Atlas Tea Club’s Nilgiri Coonoor and Nilgiri Mao Feng | Tea Review

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Tea provided for review

The great thing about subscription boxes is that every delivery is a surprise! As someone who likes tasting new teas, I enjoy that I can try something different each time.

I learned about Atlas Tea Club a few months ago when, Kelly, the co-owner, reached out to me and sweetly offered to send me some of their teas to try. I was interested in the brand because of its focus on orthodox ethnically sourced “single-origin teas from around the world.” Atlas Tea Club is a newer company, starting in 2020 under a different name than partnering with its sister company, Atlas Coffee Club, in 2021.

The company currently offers two subscription boxes options: a 1 tea or 2 tea option. The 1 tea option contains around 20 – 28 grams of tea and the 2 teas option contains 40 – 50 grams of tea in total. Then there is an additional option to pick non-caffeinated or caffeinated teas. Subscribers who opt for the caffeinated box can then pick green or black tea, where they will always receive at least one of that type of tea in their boxes. The subscription box also comes with a postcard and 1 reusable muslin tea bag and 10 recyclable/compostable filter bags.

Since Atlas Tea Club was in the middle of releasing new packaging, Kelly ended up sending me a few subscription boxes to try. I decided to share the new packaging since it was so pretty! The print on the tea bags was a treat since it made it easy to pick them out from my other teas. Each pouch also had information about the tea, how to prepare it, and tasting notes.

In the India box, I received two teas: Nilgiri Mao Feng (green) and Nilgiri Coonoor (black), which were “handcrafted by an all-woman tea in the Nigiri mounts of southern India.” I decide to brew both teas starting at 3 to 4 minutes and add a minute to each infusion.

Now that we have some information about the company, the subscription boxes, and the teas, let’s go!

Nilgiri Mao Feng

Description: “Once infused, the curly twisted leaves unfurl to a vibrant liquor and boast a rich, astringent texture with sweet, vegetal flavor notes.”

Instructions: 1 tsp | 8oz | 180°F | 3-4 min steep, re-steep 1 time 

Review: I personally haven’t had a Mao Feng in some time, so, it was nice to see one in the box. I was curious to see how the tea would taste since Mao Feng is traditionally from China. The dry rolled twisted leaves were dark forest green and had a steamed spinach and chestnut smell.

Infusion 1 (4 minutes): After brewing, the tea was a light golden orange colour and had a vegetal and nutty smell. The sip started off mild and tasted vegetal, like peas, and then transformed into a roasted nuts taste that lingered in the mouth. The sip ended with some dryness at the back of the throat.

Infusion 2 (5 minutes): The golden tan colour liquor had less vegetal notes and a stronger roasted nutty profile. The astringency was still present at the back of the throat.

The olive and reddish-green wet leaves were mostly broken leaves and steam. The leaves smelled like the liquor and was reminiscent of spinach, steamed vegetables, and roasted nuts.

Overall, this was a delicate green tea. I found this to be an easy sipping green tea, but like any green tea, it can quickly become overly astringent if brewed for too long. That being said, this would be a nice tea for someone new to green teas as it doesn’t have some of the more intense grassy, vegetal, or umami flavours some green teas have that can be seen as “off-putting” (3/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origin: India, Nilgiri
  • Caffeine: Medium caffeine
  • Ingredients: Pure green tea
  • Company: Atlas Tea Club

Nilgiri Coonoor

Description: “On first sip you’ll notice its refreshing lightness with a gentle aroma reminiscent of honey and lavender.”

Instructions: 1 tsp | 8oz | 205°F | 3-4 min steep, re-steep 1-2 time 

Review: The dark black thin wiry leaves had a warm nutty, spiced, and floral smell. There were also a few lighter reddish tipped leaves as well.

Infusion 1 (4 minutes): The liquor was a reddish-golden yellow colour with a honeysuckle and earthy smell. It tasted malty, caramel, fruity, mineral, and earthy with a faint underlying vegetal or fresh grass taste. The tea left some mild drying at the back of the throat and was maltier and chocolatey when the liquor was cooled.

Infusion 2 (5 minutes): The taste was sweet, malt, spiced, like cloves, and like damp earth. There was also more astringency at the end of the sip.

The wet least were large leaves that were green or brown with a roasted earthy smell. I found regardless of how I brewed the tea, it was best to leave it to two infusions as the third was on the weak side in terms of flavour.

In comparison to some of the black teas I’ve had recently, this tea was more on the gentle side. This lighter black tea was a pleasant afternoon drink when I wasn’t looking for a strong brisk breakfast tea in the morning. Similar to the Nilgiri Mao Feng, this would be a nice tea for someone who is new to black teas and has only experienced over-brewed bitter black teas. This tea has good range of classic flavours that isn’t overpowering (3.5/5 rating).

  • Type: Black tea
  • Origin: India, Nilgiri
  • Caffeine: High caffeine
  • Ingredients: Pure black tea
  • Company: Atlas Tea Club

Final Thoughts

I have to say, I really enjoyed the focus of the subscription box in relation to the teas being ethnically source, orthodox, single-origin, and from different countries. It is no secret that I’m always on the quest to find new teas to try and explore new countries and this subscription box fit both!

Both teas that came in the India box were on the delicate side. That being said, I don’t think that is a mark against the subscription box, and most likely a choice by the company to pick something that would fit a large range of taste palates.

I did find the box lacking in information when it came to the producers and farmers since it is such a main focus of the brand. All I had to go by was one line on the tea pouch. Thankfully, Kelly has informed me that in the future boxes will have a separate card for information about the country which I think is important.

Since the teas are single-origin and small batches, sadly it also means there are limited quantities of the teas. Currently, Atlas Tea Club does not have an option to sell individual teas separately. They do let their subscribers know if they have more teas available for purchase when possible. That being said, the 2 teas box option does come with enough tea for 30+ cups and 15+ for 1 tea.

I personally like that the box only came with two teas. It let me focus my attention rather than tasting a handful of teas at once. Each pouch of tea came with enough tea that I felt I could really taste the tea and play around with steeping times. There have been times in the past where I purchased a few grams of tea to only accidentally brew a tea wrong or spill it and be left with no tea.

Lastly, I personally think the packaging is really nice, so much so that it inspired me to do a photoshoot that was inspired by Lu Ann from The Cup of Life! She takes such lovely photos!

Overall, I would recommend this subscription box to anyone who likes to try new teas, can get overwhelmed when there are too many choices or is looking specifically for orthodox, single-origin, small batch, sustainable, or ethnically sourced teas. I would definitely be interested in trying more Atlas Tea Club boxes in the future (4/5 rating)!

The question of the post: What country would you like to see next?

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