126 Tasting Notes
My journey with tea is one of my favorite parts of the week. New samples lead me to new places in my education, but for me, assam tea always taste like “home”. I started drinking tea when I lived in Ireland in my early teens….milk, sugar and a lovely dreary day was all that was required for inner sunshine to come flying through the magic cup of tea. I made a lifetime of friends over cups of tea at Bewleys… friends that when I speak to them 34 years later, it is like no time has passed. Tea can do that for us. It’s ritual gives us time to connect…either with friends, strangers or even our own thoughts. A gift to be treasured to be sure! Oh! Tea Review! That’s right! Onward!
Jaipur Second Flush Assam is a 2nd flush assam with charcoal colored leaves and gold tips. Dry, this tea is nice and malty, with a chocolate undertone that is reminiscent of dark cocoa powder. Steeped for 4 minutes, this tea give a lovely deep reddish brown liquor that gives a solid malty cup of assam. The cocoa is definitely the base note in this tea. The middle of the flavor profile is a nuttiness that joins the hallmark maltiness of assam to make this tea a very welcome addition to my cup! There is some astringency to this assam, but it isn’t going to strip the paint of any walls….just enough to tenderly dry your tongue a touch so that you crave another sip. It’s working…..as I’ve suddenly looked down into an empty cup. With Jaipur Second Flush, Teabox has found another assam worth drinking ~ and for that I am always grateful!
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Nutty
Lukwah (Summer) Assam is from the Harmutty plantation and a second flush, so it already has 2 oooooooh points in it’s favor even before I got it in my cup! The leaves are a very healthy size for an Assam, and the smell in the packet was deep and chocolatey…one more OOOOOH point for that! There is a heavy mouthfeel to this tea, which is unique, because the notes of malt and chocolate aren’t sitting heavily at the bottom of this cup (like the earthy taste of a keemun would). The malt and chocolate fill your mouth from top to bottom with a touch of astringency that keeps them buoyant in the middle of the flavor profile. This is a strong representation of all the different things that an Assam can be, and as I explore the offerings of Teabox, I realize how many things that can be!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt
What an extraordinary Assam. This is so wonderfully different, that I just checked the label to make sure I was drinking what I had intended to drink this morning! This tippy dry tea, which gave a gorgeous deep red/amber liquor, has just made my palate very happy. For me, malt is usually a heavier bottom-note in tea, that anchors the mid and top notes and give a solid base to the tea. Nokhroy Assam has an unusual maltiness that spreads through the cup, not just anchoring the base of the tea, but also gently joining with the mid note of peach to bring a smoothness and a baked biscuit note to the tea. The top note is a sensation of floral, but I can’t quite tell you if there is a floral note or if the peachy maltiness is causing a happy floral sensation in my mouth. Wow. There is some astringency present, but it is just enough to bring some magic to the teacup…and there is a lot of magic to be had here.
This is the kind of tea that makes me panic and order more immediately. Nokhroy Assam is one of the best assams I have had and though it is not currently in stock, Teabox assured me that they will have it in September. And that’s when my birthday is. Guess what I’m getting? :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Honey, Malt, Peach
We are having another strange day of weather in Southern California…Usually when I look at the fan in the window and see an 8 and a 6/9 (the fan sits in the window vertically, not horizontally) it means 89 degrees….today, with another strand of thunderstorms off to our west, it means a lovely 68 degrees!! ASSAM DAY!!!! Rhymes with YAAAAAAAAAY!
This selection from Teabox is a blend of second flush assams. Low in astringency at a 4 minute steep, this is a great malty cup. I’m not detecting any smoke (as the website states) but I am drinking the 2013 version of this blend…Teabox is currently selling their 2014 blend, so it might be different. There’s not a lot of complexity to this cup, just a honeyed maltiness. Simply, it’s just a nice assam for a ridiculously gorgeous August day in Southern California.
Assam Morning to you! It’s hotter than blazes out here, but my mouth wanted assam, so assam it gets! I reached into my box of samples from Teabox and I was the lucky winner today! This tea was black, tippy and wonderfully malty smelling in the packet….which turned into a gorgeous deep amber red liquor that smells malty and vaguely deeper…. my first sip was a glorious mouthful of malt, but not quite the usual malt note from assams….this is a TOASTY malt note!! What a brilliant surprise! The tea has a medium mouthfeel and is quite smooth. I steeped for 5 minutes, which is sometimes quite daring with assams when you don’t like astringency, but it all worked out beautifully with this Bokel. This would be a lovely cup to have on any given day…..but especially on a damp winter morning when you want a blanket in a cup. I hope Teabox will have this in stock again soon!
Flavors: Malt, Toasty
I currently LOVE this tea. As I drink it, there is a free “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….” with every sip. Smooth…. Earthy, yammy, chocolatey, raisiny, malty, grainy, stonefruity without any astringency at all. My current favorite accoutrement for this tea. Nilla Wafers. Happy me.
Quality Assurance check this morning…..just making sure that this tea is a good as I said it was when I drank it last week. I’m staring into the cup with disbelief, because it is as good as I said it was in my review….and it’s cheaper than other Yunnans, and it’s toasty nomilicious flavor makes me want to stuff my face in the cup and gulp…. my verdict stands. I really really like this tea. Good thing Yunnan Sourcing sends a 4 cup sample, as I still have 2 more to go and that makes me happy.
Flavors: Floral, Grain, Malt, Toast, Yams
I think I od’d on one of Yunnan Sourcing’s teas yesterday…you know when you steep too strong and drink too much? I was so overly saturated with the tea yesterday that I didn’t even write a review. So this morning when I reached into the tea cabinet, my hand went FAR away from the golden yunnans and found this…. a little forgotten treasure in my cupboard.
I love this tea’s subtlety. Especially today, after my overindulgence yesterday. The flavors are incredibly delicate, but still wonderfully identifiable… gentle chocolate and a touch of yam skin (nice earthiness) for the bottom notes…a delicate middle note combination of pecan and subtle malt and a top note of refined flowers. Sometimes, because of the slight earthiness and amazingly delicate flavors this tea holds, I get the feeling that this tea would almost like to be a keemun …. perhaps for Halloween only… lovely gentle notes make for a lovely gentle tea. Wonderful.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Malt, Pecan, Yams