1.5 tsp for 250mL water @ 98C. (Slightly obsessed with making black tea just off the boil lately.) Steeped four minutes. Drunk bare.

I love a good Assam. I also love a good Darjeeling and a good milk oolong and a good caravan and a good jasmine green … because these teas are unmistakable.

I’ve said before that I favour the Kopili and Gingia estates for Assams. Damn Fine’s Captain Assam also blissed me out, and I am dying to try their new Tiger Assam. George Orwell in his famous essay ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ talks about Indian black tea in particular making you feel stronger and braver. He must have meant Assam.

Gingia doesn’t have the raisin notes that some Assams do, but it does remind me a bit of bread and roses, as I’ve nattered about before. The liquor is dark but clear. Agreeably malty — could get assertively so is steeped over 5 minutes — with some molasses notes in the aroma. It finishes sweet, with a bit of Assam pucker. Medium to heavy body, with a creaminess in the mouthfeel that makes for a pretty damn sumptuous cup of tea. I rarely add milk to tea, but this Assam would handily stand up to milk. Dependable and superb.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE. New novel this March called THIS MARLOWE.

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.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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