633 Tasting Notes

85

I’ve used my entire sample of this gorgeous creamy Assam in a pot, half Chota Tingrai, picking date 22 May 2019, and half second flush Darjeeling, picking date 2018, from the gardens Chamling, Chongtong, Monteviot, Moondakotee, Mullootar, Nagri, and Nurbong. This 2nd flush Darjeeling came via TeaCampaign Canada.

The Chota Tingrai is a creamy Assam. Nice medium to heavy body, so lots of heft to balance out the Darjeeling. Not an assertive Assam, though it is slightly bitter in the aftertaste, probably case I used water at 95C instead of the recommenced 90C.

It plays very well with the muscatel-rich and sparkling Darjeeling. I wish I’d had enough i the sample pack to try the Chota Tingrai on its own, but I was really craving a blended pot today.

I’ll buy it again, for sure.

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85

2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes.

The dry leaf smells soooo good, a really complex mix of cocoa, earth, malt, dates, and fruit.

Liquor is a medium copper.

A hint of bitterness, the sort dark chocolate has, mixed with plenty of malt. I can taste dates. It’s assertive and brisk but also very refreshing. I really dig the dark chocolate notes here.

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90

2.5 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes.
(Packet recommends 2 tsp for 180mL water. Packet also says the caffeine content is high not medium as noted in the Steepster listing.)
Picking date 17 July 2020.

Dry leaf is dark brown with lots of gold. Dry aroma is malty and bready with a whiff of cocoa.

Wet leaf is deep brown with light brown. Aroma is very malty.

Liquor: medium copper, a little lighter in colour than I expected. Aroma of malt and dates.

Malty but not mouth-stripping astringent. Bready. Sweet finish with a ghost of cocoa which then morphs back into malt. Pleasantly brisk. Good full body. This would take honey extremely well, though I’ll keep mine plain. I find I want it a tiny bit hotter, but I wonder is 95C water would bring out bitterness. I also want to blend this one.

I’d recommend this one to both Assam fans and someone trying Assam for the first time.

Michelle Butler Hallett

It does get a bit more astringent as you move down the cup, but the finish remains smooth and sweet.

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90

2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped four minutes.
Picking date: 25 June 2019.

So I just noticed that Teabox recommends 2 tsp for 180mL/6oz of water and not my usual 250mL/8oz for this tea. I’ll try the smaller water amount tomorrow.

Meantime … I am really tired after a busy day, aching all over, and I still have cooking to do. Clearly, tea is the only answer. I chose this one form my sample pack because it’s labelled ‘medium caffeine,’ and I don’t want to be awake at 2 in the morning.

Light-bodied made with 250mL water and very gentle for an Assam. It really does serve up vanilla and honeysuckle notes, even in the dry leaf. The malt waves hello but doesn’t stomp all over the place. Sweet and gentle finish, with an echo of malt. Despite the prevailing wisdom — who decides these things anyway? — that Assam is not an afternoon tea, I’d serve this with cookies and cake at a tea party.

A surprisingly sweet and gentle Assam. Just lovely.

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90

2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.

Oh, this is a lively one! Brisk and bright with lots of malt and some sweet fruitiness. No bitterness. Potent caffeine hit.

gmathis

You have sold me. I am going to start hinting for this assortment for my birthday :)

Michelle Butler Hallett

I swear, I’m not on commission! :)

Seriously, I hope it all works for you. Delivery was quick: Siliguri, Wwst Bengal, India, to St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada in under a week.

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85

2 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.
Picking date: 12 Aug 2020.

Deep-tasting medium-to-full bodied Assam with a nice hit of malt and some heavy sweetness undercut by some agreeable bitterness in the finish. The bitterness diminishes as the tea cools. Beautiful dark copper liquor. Astringent finish, but not enough to dry out the mouth. The packet lists date palm and maple syrup as tasting notes. I got the dates but no maple — just a heaviness in the sweetness. The bitterness in the finish might sound like a turnoff, but I find it balances things out. I’d love to experiment with blending this one.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The tea has nearly cooled off now, and I can get cherry and stonefruit — still balanced out with that crisp bitterness. A complex Assam that deserves careful attention.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Whoa. Serious caffeine hit to this one. Nice.

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90

4tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.
Picking date: 2 August 2019.

Wow.

The “raspberry” in the tea’s name is not an added flavour but a pronounced tasting note. Raspberry jam and dates, as the packaging says, and some soft malt. Medium body. Only mildly astringent in aftertaste. Sweet and deep. No bitterness at 90C. I think I’m falling in love with Assams all over again, thanks to TeaBox.

ashmanra

^What she said..l

Michelle Butler Hallett

I am super-impressed with TeaBox. I ordered their Assam sample pack and got 15 different Assams to try. I also got 100g of their Temi Summer Muscatel Black, grown in Sikkim, and it’s beautiful.

gmathis

You are making it hard to beat the new tea lust back into submission!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yes, I’m sure I’m no help whatsoever. I hadn’t ordered any tea in AGES, but then TeaBox caught my eye … their tea is super-fresh, too. I’m digging the picking dates on the packaging. The only reason I didn’t get into their Darjeeling collection yet is that I still have, oh, two pounds of 2019 Darjeeling from TeaKampagne to get through.

Sil

myteabox.ca? or somewhere else?

Sil

nm i assume you mean teabox.com lol

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yes, teaboxcom. The tea comes to you direct from Siliguri, West Bengal, India.

Leafhopper

I usually think Assams are too strong, but this sounds wonderful!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yeah, I hear you on too strong. I gave up on Assams years ago — one too many upset stomachs. Teabox recommend 85 to 95C water, depending on the estate. I’m starting to think that 100C boiling water is just too hot for Assams. (And Darjeelings. I go no higher than 95C for Darjeelings.)

Not one of the Teabox Assams I’ve tried has been bitter, and the maltiness so far is present but not stripping the lining of my mouth.

I got a sample pack of single estate Assams. The sample pack is on sale for $50 Canadian right now, and you get 15 different 10g/0.4oz packets of different estate Assams. (Lord, I sound like I work for them. Sorry about that.)

Leafhopper

I usually steep both Assams and Darjeelings at 195F; I may have to go lower on the Assams. If I literally didn’t have over a pound of Darjeeling right now, I might get that sampler set.

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95

4 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk plain. Picking date: 24 June 2020.

Oh
mah
GAWD, this is lovely! It’s an oversimplification to call this a “cousin” to Darjeeling, as this Temi Summer Muscatel is its own tea. Light body with surprising depth, similar to a second flush Darjeeling, with some light musk, a bright, bright muscatel, and some faint minerality that makes me think of fresh, fresh air and water running over rocks. Brisk. Serious muscatel hit. Just gorgeous.

This is the third tea I’ve tried from TeaBox, and I am uniformly impressed.

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85

1.5 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped five minutes, drunk plain.

Picking date: 10 July 2020.

Okay, first off, I’m super-impressed that Teabox puts the picking date on their packaging.

Another gorgeous copper liquor. Aromas of flowers, caramel, figs and maybe dark plums, and a very faint scent of leather. Malty but overly tannic — very soft for an Assam, in fact. No bitterness. Smooth, with a slightly astringent finish. I really dig the raisiny, stone fruit notes here.

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85

2 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped five minutes, as per recommendation on packet. Drunk plain.

Picking date: 29 July 2020.

Dry leaf: small and twisted dark brown leaves with some amber.

Wet leaf: Light and dark brown with a few twigs.

Liquor: medium copper, just gorgeous in a clear glass mug. Aroma gives up raisins, berries, and florals, as promised. Malty but no strip-your-mouth-dry astringent. It tastes … deep. I know that sounds silly, but I feel like this tea has ancestry and history. Not bitter. Some honey notes. I love it.

gmathis

Tea with a backstory. Love it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The Chubwa estate is something like 180 years old, one of the first British-planted tea gardens in India. It’s a lovely Assam.

gmathis

Thanks for sharing the link—what a nice little sneak peek into plantation life! (I will never cease to be entertained and fascinated by Indian tea estate names!)

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Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of CONSTANT NOBODY, THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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