A Tea-rrific Experience

It was the perfect place to sip an afternoon tea.

At an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level, Masood and I visited one of the tea plantations in Coonoor, a small town 19 km from Ooty.

Going up to the tea plantations was an adventure in itself.  In an attempt not to destroy more trees than was necessary on the mountains, the authorities have paved very narrow roads that lead up to the plantations, just enough for the mini bus to pass through comfortably.  Except that these roads are used for two-way traffic!

It was crazy!  On several occasions, our driver had to park the bus on the extreme left of the road to give way to the on-coming traffic.  Sometimes, we were so close to the edge that the tree branches would brush against our faces through the vehicle’s open window.  I’ve recorded this short video to give you an idea on how it was traveling up there.  Pardon the poor quality;  I used my Kodak point-and-shoot camera to record it.

There is a fee to enter the tea plantation.  I do not remember how much because I was busy taking pictures through the window when Masood was paying.  This particular plantation we went to is owned by an Indian actress named Mumtaz.  A man climbed into the bus and gave us a brief introduction on tea plantation and production.  He brought with him a newly-plucked tea leaf to show us.

If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice that tea leaves are bunched together in 3’s:  two outer leaves and a delicate bud in the middle.  We were told the the outer leaves make the regular black tea that we drink, while the middle bud is what makes a green tea.

Then we drove some more into the plantation and hopped off the bus to take pictures.  Masood posed between the tea leaves and I took his pictures, then I handed over the camera to him before I ran to pose myself.  We repeated that several times until we were both satisfied that the pictures clearly showed where we were.

The people who were in the bus with us hired a professional to take their pictures.  The photographer had all the essential things required to make their pictures a memorable one:  a handmade basket, a small umbrella, a colorful headscarf – to give his smiling subjects a local touch while they pose as if harvesting tea leaves.  He uses a Nikon, by the way.

We also shopped for some tea at the small store located at the plantation itself.  For five rupees, I had the most deliciously-brewed milk tea of my life.  Plus, we got to sample chocolate tea, herbal tea and mint tea.

I would highly recommend the green tea.  The other packet that we bought was ginger tea, but we couldn’t taste the ginger in the tea.

25 comments

  1. I love tea! Heehee the video of driving was very scary! The bus went from left to right and was basically driving in trees at one point! 🙂 you had some interesting experiences in Ooty!

    1. LavendarClouds, the drive was truly scary (but fun at the same time too!). The drive up was so long and steep that at one point, it felt like we were driving straight into the clouds! It was such a beautiful experience.

  2. Wow you guys sure had quite an experience during this trip! I think ur posts would serve as far better travel guide than any of those fake sites giving a bollywood/tollywood impression of India 😀
    here’s my shortcut to a great tasting ginger tea, add ginger powder to ur normal tea! if the powder has a strong ginger smell and taste the tea turns out great!
    oh yah btw i bought cinnamon-apple flavoured tea the other day! sounds good but have yet to try it! Nah, i didnt buy it from any plantation, it’s good old lipton lolz

    1. But Nisa, am I not also giving a Bollywood impression? Well, wait till I publish my next post 😉

      Thanks for the ginger tea recipe. I’ll try that, inshaAllah. Lekin, please try your cinnamon-apple flavoured tea jaldi se and let me know how it turns out!

  3. Hi Nadia,
    I can see you have are going places….:-) Loved all ur posts. You dragging Masood to the zoo was a nice one….:-)
    Did you see any rain? I have heard that the rains are a great experience on these hill stations. Awaiting more pictures….:-)

    1. Hi, Janit! When I first hinted to Masood that I wanted to see the zoo in Chennai, he just laughed if off. He was like, “Are you serious?!” But once we were there, I noticed that he was enjoying himself. And to thank him, I took several portraits of him there which he absolutely loves.

      No, it didn’t rain while we were there, which I think is good considering how little time we had to see the place.

    1. ‘liya, the weather was pleasant during the day and cool at night, even during peak summer. In fact, people wear sweaters and jackets in the evenings!

    1. Divaa, yessss, hop on the tea expedition! BUT do not give up on the coffee; I won’t – not after seeing all those yummy coffee pictures on your blog 🙂

  4. As an avid tea drinker, I’m falling in love with that place…or rather I feel love brewing 😉 the account is just brimming over with fun, hehe…

    P.S. Love the single tea leaf shot! <3

    1. Mrs Specs, I’m loving these two words: brewing and brimming 😀 And now, excuse me while I make myself a cup of green tea.

      PS: No tea for you. Itney din baad mere blog ka khayaal aaya hai.

  5. Hmmm Insha Allah I plan to visit this place …. but when I do go I’ll have take all the tea loving members of my Family for a Tea Treat 😉

    I know about narrow road drive … there are narrow roads even on top of mountains and it’s more scary :s

    1. Yes! Bring your entire family for some tea (and at 5 rupees per cup, it won’t even cost you much). I’m sure everyone will love the fragrant tea of Nilgiris.

  6. My oh my! I am so tempted to visit Ooty now too! Such an enriching experience.. lol I am actually learning a lot from your blog my dear! 🙂 Can’t wait to read the continuation of your tree-house post!

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