Organic Nilgiri Black Tea

Straightforward flavor with delicate and brisk floral notes, smooth when iced

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Nilgiri Black Tea
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Organic Nilgiri Black Tea


This fine organic black tea is produced in the Nilgiris District of southern India. Sourced from the Fair Trade Certified, Korakundah Estate, this leaf is grown at an altitude of over 10,000 feet above sea level at the highest organic tea estate in India (if not the world)! This Nilgiri FBOP organic loose tea is composed of small open, slightly twisted broken leaves of uniform size and deep reddish brown color. As is typical of high-quality organic tea from India, the infusion offers a straightforward but delicate flavor, floral and brisk.

Tip: This tea is particularly suited to iced tea preparation as it resists clouding more than most.

Ever wonder what those initials "FBOP" stand for? Check out our information on tea grading to find out!

Ingredients: organic and Fair Trade Certified Indian black tea

Origin: Korakundah Estate, Nilgiri, India


The Nilgiris District lies in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiri mountain range (blue mountains) within the Western Ghats. It has a cooler temperature than surrounding areas due to the elevation, making it idea for growing tea. Tea has been grown and cultivated in and around this area since the 1800s, and now the relatively small area (35 x 20 miles) has tea plants tucked into almost every slope and valley. Because of its altitude and distinct wet and dry seasons, the tea of Nilgiri differs greatly from others grown in well-known locations like Assam or Darjeeling.

The Korakundah Estate is the highest estate in the region located at 10,000 feet above sea level. To support its organic farming, it has developed a particularly robust vermiculture system, raises its own algae for fertilizer, and has an on-site cow farm for manure production. Fair Trade certified in 1994, the United Nilgiri Tea Estates Co.Ltd includes Korakundah as a member organization. They have used their premiums to develop a pension program, provide cooking gas for all workers, and purchase a school bus, among many other initiatives.

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend black teas to be steeped for 3 to 5 minutes in water heated to a full, rolling boil. For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible, and avoid overboiling. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Peggy

    "This is a lunch time favorite for me, I always keep a pitcher of it iced in the fridge!"

  • Jeremy

    "I love Nilgiris for iced tea - straightforward and doesn't cloud as much as others."

  • Aubrey

    "Back to our roots! This Nilgiri tea is grown on the beautiful Korakundah Estate, which was our very first source (and one of our most preferred!) for Nilgiri tea. "

Health Benefits


Like all true tea, black tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels. Black tea specifically has been found to regulate blood sugar in diabetics better than other types of tea, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information about the health benefits of black tea and other types of tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Iced Tea


According to the USDA, Americans consume more than 2.2 billion gallons of tea per year, about 80 percent (around 1.75 billion gallons) of which is iced. That's an average of nearly 6.5 gallons of iced tea per person! Iced "sweet tea" has been consumed in the south for 100 years or more, but with the rise of fast food restaurants (nearly all of which sell iced tea), America has watched its tea consumption double in the past 30 years.

Iced tea was most likely introduced to America during the 1904 St. Louis World Fair by tea merchant Richard Blechynden. The fair was held on a sweltering day in the summer, and Blechynden was having a difficult time promoting hot Indian black tea to the attendees. So, the enterprising merchant and his staff developed an apparatus in which brewed Indian tea would flow through iced lead pipes, creating a chilled beverage and a successful day for Blechynden!

For even more information about this and other traditions, visit our Tea Traditions Page!

Customer Reviews

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  • 5
    Excellent Cold Brew

    Posted by Jean Whitney on 12th Jul 2023

    Just add some lemons to the ice cubes and this is delicious as an unsweetened iced tea.

  • 5
    delicious cold brew

    Posted by Skye on 16th May 2023

    I was so excited for the weather to get warm enough for me to finally try making this as a cold brew iced tea and it was worth the wait! The most delicious iced tea I've ever had. I made some for my friend who normally adds lots of sugar and she said it was so delicious she didn't need sweetener.

  • 5
    Nilgiri Black Tea Cold Brew?

    Posted by Ashley Gonzalez Policy on 14th May 2023

    The Lord told me to buy this one and it was AH-MAZING!!! I used it as a cold brew and used it with coconut milk and with a fancy creamer that has ketones in it and it was amazing either way!! I’m super thankful for this tea and finding an organic one ? so grateful for great products! I actually found this company but the Lord telling me to look up organic Thai tea and my first experience with y’all was a sample of those? then He had me order this! So in love! Will be ordering this again❤️

  • 5
    Amazing as cold brew

    Posted by Justin Seal on 26th May 2022

    This is one of my favorite iced black teas, and I cold brew a jug of it everyday to take with me to work. It's "brisk", mellow, and a very good iced tea to have around a shop that regularly reaches 100+ degree F. Its even been a hit on the shop floor, with several coworkers interested in cold brewing the stuff.

  • 1
    Nilgiri black tea

    Posted by Dareth on 14th May 2022

    Terrible. Flavorless, bitter. The water doesn't even turn a rich color. Very weak leaves. Extremely unhappy with quality

  • 4
    Well above average

    Posted by RM on 1st Jun 2018

    Some have said straight forward or classic black tea. I am far from an expert, but I have tried many black teas and this one is very nice. This tastes nothing like “Lipton” and I highly recommend it. Light, smooth and great hot or iced. In my mind this is a great bang for the buck.

  • 3
    Prototypical black tea

    Posted by McKinley L. on 7th Feb 2017

    This is the first Nilgiri tea that I've tried. As an frequent drinker of green and oolong teas, this tea typifies what comes to mind when I think of black tea. Malty, rich, and robust without being too bitter. It is, as others have noted, very much like a more flavorful version of a standard, mainstream tea like or breakfast blend. And I bet it would be great with milk, cream, or sugar, if that's your bag. I found that short, hot steeps worked best for me. 35 - 45 seconds at 205 degrees for the first cup, and then 60 - 90 seconds for the second.

  • 5
    Smooth and non-bitter

    Posted by Derek on 7th Jan 2017

    As someone else described, the title sums it up. I could drink a lot of this tea; good thirst quencher.

  • 5
    I get the lipton thing

    Posted by Nancy on 30th Nov 2016

    I just want to say that I first bought this tea to try it for iced since it was touted as being good for that. BUT I tried it hot with milk the way I like my tea and I was blasted back to childhood where Lipton or Red Rose was a staple in our house. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!!! I love the taste of this tea - really really love it, and, while it totally reminds me of lipton, it's not bitter at all. It's all the good memories without the woody bitterness. This has become my second favorite tea - first will always be Irish Breakfast :)

  • 5
    Great everyday tea

    Posted by Melissa O. on 10th Jun 2016

    I was reading the reviews and had to add one, too! I love this tea. My husband and I drink copious amounts of, iced and in Kombucha. And yeah, it's pretty much all this Nilgiri. This tea is to be enjoyed straight up in a 16 oz mug each morning, followed by second mug, at least. It's smooth, drinkable, and delicious. I don't know fancy tea descriptor words, I just love this tea, and it is SO not Liptony!

  • 4
    Smooth and Sensual

    Posted by Kara on 30th Apr 2016

    This tea is bold and robust yet quiet and smooth; I'm not sure how to describe it other than there's a richness to it that's quite lovely. Good for a pick-me-up in he afternoon. It seems like it will go well with lemon in an iced tea.

  • 5
    Overzealous Tea Snobs?

    Posted by Bryan R on 29th Oct 2015

    I love this tea far too much to let it get buried with mediocrity! I'm sorry but to those who say this tea is the lipton of fine black teas has obviously forgotten what lipton tastes like. Simply because it's a heck of a deal, is no reason to fool yourself into thinking this tea is anything less than Gold! The criticism is what makes this tea great. It doesn't taste like one is eating a plate of flower petals. It doesn't taste like someone has their face directly next to a pile of burning wood (thought it does have a mild smokey/sweet essence). This tastes like an extremely smooth, non bitter black tea that holds its own against other options in a much higher price range. Smooth is an adjective worthy of describing this excellent tea. Give this stuff a try

  • 3
    Gourmet Lipton?

    Posted by Benjamin Hartwick on 28th Mar 2015

    If Lipton were this good, I would probably have drunk a lot more of it in my life and would likely even order it on airplanes and roadside dinners on occasion and would be glad it was there and enjoy it, but as I’m guessing most of us who are patrons of Arbor Tea would agree, that sort of tea is something that one consumes as a “placeholder,” a caffeine-containing liquid that you accept when there is nothing else available. If only the airlines, hospitals, et al., were to serve Nilgiri, I think real tea drinkers like us would all be a little happier in the world. If I did not need variety, I would probably just get intoxicated on Darjeeling every day, switching it up between the 1st and 2nd flush, but I can’t be on a magic carpet ride every moment of every day, and that’s where a tea like this comes in. If Darjeeling is a magic carpet ride, then this is a silent golf cart ride – plaid pants, muted shades of beige and definitely no paisley (or purple – incense or exotic mantras to accompany it). Of all the teas in the Arbor Tea catalog I’ve tried, this one is clearly at the other end of the spectrum from the magical 1st and 2nd flush Darjeeling teas. There is nothing about this Nilgiri tea that I would describe as magical. It is a very one-note tea. Really, that’s about it. It’s just tea – without a twist. Having said that, it is in fact a good tea, and I do actually like it and drink it on occasion. It’s straight forward and uncomplicated. The flavor profile is narrow, without depth or complexity, yet the flavor that it does have is pleasant and relaxing. For me it has come to function as a very late afternoon or early evening tea when I want minimal caffeine and, for whatever reason, I can do without the distraction of a strong, complex or even subtle (Zen-like) flavor. DESERTED ISLAND TEST If I were banished to a deserted island and could only bring one tea, would this be it? No. I’d be packing up all the Darjeeling I could carry.

  • 4
    Very mild but good.

    Posted by Sam K on 12th Dec 2013

    This tea is very mild and has an even, smooth flavor. I agree with the other reviewer that suggested this tea works better as a way to relax in the afternoon than a morning pick-me-up.

  • 3

    Posted by Abby on 14th Nov 2013

    This is a light, delicate tea; I didn't notice any 'brisk'ness to it. If you want a light, mellow tea - you'll probably enjoy this one.

  • 4
    Worth redeeming

    Posted by Unknown on 3rd Sep 2013

    This tea is good for one thing....relaxing. Its mildly stimulating but its real quality is the way it makes you feel, "mellow". Im able to take a nap after drinking this stuff, or just go about my day in a relaxed fashion. As for the taste its just average. Nothing really stands out taste wise and thats why its missing a star. Still a quality organic/fair trade tea.

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