Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Persimmon Tree
This smooth, malty infusion is the perfect alternative to coffee. Assam Gold can be steeped multiple times while retaining its flavor. Golden in color, this import from Northern India is a thick, comfortable black tea brew that warms and energizes after a tough, bitter, cold day.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I think of “Gold” in relation to “Assam”, I’m usually thinking of “Golden Lion” varieties where the leaves really are golden-brown in colour, frequently accompanied by what I think of as “lots of golden dust”, a little like the grey/white dust that white tea sometimes exudes. This Assam clearly isn’t one of those – the leaves here are mostly a black/brown colour, with the odd golden-tipped leaf. They’re mostly fairly small – around 1/4cm in length, although some are as long as 1cm. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
To taste, this one is deliciously malty. It’s sweet and almost thick-tasting, in the way of molasses. It’s also deliciously smooth and creamy, with a very mild bready note at the end of the sip. It’s slightly tannic, although not nearly as much as Assam can be. It’s a cup I’d happily drink on a morning, as it’s strong and full-bodied enough to be a good “wake-up!” tea, yet still fairly gentle.
I enjoyed this cup – it’s a classic Assam. I didn’t find it especially unique, but sometimes that’s not what’s required. It’s a good, solid example of my favourite tea variety, and would make a great introduction for the uninitiated. Lovely stuff.
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.