Tulsi Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Product Description:

Ingredients: Organic CTC BOP Assam, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cloves & Organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) Leaf

Taster’s Review:

This is a very flavorful chai.  But then, I expected nothing less from Yogic Chai.  When it comes to flavor – Yogic Chai delivers!  Their chai is not too spicy, but not too mild either… it possesses just the right level of spiciness so that you know you’re drinking a chai blend without being smacked hard in the face with the spicy flavor.

Now I will admit that sometimes I like being smacked hard in the face with spice, but, when I want a delicious, evenly-spiced chai, Yogic Chai has never disappointed.

This Tulsi Masala Chai takes Yogic Chai’s award winning Original Masala Chai and adds a bit of dried Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil).  The addition of the Tulsi brings a hint of mint-like flavor that is especially noticeable in the aftertaste.  It is crisp and refreshing without overwhelming the balance of spices.

I like the subtle approach with the Tulsi here.  It’s almost enchanting.  Another delicious chai offering from Yogic Chai!

Black Matcha from Pure Matcha

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:   Black

Where to Buy:  Pure Matcha

Product Description:

During the Song Dynasty in 11th century China, tea was consumed in powder form. Centuries later this innovative way of drinking black tea has been reinvented with our natural 100% Black tea powder or Black Matcha. Consumed just like traditional Green tea Matcha our Black Matcha is made from the finest Darjeeling and Assam tea leaves of India, and has a robust rich flavor. Higher in natural caffeine than a traditional cup of black tea, rivaling that of a cup of coffee. Except with Black Matcha there is no jittery crash. When you drink Black Matcha you get almost ten times more anti-oxidants and vitamins than a regular cup of tea, where the leaves are thrown away after brewing. Black Matcha is great for a healthy morning wake up.

Taster’s Review:

Now, I know what some of you Matcha purists out there are thinking… Matcha made from black tea leaves?  But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

This is delicious.  It tastes like a very strongly brewed Assam/Darjeeling blend, heavy on the Assam.  It has a lot of GUSTO.  It has the maltiness that you would expect from a good quality Assam with a hint of muscatel in the background that is desirable from a Darjeeling.

There is a faint savory bitter note to this, but I’ve got to tell you that I really expected it to be very bitter in a not-savory-but-bad-bitter way.  This isn’t like that at all.  It does, however, have a fair amount of astringency to it.  It is robust with a well-rounded flavor.

It is very creamy and when that is combined with the biscuit-y quality of it and the malt – well, it becomes rather rich and decadent!  But, make no mistake, this is A STRONG TEA… so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or even if you aren’t, you should be careful not to drink this too late in the day.  However, if you are one who finds yourself dragging a bit in the morning (um… that would be ME), this is the Matcha for you!

There is also a whisper of spice in the background that I am finding rather intriguing, and a very nice undertone of sweetness that I enhanced a little sprinkling of raw Turbinado sugar. A really delicious – and DIFFERENT! – Matcha!

It prepares just like “regular” green Matcha:  First, I sifted the dry tea (which looks a bit like dry hot chocolate mix).  The water was slightly hotter than I would with a green Matcha.  The water wasn’t boiling, but, it was just under a boil, whereas with green Matcha, I bring it to just about 145 degrees F.  Add the water and whisk, and this froths up just like a green Matcha!

I think this would also be quite nice as a latte, in fact, I think I shall have my next cuppa with steamed milk instead of water to see how that works out!   I will update in the comments when I try it!  In the meantime, you should try this tea!

Darjeeling Tukdah TGFOP from Culinary Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Darjeeling

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Product Description:

Bright, lively and full of flavor. Has a lovely muscatel character with a hint of nuttiness, an excellent 1st flush Darjeeling.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very unusual Darjeeling.  It is almost like a combination of Darjeeling and Assam teas!  It has many of the characteristics I expect from a Darjeeling, but also some of the characteristics of a high quality Assam.  Interesting… very interesting, indeed!

I can immediately sense the muscatel – I can smell the wine-like notes as well as taste them.  But where this differs from a typical Darjeeling is that it isn’t as light-bodied.  This tea is a little more solid and strong.  Not quite as hefty as an Assam, but certainly not as sparkling as a Darjeeling.  This seems to fall somewhere in the middle, making for a delightful medium-bodied tea.

There is a delicious undertone of malt to this tea, as well as a lovely honey-caramel sweetness.  There is also a decidedly masculine note to this tea, almost “leathery” in presentation.  There is also a toothsome quality to it – which is quite different than most Darjeeling teas that I’ve encountered.  Like I said, this is really an unusual Darjeeling – unusual, but delicious.

This is a tea that I would recommend to the lovers of both Darjeeling and Assam.  It makes for a great morning tea for the Darjeeling fan, and a great late afternoon tea for the Assam enthusiast.  And for someone who just loves tea… you should really try this one!

A Nice Cup of Shut the Hell Up (Signature Blend) from Adagio Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Product Description:

Very biting tea smoothed over with a caramel smile. Great to wake up to, especially if you are dropping the coffee habit. Great for the early morning attitude enhancement with the added benefit of enabling you to think beofre you speak. Shut the hell up and give it a try.

Created by: Travis Pelt

Taster’s Review:

As some of you may know, I’m not particularly fond of Lapsang Souchong so I generally avoid them whenever possible.  I find the strong, smoky character of a typical Lapsang Souchong to be rather off-putting.

However, I am slowly developing an appreciation for strong, smoky teas such as Lapsang Souchong, but, suffice to say that while I am usually willing to try a tea with Lapsang Souchong in it, it is not something I probably would want to try.

But that all went out the window when I saw the name of this signature blend from Adagio Teas (created by Travis Pelt).  I knew I had to try it!

And I really am glad I did – this is actually really good.  The tea is very strong – ROBUST!  But what makes this tea especially good to me is the balance of tastes.  It is a smoky tea, but it isn’t too smoky.  It is, in fact, one of the most thoughtful blends I have encountered – and by that I mean that the underlying caramel-y notes of the Lapsang Souchong are highlighted with the addition of the caramel flavored black tea.  The sweet, creamy notes of the caramel are enhanced by the malty notes of the Assam.

The three types of tea create a very harmonized and yet hefty blend!  It is a little chewy and has a nice bake-y taste.  It makes a perfect morning tea, but I am actually enjoying it later in the afternoon at the moment – it is the perfect accompaniment to Dulce de Leche cookies from the Girl Scouts!  YUM!

Hattialli Golden Lion 1st Flush Assam from Lochan Tea Limited

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Lochan Tea Limited

Product Description:

This particular tea is not currently available on the Lochan Tea Limited website, so I was unable to get a product description.  Watch for the 2011 first flush!

Taster’s Review:

This is a delicious Assam.  Very flavorful!

The sip starts out with a sweetness that is caramel-y.  In fact, that was my first reaction to my first sip:  “Sweet!”  There are hints of fruit – plum?  These flavors make for an interesting introduction to this full-bodied, robust tea.

About mid-sip, a hint of savory bitterness comes along – just at the right time, to cut through the sweetness and make the taste even more interesting.  The sip ends with a strong astringency – almost a pucker-y astringency!  This is a hefty black tea with the strength to get you going in the morning.

The malty note to this Assam is also there – I would categorize it at a medium amount of malt.  Not as much malt as some Assam teas I’ve tried, but then, a little more than some others.  The malt together with the biscuit-y quality of this tea gives this a well-rounded taste.

This is my first sampling of a tea from Lochan Tea Limited, and I’ve quite enjoyed it.  The leaves are of good quality and the proof is in the flavor.  Even though this particular flush is no longer available from Lochan, I recommend watching their website for the 2011 flush … it will be well worth the effort.  This is a good Assam!

Starry Night from Art of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & White

Where to Buy:  Art of Tea

Product Description:

Pour the night sky into your cup. Organic Assam black tea combined with natural soothing vanilla bits along with star-shaped white tea.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tea that I’ve wanted to try for a long time.  What can I say, I’m a huge fan of Vincent Van Gogh, and Starry Night is my favorite painting of all time.  It has such beautiful emotion – the brushstrokes speak to me in a way no other painting ever has.

But you didn’t come here to read about my love of art (unless we’re talking about my love of Art of Tea!)

This is a fascinating tea.  The black tea is a stout Assam, which can pose some interesting complications when paired with a white tea.  I chose to steep it at a middle-ground temperature (180° F) and steep it for just 3 minutes.

Starry Night from Vincent Van Gogh

The result is delightful!  Although I don’t get much noticeable flavor from the white tea (that’s not to say I cannot taste it because it’s there, but it is something that I really need to focus on intently to detect it), the Assam tea is so deliciously flavorful that it would seem rather ungrateful to be complaining about the white tea not being prominent.

There is a rich malty tone to the Assam – and it has been flavored with vanilla and the vanilla lends a creaminess to the malty note that is rather irresistible!  This is an excellent, full-flavored Assam that has a toothsome quality to it and a hint of baked flavor in the background.

A smooth, bold tea that despite its name, is not a tea that I’d recommend sipping in the evening – unless drinking a strong, caffeinated tea in the later hours of the day would not keep you stirring at bedtime!  It would take the additions of milk and honey very well, although it is quite nice without them too.  I personally like my Assam tea with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar because it can be a little harsh without sweetener, but, with the vanilla here, it doesn’t really need it!  It definitely has an EDGE to it, but, it isn’t hard to handle.

I love this tea!

Ebony Wine Tea from White August Tea Company

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: White August Tea Company

Product Description:

Assam black tea garnished with black currant leaves and sweet berries. We recommend enhancing this tea with a lemon zest or cream for an outstanding smooth and lightly fruity morning beverage.

Tasters Review:

Ebony Wine Tea is another outstanding offering from White August Tea Company!

The aroma reminds me of a cross between ice(d) wine and Cabernet!  It’s a nicely flavored black tea.  The currant leaves and berries are perfectly in tune with my palate!  This is juicy and has a nice evenness to the sweet-berry verses the sour-berry.  I think it’s just lovely!

I have looking into more iced wine teas lately.  I must say my personal tea stash is a little low on iced wine teas at the moment so this was a perfect ‘stand-in” for it.

Strong Assam from Shanti Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Shanti Tea

Product Description:

Fair Trade Certified & Organic Black Tea

This lowland tea known for its rich aroma and strong, malty flavor is named after its origin, Assam, in North-East India. Our Strong Assam tea is cultivated at the famous Rembeng Estate, a 100% organic tea garden and the pioneering organic estate in the region, making their teas highly sought after. Dark and copper-colored, it is a full-bodied broken leaf black tea that is great for lovers of a strong morning cup of tea. The rich flavors are accentuated by adding milk and sugar.

Taster’s Review:

W0w!  When they say strong, they mean STRONG!  This is one seriously bold, in-your-face Assam!

This is a bold and robust tea, but, there is a lot more going on than just mere strength.  It has such a lovely complexity to it.  There are delicious undertones of sweetness that remind me of caramelized fruit.  This is a note that comes through on the aroma, and carries through to the sip:  when I first inhaled the fragrance, I could smell the distinctive caramel scent, and then upon tasting – DELICIOUS!

There are also hints of fruit and spice, as well as a very malty quality to this tea – the combination of the malt and caramel is quite yummy.  This combination is further enhanced with a splash of milk as it lends a creaminess to the malt and caramel.

I recommend careful steeping parameters with this one.  You don’t need to use a little extra leaf because this tea is plenty strong without it, in fact, you might find that it’s too strong with extra leaf.  So I recommend using just 1 teaspoon for your first tasting, and then experimenting to find your perfect cuppa.  Also, watch your timer carefully!  2 1/2 minutes is the perfect time for this tea (at least, for me!) but don’t go over 3 minutes for your first tasting, as it will become bitter.

This is delicious hot or iced, but I prefer it hot, it is a delightful “cold, foggy morning” kind of tea!  It helps you clear the fog in your head after a not-so-great night’s sleep (or even if you’ve had a good one!)  If you’d rather head back to bed, but can’t because you’ve got to “seize the day” – this tea will get you headed in that direction!  This tea has got bite to it, so if you need to soften that edge, a little drizzle of agave nectar will do the trick.

An excellent Assam!

Assam Tippy – Khongea Estate from TeaVert

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  TeaVert

Product Description:

This tea has large elegant leaves with golden tips, and it is an orthodox rolled black tea. Golden tips, or buds on the leaves, increase the sweetness of the tea. Larger-leaf teas are generally rarer and twice as expensive to produce.

TGFOP translates to Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Teas from Khongea tea estate are always rich in flavor, deeper, and malted.

Taster’s Review:

Awesome!

I love writing about tea (obviously, right?) but it becomes a true JOY when I have a tea such as this about which to write.  This tea is one of the very best Assam teas that I’ve ever tasted.

It has a robust flavor that is very malty.  One of the maltiest teas I’ve yet to encounter.  It is a very rich and delicious tea.  It has real GUSTO and is strong enough to get me going in the morning.  There is some astringency at the tail, but because of the malty flavor that seems to coat the palate, the astringency does not effect the palate in the same way as some other black teas might.  Interesting … and delightful!

There is a chewy flavor and texture to this tea that most Assam teas that I’ve tasted only hint toward but this one really delivers.  It has a baked quality to it and it would be delightful to serve along with freshly baked scones!  It would actually compliment the deliciously biscuit-y character of the scones quite nicely.

Many add milk and honey to their Assam, and this one would take those additions very well.  I am finding it equally as nice without the milk and just a little honey, which brings out some of the sweeter, underlying qualities (lovely caramel-like tones mingling with the malty taste!) of the Assam which are a little hard to detect without the sweetener.  But if you’re looking for strong, edgy tea goodness, serve this one straight!

On the package, the steeping parameters suggested by TeaVert are four to five minutes, but I found that three minutes is a much better time for this Assam.  The first time I tasted it, I steeped it at four minutes and I detected notes of bitterness.  This time, I steeped it at just three minutes, and no bitterness whatsoever!  It’s perfect!

This is the first tea that I’ve tried from TeaVert … and it’s a good one!  With a starting point such as this, it makes me eager to want to try other teas they offer!  Delicious!

Masala Chai from The Chai Cart

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Chai Cart

The Chai Cart on Foodzie

Product Description:

Our Masala Chai is a blend of full-leaf black tea and various whole spices. Beautiful to look at and aromatic, this blend makes a bold, fragrant and smooth cup of Masala Chai that will transport you to India in just one sip.

The key to a good cup of chai is the tea itself. The tea used in our Masala Chai comes from the organic estates of Assam — the leading tea-producing region in India.
The magical mix of seven spices — ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, and black and white pepper — is perfectly balanced so that no single spice dominates the palate. The boldness of cloves and the spice of ginger are balanced with the fragrance of cardamom and the sweetness of cinnamon. Fennel and white and black pepper add further layers of complexity.

This blend creates a perfect cup of the traditional Indian Masala chai every time. Reuse the tin container as gift/jewelry box or to store spices.

Taster’s Review:

If you’ve read some of my past reviews on chai blends, you’d know that while I consider chai to be a favorite of mine, I am also quite biased when it comes to chai.

I generally do not steep my chai in the traditional “stovetop” method using a combination of boiling water and milk because I find this method to be too messy.  Therefore, it is important to me that the chai can be steeped “my way” – using my smart tea brewing device – and still taste delicious.  If I am going to make a chai latte, I steep it strong (using less water and a little extra leaf) to compensate for the addition of the milk after it’s brewed.

This chai tastes wonderful using my method!  The spices are quite harmonious.  While I can taste notes of many different spices here – cardamom, cinnamon and pepper, among others – I am finding that no one spice seems to overwhelm the others.  The result is a smooth taste that seems to envelop me in a warm blanket of spice and tea.

The black tea base is a robust Assam.  It is strong enough to withstand the strength of the spices without losing its flavor in the mix.  The Assam is rich and a little malty.  There is some astringency to the Assam, but it is barely noticeable in the presence of the spice.  One thing that I do notice, however, is that this Assam is not bitter.  It is just bold yet smooth and very delicious.

When I brewed this tea the first time, I prepared it as a latte, adding steamed milk to the brewed liquor.  As a latte, I found that the flavor of the spices softened somewhat.  At first, I found this a little disconcerting; however, as I continued to sip on my chai latte, the flavors intensified.  The latte is smooth, creamy and rich, with a very pleasing spice kick at the end of the sip.

The second time I tried this chai, I decided to try it without the milk.  And it is absolutely lovely without milk too!  It is wonderfully spicy – but not overwhelming.  Warm and soothing and delightful!

So, it turned out that this is quite enjoyable both as a latte and without the milk.  I also recommend infusing the tea at least twice.  I think I actually enjoyed the second infusion more than the first.  The flavors of the spices seem even more harmonious the second time around, and the Assam is a little less distinct, but, still very good.

A very pleasant chai – one I would recommend to all those chai lovers out there!

Golden Tips Assam from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

The Golden Tips Assam is made from a distinct Camellia Assamica plant varietal growing only at a handful of estates. The leaves are withered, bruised with a rolling machine, oxidized and then oven roasted. In making the Golden Tips, the oxidization is slightly longer than in the case of making darker Assams. The Golden Tips are precious for the tea gardens as they fetch a higher premium in the market.

The high volume of essential oils in the Golden Tips Assam is evident immediately after the tea is served, as a thin layer of oil quickly coats the surface of the tea giving it a self-creaming appearance. These are beneficial oils that protect the body from carcinogens and give tea its anti-aging properties.

Taster’s Review:

This is quite honestly one of the best – if not THE best – Assam teas that I’ve ever tasted.

The leaves look a lot like a tippy Yunnan, lots of golden tips amongst beautiful, deep mahogany colored, twisted leaves.  It brews to a typical Assam color:  reddish brown liquor that has a light fragrance that is somewhat fruit-like with notes of spice.

This tea is so smooth – remarkably smooth! – with a sweetness that falls somewhere between honey-like and caramel-like.  It has a creaminess to it that I have never experienced from an Assam before.  This doesn’t need the addition of milk or cream … the creaminess is built right in!  Of course, if you wish to add it, I see nothing wrong with that.

This has many of the attributes one would expect from an Assam:  a deep, rich flavor with a malty quality, and a nice bake-y background to it.  It also has that delicious chewy characteristic that I’ve grown so fond of in an Assam.  But where other Assam teas end this one seems to just begin.

The creamy flavor that I previously mentioned seems to enhance the malty tones of the tea so nicely.  There are notes of fruit in the background.  And even the astringency is different here.  With a typical Assam tea, I expect a certain amount of astringency to hit the back of the palate at the finish.  But, this one doesn’t have that.  There is some astringency, but it is light – much lighter than most Assam teas – and it seems to hit the palate at the start of the sip, just before the flavors begin to arrive onto the palate.  The dryness from the astringency seems to get swept away by the amazing flavors of the tea.

This is truly a remarkable Assam.  If you enjoy Assam tea, this is one that you really must try.  But don’t be surprised if you will find yourself making a permanent space for it on your tea shelf.  This Assam makes me re-think what an Assam should be!

Irish Breakfast Blend from Ocean of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Ocean of Tea

Product Description:

Need an eye-opener? Blended from Assam and Ceylon teas, this classic Irish breakfast is full bodied and can be enjoyed throughout the day. It goes well with milk in the traditional Irish manner, but does equally well with a touch of lemon, or plain.

Irish breakfast black tea has an obscure history. Assam teas are popular in Ireland, and Irish breakfast blends are considered normal tea in that country. Popularized elsewhere as a breakfast tea, it is often served as an alternative to coffee.

Taster’s Review:

If you’re looking for a breakfast blend with the gusto to get you going in the morning, you need look no further than this Irish Breakfast Blend from Ocean of Tea.

This is a very strong, rich tea!  Robust!  One thing that I notice right away with this blend is that the Assam in the blend makes its presence known in a very profound way.  It is malty and has a very pleasing depth of flavor.  If this tea doesn’t get you going in the morning, nothing will!

The tea has a toothsome quality to it and reminds me of a freshly baked loaf of bread.  Yummy!  The malty tone intensifies this quality.  The Ceylon helps to give this blend a very well-rounded appeal.

While this tea is excellent with the additions of milk and honey (that’s sort of a tradition when it comes to breakfast blends, isn’t it?) I am finding it quite nice with just a drizzle of agave nectar to help take off some of the edge of the Assam (if you like that edge, omit the sweetener completely!) while enhancing the undertone of caramel-y sweetness.

This cuppa is warm and inviting, not to mention absolutely delicious.  I love it!

 

Strong Assam from Shanti Tea

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Shanti Tea

Product Description:

Rich aroma, malty flavor, highly sought after.

This lowland tea known for its rich aroma and strong, malty flavor is named after its origin, Assam, in North-East India. Our Strong Assam tea is cultivated at the famous Rembeng Estate, a 100% organic tea garden and the pioneering organic estate in the region, making their teas highly sought after. Dark and copper-colored, it is a full-bodied broken leaf black tea that is great for lovers of a strong morning cup of tea. The rich flavors are accentuated by adding milk and sugar.

Tasters Review:

A very Good-Good Morning to you all!  Speaking of mornings…here’s a Strong Assam from Shanti Tea that will start anyone’s day!  Or in this case THE Strong Assam!  That’s the official name of this tea!

And it’s very rich, malty, and strong, indeed!

This is a great morning or pick-me-up tea!  Be careful NOT to over infuse.  3 minutes or less, is what I suggest!  That’s all you need. Anything over 3 minutes I believe it would start turning to bitter.

I really DO like this tea!  I love that it is NOT run-of-the-mill.  I am grateful that it lives up to it’s name, too!

Another great offering from Shanti!  One of my favorite Canadian Tea Companies!

English Breakfast aka Morning Glory from Teapigs

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teapigs

Company Description:

About this tea:

For those of you who have bought our morning glory tea before, this is the same great blend except we’ve added even more tea to our temple. We renamed it english breakfast as some people didn’t recognise that this is our everyday blend of tea.
Our signature blend – the teapigs version of builders’ tea, if you will. Far from ordinary, it’s a skilful balancing act between three glorious teas:  a gutsy Assam, a mellow little Ceylon and a powerful newcomer from Rwanda. (Learn more about life on the Pfunda estate here)

Taster’s Review:

Since Teapigs is a English tea company, I’d expect nothing less but excellence from their English breakfast blend – and I am not disappointed.  This tea is wonderfully brisk.  BOLD!

It is an intriguing blend of three types of black tea leaves:  Ceylon, Assam and Rwandan.  You’re probably quite familiar with Ceylon and Assam teas and what they might deliver to a cup, but, maybe not so much with a Rwandan tea.  If you’re interested, you can click on the Pfunda Estate link above to learn more!

I have previously reviewed this tea on The Tea Review Blog, and my opinion hasn’t really changed much since my first tasting.  It is still every bit as pleasant.  It is delicious without any addition, but I like it with a little bit of honey to bring out some of the sweeter low tones.  It also takes the addition of milk well if you choose to add it – it will make this a very creamy delight!

Assam Sewpur Estate Reserve from Drink T

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Drink T

Company Description:

A century-old estate brings you this full-bodied, malty and spicy tea to brighten your morning and Certified Organic to help you sleep at night.

Taster’s Review:

The only place I could locate this tea on the Drink T website is as part of this Tea Lover’s Root Basket.  (And what a lovely basket it is!  Who wouldn’t love to receive it?)

This is one of the more fragrant Assam teas that I’ve ever encountered.  The aroma of the dry leaf has notes of fruit and spice, and maybe even a distant flowery scent.  Once brewed, the tea takes on a fragrance that reminds me of freshly baked bread.  It made my mouth water just smelling it!  In fact, it was the scent that told me which sweetener to use with this tea – HONEY!  Fresh baked bread with a drizzle of honey sounds like a slice of heaven!

Of course, I tasted it before sweetening, and I did note a light, honey-esque tone in the background.  This is a very malty tea.  It has a bold, bright flavor that is strong enough to help me shake off that sleepy feeling that I feel when I first wake up.  You know that feeling?  The “what am I doing up, I want to go back to bed” feeling?  This tea helps me shake that feeling and perks me up to get started for the day.

This has a clean and somewhat lighter taste than some Assam teas, it doesn’t have as much toothsomeness (is that a word?  Well, it is now!)  This reminds me a little of a Keemun in that respect, where it has a light, wine-like note to it.  The light spicy note to it is also very Keemun-like.

This is definitely a very special Assam!

Organic Rembeng Assam Black Tea from Arbor Teas

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Arbor Teas

Product Description:

A classic black tea produced at the Rembeng estate in India’s state of Assam in northeastern India, near the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The Rembeng estate is credited with pioneering organic tea production in Assam. This organic and Fair Trade Certified tea is composed of finely twisted leaves with occasional golden, downy tips. Its full-bodied red-brown infusion does not disappoint, exemplifying the character of a high-quality Assam tea – very flavorful with rich maltiness and a good coppery finish.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of Arbor Teas’ business philosophy. In addition to offering an exclusively organic selection of teas, they recently became the first tea company to offer their whole catalog in 100% backyard compostable packaging. They’ve also carbon-offset the entire supply chain of their products, from origin to the customer, making Arbor Teas the greenest option for Earth-conscious tea drinkers, and one of few tea companies recognized by Green America.

Tasters Review:

Organic Rembeng Assam Black Tea from Arbor Teas has a slight bakey smell to it and the color of the liquid is lovely.  It’s a dark reddish-brown-copper type color…at least that is the best way I can describe it.

The taste is WONDERFUL!  I didn’t get any astringency at all from this and found it to be quite smooth but also a little malty!   I really like this tea and I would rate it in my own-personal upper 90’s percentile for Assams!

Assam from Urban Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Urban Tea

Company Description:

Alluring Assam from the famous area of Assam, India, produces a deliciously malty, smooth cup with a rich red liquor.  Expertly picked large tea leaves are transformed into dark, twisted leaves with golden tips.  A full flavored and robust black tea.

Ingredients

  • Assam black tea FTGFOP
  • Origin: Assam, India

Taster’s Review:

This is a rather unusual Assam – but when I say “unusual,” I mean it in a very good way!  Typically, Assam teas are extraordinarily robust and possess a pleasing malty note, a baked flavor and a “chewiness” to them.  And, don’t get me wrong, I love a good Assam with all these qualities.  That being said, it is also sometimes quite nice to find an Assam that seems to march to its own beat.

This Assam is indeed robust and malty, but it doesn’t have that same chewy note.  What it lacks in that department, though, it more than makes up for with a lovely fruit note – I can taste black currants and peaches!  It has a nice sweetness to it, as well as a slight tart note.

Another significant difference here is the lack of bitterness that can often come with an Assam.  It does have a little astringency, but less than a typical Assam.  What I am tasting is a very enjoyable, rich, smooth, well-rounded taste that is very palate pleasing!

This tea does have a slight sweetness to it and it doesn’t need additional sweetener, but, I found that it also accepts milk and honey just as well as other Assam teas, if you should wish to add them.  It is a great morning tea or early afternoon tea – and it is also quite nice as an iced tea!

Raspberries & Cream from Urban Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Urban Tea

Company Description:

A bowl of Raspberries and cream is a crowd pleaser for an after dinner dessert.  This delightful black tea blended with raspberries and creamy flavoring will not disappoint.  Also makes an excellent iced tea.  Enjoy this black tea from morning till night.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is delightful.

I really like that the black tea base is an Assam rather than a Ceylon (as is typically used in flavored teas) – the Assam gives this tea a stronger presence, it is bold and brisk!  It has a malty note to it that really compliments the cream flavor.

This Assam base has a richness and depth of flavor that most Ceylon teas just seem to lack.  However, it is not so strong that it overpowers the flavors, but that being said – this is TEA and tea is the most prominent flavor of this cup.

The raspberry flavor is light, sweet and juicy.  It has that gentle berry tartness at the finish that tickles the tongue.  Delicious!

The cream flavor is soft and sweet – not at all cloying – and I think that it gives just enough softness to the overall cup to cut through some of the harsher notes of the Assam – making this an extraordinarily palatable tea.  It’s a pleasure to drink!

Thomas Sampson from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Sorry, this tea is no longer available.

Company Description:

Legendary throughout the Northern Circuit, Big Thomas, The Breeze from the Mountain, is twice a champion bare-fisted tree-puncher. He did, in fact, earn his first title before becoming aware that he was involved in a contest, so great is his impatience with obstacles be they festooned in leaf or adorned in hide. Watch as Thomas boils with rage! Marvel at his great brawn! See with your very own eyes that none can withstand more than four minutes of his brutal attention!

Andrews & Dunham recommend that the brewing of this Assam black tea from India be performed by inserting the leaves into freshly boiled water for a duration of exactly four minutes. A strong, malty beverage will then be yours to enjoy in any manner you choose. A hasty preparation will yield a pale and gutless liquor. A more prolonged duration invites bitterness.

Taster’s Review:

Hooray for online tea friends!  I received a sampling of this rare tea from a friend on Steepster!  (Thanks!)  This is a tea that I would not have been able to try otherwise, as it is no longer available.

You see, Andrews & Dunham – the minds that bring us Damn Fine Tea – release their teas in limited edition series.  You buy the full series (usually 3 teas to a series, but, in the case of Series 2, which this tea is part of, there were only 2 teas), and the orders arrive promptly to your door.  (I know this because I ordered series 3, and I was astonished at how quickly my order arrived)  The downside is that once the limited edition is sold-out, those teas can no longer be purchased.  That is the case with this tea.

A very bold, brisk Assam tea.  Lots of vigor to the flavor.  A malty note, although not quite as malty as some Assam teas I’ve tasted.  What it lacks in the malty flavor, it more than makes up for in bold brashness!  And I mean that in a good way!  This is a very seriously stout black tea.

The steeping suggestions provided by Andrews and Dunham state that 4 minutes would produce an optimum cup.  However, my personal experience with Assam teas has been that anything over 2 ½ minutes = a bitter brew.  So, rather than risking it (I had precious few leaves of this wonderful tea) I let my experience overrule the purveyors parameters and brewed for just 2 ½ minutes.

The result is a beautifully bold, vigorous tea.  A pleasant malty flavor that peaks in the finish.  A bit of astringency, but not overwhelming.  And most importantly, at least for my palate – NO bitterness!  Just one very fabulous cup of tea that is delicious hot, served with just a drizzle of raw honey and a splash of milk to bring out some of the richer qualities of the tea.  Of course, for the purists out there, no milk or honey is needed – I just happen to prefer taking my Assam that way.

The second infusion is even more flavorful than the first.  The bold strength of the tea softens to reveal a complex liquor with notes of fruit.  I can taste a bit more malty character in the second infusion as well.

Organic Mountain High Chai Tea from Two Leaves And A Bud

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Two Leaves And A Bud

Product Description:

A traditional chai that starts with true Assam tea (not cheap “blending tea”) and adds only the true ingredients of chai: Cinnamon, Clove, and Cardamom. Fabulous with milk and honey!

Tasters Review:

I waited a while to try this one.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I have been tasting a lot of Chai lately.  Many of them seem to be over-spiced and/or all seemed the same.  After my first sip of this I knew it was different.  The flavors were wonderful and I could have sworn I tasted a lovely orange flavor to it eventho it doesn’t mention citrus in the product description but I could have sworn it was there!  The spices are just right for my palate and there was a bit of juicy-sweet with the spices tossed in.

In short…I really like this! The Chai flavors are subtle and the orange is just 1 step ahead of the spices! This was very nice!

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