Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea
This small and picturesque garden produces one of the world’s best teas. This tea was named after Hazel, the daughter of state official, Dr Mead. The richness, size and color of its tips make Hazelbank an all-time favorite.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I visited the website for Whittard of Chelsea, I noticed that this tea is currently sold out. Looks like I got a pouch of this just in time! And I’m SO glad that I did; this Assam Hazelbank is exquisite. (And I recommend keeping an eye out for the next harvest of this to become available, this one is worth that effort!)
There are many different Assam teas out there. Each one varies depending upon where it is grown: Whether or not it is a single estate or not, and if it is a single estate, the flavor of the Assam is affected depending upon which estate it comes from, and even how it is processed affects the flavor of the cup. And even though there are many different Assam teas, I tend to consider Assam teas as either bold and malty OR somewhat mellower and wine-y.
However, this Assam from the Hazelbank estate tends to take on all of these characteristics. It is bold and malty… although it is somewhat mellower than a strong, robust Assam … and it does also have the fruity, wine-like character of a mellower Assam. This tea has it all!
The first thing I really noticed about this tea is its sweetness. It is a fruity sweetness, but there is also a caramel-y sweetness that melds quite nicely with the malty tones. It has a solid, full-bodied flavor, but it isn’t an aggressive flavor. I didn’t notice any bitterness to this, but then, I didn’t come close to oversteeping it (I steeped it only 2 minutes), but even with other Assam teas I find that there are hints of bitterness in the background that tell me that oversteeping the tea would lead to more. This doesn’t have that. That’s not to say that if it were oversteeped it would not become bitter, I’m just saying that this cup is remarkably smooth and free of anything resembling bitterness.
This is pleasantly complex, and has one of the most well-rounded flavors that I’ve yet to taste with an Assam. I like it a lot.