-free breakfast tea.”

- Octavia, Cambridge Store Manager


Tea plantations were first introduced to India by the British in the 19th century. Britain had originally relied on China for their tea supplies, but their breakthrough came when the Scottish explorer Robert Bruce discovered tea plants growing wild in Assam. However, that didn’t stop the British from stealing Chinese tea cuttings to plant in the Himalayan region of Darjeeling, and the finest Darjeelings are still cultivated from the original China-Jat bushes. Despite its rather dubious beginnings tea is now an integral part of Indian culture, with sweet, milky chai sold on every street corner.


Nilgiri Kala Moti

The black pearls of South Sea oysters are very rarely ‘black' as such – more a medley dark green, purple, aubergine, blue and silvery grey, a bit like a peacock's plume. The peacock was delclared the national bird of India in 1963, so we've numbered this tea 63 – you'll find a fair few peacocks wandering around the wildlife sanctuaries of the Nilgiri Hills…

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