Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Tao of Tea
This tea is found on the Fair Trade Certified page on the Tao of Tea website.
Introduction: The region of Assam is the largest tea producing region in the world and home to some of the best black teas from India. It lies 120 miles East of Darjeeling (a high elevation tea growing area), and borders with China, Burma, and Bangladesh. The distinct tea varietal growing in Assam is the Camellia Assamica, a relatively larger leaf tea plant.
Flavor Profile: Rich, malty brew with a slight caramel sweetness.
Assam teas are among the most temperamental teas out there, and because of that, they are sometimes avoided by tea drinkers. And that’s just sad! What an amazing flavor these tea lovers are missing!
Assam teas generally do require a bit of “babysitting” while brewing. It is important not to over-steep the leaves. Even just a few seconds of extra brew time can mean the difference between a delicious cup of tea and a disastrously bitter cup of tea. I’ve also found that pulling the kettle just a moment before it reaches the full boiling point helps (for those of you who are lucky enough to have a variable temperature tea kettle: set the desired temperature to 205° F)
Diligence does pays off, and this is so true when it comes to Assam. The flavor of a properly prepared Assam is so rewarding!
This Malty Assam from The Tao of Tea is nothing short of spectacular. Generally it is the malty quality of an Assam that is most desired when it comes to Assam, and this Assam is the maltiest that I’ve yet to taste. This is so rich and almost decadent!
This is certainly not your typical Assam, though. While it is malty, there is an amazing set of flavors to this tea that set it apart from the other Assam teas out there. The tea starts out bold, but it is a smoother boldness than I’m used to with an Assam. This is a little less rugged. It has an undertone of sweetness that is similar to caramel.
And here is where it gets really interesting: towards the middle of the sip there is a hint of bitterness to it. It is ever so faint, and if you aren’t paying particular attention, you might miss it! It isn’t that “I oversteeped the tea” kind of bitterness I was mentioning earlier. This is more of a “let’s keep it interesting” savory note that cuts through the somewhat heavier tones of the tea. And it does keep it interesting, indeed!
But even more intriguing than that is this “salty” note that I get just as the bitterness makes its quick appearance. It is a flavor profile that I don’t ever remember tasting in a tea that I’ve not salted myself. It isn’t a disturbing or distasteful flavor – in fact, I rather like it. It is just very unexpected.
This is an Assam that I would recommend to all tea drinkers, if for no other reason than to experience these tantalizing nuances. This is an exceptional Assam!