Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Grey’s Teas
Having a big, tippy, curly leaf, this is a most unusual and aromatic oolong from India’s northern Assam region. It is produced using the semi fermented oolong process and is smoked with an oak-like wood, unlike the pinewood used for lapsang souchong. Its aroma is unique. Brew for three minutes and drink without milk. Once tried, forever besotted!
Learn more about this tea here.
I could smell the smoke in this Assam Smoked Oolong Tea from Grey’s Teas the moment I opened the pouch. But what I liked is that the smoke … didn’t overwhelm me. I didn’t get that “off-putting” sort of feeling when I smelled the tea … and that often happens when I encounter a really strongly smoked tea. I like that I can definitely tell that this is smoked, but it’s not an assault on my olfactory nerves.
And this is a really interesting cup of tea! I brewed this tea the way I usually brew an Oolong – in my gaiwan, using short steeps – and my first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2 (following a quick 15 second rinse).
The sip starts out with an immediate introduction to the smoky notes. But I can also taste the fruity qualities of this dark Oolong, and together with the smoky notes, it almost tastes as though a plum and a peach were smoked in a pit. It’s a very unique flavor.
And I can also taste floral notes … and with the smoky tones, it almost tastes as though flowers were smoked with those stone fruits. This tastes unlike any other tea I’ve ever tasted. The smoky tones are extraordinary in themselves, because this doesn’t taste like the typical “smoked” tea … the flavor is deeper, richer … more like the fire from a hearth rather than a campfire.
The second cup (infusions #3 and 4) brought a more unified taste. There is less distinction between the different flavors. I taste a little bit of sweet and savory. The smoky notes are prominent. The fruit tones are sweet and sour and the smoky tones are savory and even hint at some bitter notes, with hints of sweet, exotic flower in the distance. This cup is very smooth and has very little astringency to it. It has a very pleasant, soft mouthfeel.
As I brewed the third cup, I sort of expected some of the smoky tones to wane, but the smoke remains! It softens somewhat … but it really surprised me just how long the flavor stays with this tea.
If you’re one of those who love a good, smoky tea – you really should try this Assam Smoked Oolong from Grey’s Teas! I’m not a huge smoky tea fan … but I really enjoyed this, and it surprised me at how long the smoky tones lasted. It’s a really enjoyable and very flavorful tea!