G) Ooty & Coonoor (ENG)

03/02/2018 – 04/02/2018

 

From Mysuru, we took a local bus for 4 hours until Ooty hill station. It is a small city in the hills, famous in India for its tea plantations.

Coonoor is pretty similar and is a bit further in the hills (20 km). It is easy to reach  it by organised tours (that is what we did) or by local bus.

We booked an organised tour « Hills Travel » for only 3,3€/pers. at the local Tourist info centre. At first, we were supposed to see every viewpoints, gardens and tea factory of Ooty and Coonoor, but each stop lasted longer than forecasted and we missed some of them. We also had to insist to see Coonoor tea factory, because our driver tried to persuade us that it was closed during the weekend, which was not true (it was only the cleaning week for all the machines :p). While the others went for lunch, our driver got us there and we had the chance to visit it :p

 

Here are the viewpoints we could see:

  • In Ooty :
    • Botanical garden
    • Lake
    • Thread garden (flowers made of silk)
  • In Coonoor :
    • Valley viewpoint and the « Sleeping beauty »
    • Lamb’s Rock
    • Dolphin’s Nose
    • Tea factory

 

Here are some pictures :

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A few pics from the Ooty Botanical garden (Supposedly one of the most beautiful in Asia :p)

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Ooty lake
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A few pictures from the Thread garden, with its flowers entirely made (handmade) of thread (hence the name)

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Coonoor valley viewpoints
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View from distance over the valley and the « Sleeping beauty » (in the left top corner)

 

 

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Lamb’s rock

 

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Dolphin’s nose and Catherine falls viewpoints

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Tea plantations

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Leaves are used to make either Green tea or Black tea  ; The buds (or immature tea leaves) in the centre are used to make White tea

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Indian ice Cream named Kulfi (made of milk, almonds, pistachios and cardammom)
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Egg fried noodles, chicken fried rice and masala chai
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Dried eucalyptus leaves
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The leaves are mixed with water (500kg of leaves for 200l of water) and heated to boiling temperature (around 100°C)
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Vapors condense in a pipe cooled down by water
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The condensate we get, mix of water and oil
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Oil (brown liquid) and water mixed are collected but they are easily separated since oil is less dense than water and floats. Filtered, you get essential oil ! Pretty easy isn’t it ?
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Highfield Tea factory in Coonoor
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Hand picked up, the leaves are set to be air dried by fans located under the tables
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Once dried, the leaves are pushed down on conveyor belts and 6 grades cutters
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After cutting, crushed leaves are conveyed through a rotating drum to curl them
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Curled leaves, or pellets, undergo a fermentation stage on conveyors for about an hour

 

After fermentation, pellets are roasted at 70°C for an hour, followed by a classic gravity separation based upond particle size. With this method we obtain a black tea called CTC tea (Cut – Torn – Curled).

In other sections of the factory , they steam the leaves instead of air drying and curling them in order to manufacture the famous Green tea, known for its healthy properties.

As I mentioned earlier, there is another type of tea, called White tea (excellent for the immune system), which is manufactured from immature tea leaves which are sun dried.

 

 

 

Next step : Kochi, the last of our destination before leaving India for Thailand !

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