Kilmelfort Paradise Green Tea From Panchura Estates in Tamil Nadu, India

After a very productive and busy couple of months at work, I finally have a few moments today to review an interesting pan-fired green tea that I recently received from Panchura Estates, located in Coonoor, western Tamil Nadu, southern India. See the map below to get an idea of where this beautiful estate is located.

This beautiful, high altitude estate, also known as Kilmelfort, is owned and operated by the Mehta family. The estate consists of 22 hectares (55 acres) of land, and sits at an average altitude of 1,950 meters (6,400 feet) above sea level. Since 2012, the estate has used 100% natural cultivation methods, blending modern organic techniques with traditional Indian techniques, on a combination of Assamica seedling bushes and the CR-6017 cultivar bushes.

Kilmelfort – Panchura Estates – Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India

Kilmelfort produces orthodox styles of green tea, oolong tea, and silver tips white tea. I received three samples of three different grades of the same style of specialty green tea. After trying each of the grades, the aromas, tastes, and other characteristics of the tea liquid were quite similar. The differences between the grades were more noticeable in the appearance of the dry leaves. This review will focus on the highest grade sample that I received, grade 2, as it is the most interesting to observe in all stages.

Although I was not able to find a website to purchase these products, I was able to locate the estate’s page on LinkedIn, and found their website,, showing all of their products, which range from specialty teas to aloe skin care products.

Let’s get to the review…

Kilmelfort Paradise Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from pale light green to pale gray. The blend consists of large leaf fragments, perhaps some unbroken leaves, a few bare stems, with no buds clearly visible. The leaves are lightly hand twisted, creating a long, curled, yet fluffy appearance. Based on the appearance and aroma of the dry leaves, I am guessing that a cast iron pan is used to fire these leaves. I expect the leaves to show some minor oxidation, as is common with green teas produced in this fashion from south India and Sri Lanka. The aroma is unique, with earthy scents of minerals and iron, dry leather, and touches of dark chocolate, dried figs and barnyard.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 mL) cast iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 2:00 minutes. Subsequent infusions had an additional 30 seconds of time added.

Kilmelfort Paradise Green Tea – Liquid

The tea liquid has a golden yellow color, with a slight green tint. The aroma has scents of wet stones, mineral, fresh forest floor, and a touch of lemon or citrus. The body is  on the light side of medium, with a clean, silky texture, and a refreshing, revitalizing energy. There is no bitterness, and a light, lemon-like acidity. The taste carries the notes of wet stones, mineral, iron, fresh forest floor, and a touch of lemon. The liquid leaves a metallic taste on the tongue. This is not a negative, as the metallic character has a surprisingly natural, cleansing quality to it. The aftertaste continues the wet stone, mineral character.

Kilmelfort Paradise Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from pale fresh green to fresh forest green. The stems are brown. The blend consists of all large leaf fragments. I did not find any totally unbroken leaves or buds in the mix. The leaves have the hearty texture and thicker midrib of Assamica bush leaves. Some minor oxidation occurred in many of the leaves, as expected, and there are minor signs of slight overfiring on a few of the leaves. The infused leaves carry the fresh, earthy scents of mineral, forest floor, and wet stones, and the touch of dark chocolate is coming through again.

The Kilmelfort Paradise Green Tea is like no green tea that I have had in recent memory. The dominant earthy and mineral characters give a refreshing, cleansing quality to the liquid. The dry leaves are a pleasure to observe. There is clearly a great deal of care put into manufacturing this product, and this is not even the best grade to come from Kilmelfort!

Quick side note, the other grades that I received, grades 3 and 4, had slightly smaller leaf fragments in their blends, and a little less consistency in the fragment size than the grade 2 being reviewed here. With the slightly smaller fragments, the strength of the liquids were slightly stronger, but maintained the same general aromas and tastes.

Thank you to the management at Kilmelfort and Panchura Estates for providing these samples of green tea. Keep up the good work!



FOP Supreme Grade Black Tea from Craigmore Plantations

After doing some research on well known and respected tea estates and factories in the Nilgiri area of south India (Tamil Nadu), I came across the Craigmore Plantations. I have been wanting to enhance my familiarity with the teas from Nilgiri, and the high quality orthodox teas from Craigmore Plantations will certainly help me put together a more vivid picture of what to expect from this region.

The Craigmore Plantations were originally established in 1884 under the name Ceylon Land and Produce Company. It was not until 1977 that the business was renamed the Craigmore Plantations (India) Private Limited. The plantations consist of 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) of land. Only high grown orthodox black teas and pan-fired green teas are produced at Craigmore by it’s 1,400 workers. The plantations and factory are located at an elevation of about 1,675 meters (5,500 feet). The Craigmore Plantation Factory produces the high-grown orthodox black teas, while the Pascoe Woodlands Factory produces the high-grown pan-fired green teas.

Craigmore Plantations carries the following certifications: Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Ethical Tea Partnership, and Global GAP. All teas meet or exceed the European Union requirements for pesticide residue limits.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet yet earthy aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Dry Leaves
Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform faded black color, with the small stems having a copper color. There are a few stems in the mix. The leaves are mostly medium sized fragments, and are neatly rolled. There are maybe two or three very small golden tips, but they appear to be tip fragments. The leaves break cleanly, with very little crumbling. The aroma has scents of raw cacao, earth, leather, and valley flowers. The aroma was definitely intriguing, and I will be interested to reopen the sample pack to see if I pick up the same scents.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were steeped for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect two quality infusions from the same serving of leaves, with the second infusion being notably lighter than the first.

Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Infusion
Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden orange color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of caramel, light wood, dandelion, and black pepper. The body is medium-full, with a lively texture, and immediately sends a surge of energy through the body. The taste has notes of caramel, daisy, light rose, light wood, and light lemon. There is a nice and moderate astringency. The aftertaste is sweet and slightly lemony.

Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Infused Leaves
Craigmore FOP Supreme Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are mostly a copper brown color, but some lean to the greenish-brown side of the color wheel. The leaves are mostly medium sized fragments, but there are some larger fragments as well, and some stems. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The aroma of the leaves is quite sweet, with scents of caramel, a sweet spice (clove?), light wood, light daisy, and light citrus.

This FOP Supreme Black Tea is a nicely balanced black tea, providing a sweet, floral, and woodsy aroma and taste, which compliments the moderate astringency very well. There is no need to add lemon to this tea, as it has a natural lemony character at the back of the tongue and persists through the aftertaste. Although milk is not necessary with the 3:00 minute infusion time, adding another minute will produce a strong enough tea that a splash of milk will compliment quite nicely. This tea gave a boost of energy and awareness literally from the first sip, and makes for a great morning to early afternoon tea. The second infusion is lighter overall, but is quite refreshing. If you like Ceylon tea, give the teas of Craigmore Plantations a try. They are different, yet provide the same lively mouth feel. This would also make a great cold brew, or would be very refreshing iced.

I still have some unopened samples from Poabs Organic Estate located in Kerala, which is the neighboring area to the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. I definitely plan to do a side by side comparison of the FBOP grades from Poabs and Craigmore. It is always interesting to compare the same grade of tea from two neighboring areas of production.

Thank you to the management of Craigmore Plantations for generously providing this sample, as well as others from the high grown orthodox black tea and high grown pan fired green tea categories. The review of the Young Hyson pan-fired green tea will be published in the near future. Cheers!