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!

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