Perfect, Cold-Weather Cup: Boisahabi Estate Assam from Capital Tea Ltd

Assam teas are known for their fuller, malty feel and flavor, distinctly different than the tart zing of Ceylon black teas.  This Assam from the Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd., is a high grade tea (STGFOP (SPL) ) with a mix of black tea leaves and the highly-prized golden tips that bring the complex and delicious flavor.

In the dry leaf, this tea smells comforting and slightly spicy, like cinnamon sticks and fresh wood.  Brewed, the tea becomes surprisingly fruity, with lush muscatel flavors like pear and plum.  Beneath this fruitiness, the black tea is smooth and full, with toffee tones.  Overall, the tea feels very pleasant to drink, with a texture that fills my mouth with a warm, fuzzy feeling, without being too cloying or too sharp.

In the winter season, I seem to be drawn to all the crazy dessert-flavored teas like pumpkin pie or gingerbread cake, but while those teas are fun, their flavors are certainly enhanced by artificial flavors or added sugars and sprinkles.  There’s a time and place for those tasty flavored teas, but this Assam from Boisahabi Estate really took me by surprise and felt more flavorful and festive than those other blends.

This tea has a beautiful balance of both bold and delicate flavors, with the lighter, garden-like flavors of stone fruit, and the rich caramel and black tea undertones.  Even without sugar or milk, there is a smooth and comforting natural sweetness to this brew, which speaks to the quantity and quality of the golden tips and the tea leaves as a whole.

When you want a mature cup of tea with comforting yet complex flavors, brew a cup of Assam black tea from Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd. and stay cozy in the chilly weather.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Capital Tea Ltd
Description:

Sweetly aromatic attractive deep brown Assam leaves with plenty of golden tips. These leaves infuse to a rich, full bodied, and intensely flavourful tea liquor with prominent notes of candy-malt and toffee. Highly recommended as a breakfast tea to drink with milk

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas

smokyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Majesteas

Tea Description:

Our own special blend of fine black tea will delight the single-malt whiskey lover. This tea combines peaty smokiness with a hint of citrus.

Region: China, India, Sri Lanka

Leaf: Black, full leaf mixed with cut pieces

Water Temperature: 212F

Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

Preparation: Makes a good afternoon or morning tea, can be milked and sugared

Flavor Profile: Medium strength, smoky, peaty and smooth

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a heavy-duty tea for sure!  If you are a fan of Lapsang Souchong this tea will most likely intrigue you!  What makes this tea different from your average every day Lapsang Souchong is that this Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a blend of their fine black teas with a hint of citrus.  It is VERY smoky and quite ‘peaty’ as well.  Majestea says this tea will delight ‘the single-malt whiskey love’ and that it is ‘perfect after a meal.’

It’s nothing short of a ‘slap you in the face’ morning wake-up tea but if you are afraid of smoky teas you have been warned.

The citrus notes are moreso in the front of the sip and the malt finishes everything off.  Personally I enjoy this tea after the appropriate brew/infusion times and at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.  It seems to bring more of the citrus notes out.

This is an oldie-but-a-goody from my stash that I am not sadly out of.  Perhaps this is a smokey tea that you will enjoy!  If you do be sure to let us know in comments!

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming Mushroom White from What-Cha

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming MushroomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White/Bloom

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

A hand tied ball of silver tip white tea, possessing delicate fruity tones which become stronger with subsequent infusions. Tangy apricot notes become apparent with some subtle malt tones in latter steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to admit, the only reason I bought this tea was because it has ‘mushroom’ in the title and it intrigued me since I’m very allergic to mushrooms. Though the tea itself has little to nothing to do with mushrooms, it still felt kind of cool to get to say I was ‘having them’. #TeaOnTheEdge #ButNot2Edgy

I only bought a sample amount; two blooms. When I opened up the package I was pretty taken aback because the smell was very pungent and defined. It certainly smelled strongly of apricots but also something sort of akin to sweet and sour sauce? I wasn’t expecting that level of smell at all, though it was intriguing to say the least.

I made three 12 oz. infusions of this one over the course of a work day, making sure to take note of the differences. I certainly freaked out a few coworkers at my new job; they saw this unfurled tea bloom from a distance/in passing in my mug in the breakroom and assumed something fungal was growing in my mug and that’s because the bloom certainly wasn’t the most attractive one I’ve come across – there’s no “flower” tied into it just an arrangement of white tea leaves tethered together. Which is fine: I wasn’t drinking this tea for the aesthetics however I’ll admit I did expect the “mushroom” to tie in with the overall shape of the bloom but it certainly didn’t look like any mushroom I’ve seen.

The first infusion was a mix of sharp, lively, tangy notes of apricot and peach. Again, the intensity of the ‘tang’ reminded me a little of sweet and sour sauce. Actually, in particular I couldn’t help but think of a very particular flavour from highschool cooking class I’ve only experienced once: we made vegetarian meatballs with a “sweet and sour sauce” that used apricot jam and ketchup in the sauce and this was quite similar to my memory of that sauce. There was also a very slightly malty taste to the finish of this infusion.

The second infusion was about 50/50 malt and apricot/peach with less of the piercing tang. It was probably the smoothest infusion overall and I’d say my favourite. Finally, the third infusion was more malt than anything else with light notes of apricot and a bit of a peppery finish. I swear there were also very light cocoa notes on the top of the sip as well.

Overall, I thought this was surprisingly delightful – more so than I actually expected it would be if I’m being completely honest/transparent. What started off as a bit of a ‘gag’ purchase actually resulted in a wonderful tea session and intriguing learning experience. Also, credit where credit is due: What-Cha has done a marvelous job describing the overall flavour of this tea on their page for it. While I was taken back by the intensity of the apricot notes there’s no doubt in my mind that their flavour description was super accurate. I absolutely recommend trying this tea!

Halpewatte Ceylon Black Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

Halpewatte Ceylon Black TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: MK’s Tea Co.

Tea Description:

The basis of Earl Grey tea! Ceylon tea is a sweet, brightly orange colored (once-brewed) black tea harvested in the lush hills of the island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). This is a fantastic introductory tea, a great tea for the black tea lover, and an extraordinary tea for blending purposes. Ceylon tea is just brisk enough to be uplifting, but light enough to not be bitter or off-putting. It truly is a remarkable black tea that belongs in every tea-lover’s collection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I started the day with this tea, hoping that it would be clean and refreshing. Thankfully I was right, and it made a great choice in lieu of breakfast. The dry leaf is straight and pretty long (I’d say an average of 2cm), and a fairly uniform black-brown with just a few lighter brown leaves. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a vibrant red-brown, and the leaf itself has also taken on an impressive red-brown hue. It’s very autumnal looking! The scent is sweet and a little chocolatey, which wasn’t something I was expecting from a Ceylon.

To taste, this is pretty much a classic Ceylon in many respects. It’s very fresh and clean tasting, with a bright edge of citrus running throughout. It comes across as a “light” tasting tea, to me. There are no thick or heavy flavours that are cloying on the palate, just the delicate, refreshing sweet/citrus play off. There is a touch of maltiness towards the end of the sip, but it doesn’t dominate the flavour or drown out the fresher notes. I can also detect just the tiniest bit of chocolate, which shifts the balance of the aftertaste away from citrus and more towards the generically sweet. It’s almost like it’s a tea of two halves, but they’re two very good halves so I’m not going to complain.

This tea is delightfully smooth and creamy, with no bitterness or astringency at all. It’s a real joy to drink, and I’m finding it an especially good choice this morning with its bright, citrusy “wake up” profile and edge of comforting sweetness. Delicious!

Rington’s Kenyan Gold Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas

kenyanRingtonsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Rington’s Tea

Tea Description:

Unlike some traditional teas, Kenyan teas are produced in ways that make them perfect for teabags – fast infusing and full of flavour. Tea grown east of the Rift Valley is widely considered to be some of the best quality tea in the world, that’s why our Kenyan Gold blend is sourced exclusively from this region. We specially seal these teas on the estates to ensure they are as fresh and flavourful as possible, producing a fuller, smoother taste. It’s what Ringtons are good at.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Kenyan Gold Black is a bagged tea from Ringtons, a UK tea company. At first glance, it looks like a typical bagged black tea. It’s in a square paper bag, and is about half full with finely shredded leaf. The scent is typical “black tea”. I used one bag for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up to a fairly dark golden-brown, so I added a splash of milk.

I half expected this one to be either bready or chocolatey, given that it’s a Kenyan tea and described as “gold”. Possibly my previous experiences led me astray a little, though, as this one really isn’t either of those things. What it is is moderately malty, with the molasses-like sweetness that implies. It’s fairly one-note in that respect, though, except for a very mild smokiness kicking around in the background. It’s quite a strong, hearty brew with a lot of body, and is almost thick-tasting and chewable. Such texture! The flavour lingers nicely into the aftertaste, making this a very satisfying, flavourful cup. It doesn’t have much subtlety, but that’s a very small criticism.

I enjoyed this one. It’s a reliable, everyday kind of tea – not particularly unique, but strong and wonderfully malty. It’s a tea I’d definitely revisit.