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85
drank Assam Reserve by Teas Etc
937 tasting notes

Looks more like Assam Gold Rain (very tippy and pretty) than Thomas Sampson does, but smells more like Thomas in the dry leaf. Rabs mentioned potting soil, and I get that as well, though it’s drier and leafier than potting soil (which right out of the bag tends to be pretty moist). That was a good sign, as the yeasty smell of the ASR dry leaf was replicated in its taste and was a flavor I didn’t love.

The tea’s aroma is even more promising. It doesn’t have the yeasty (bakey?) flat note that the ASR had. I’m starting to wonder if I just got a bad batch of ASR. Maybe. In any case, the Assam Reserve has more depth to the aroma, and it has a sweetness. I’m not getting malt as I think of it, but there is a natural planty sugar to it. The liquor was lighter than I expected, a medium amber.

The taste is much smoother than the ASR, which had a sharpness to it that I didn’t find pleasing. It’s somewhat astringent, and it has that sweetness that I found in the aroma. It’s not sweet enough to be malty or biscuity as I think of those terms, but it does have that sort of sweetness you get when you’ve eaten a non-sweet baked product (like pretzel, cracker or plain bread) and let it sit on your tongue for a while so that it starts to break down into sugar in your mouth.

I’d like to try this next to Thomas Sampson. I know I like it better than the ASR by a lot, but I don’t have a gustatory memory of Thomas to compare it to.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Rabs

Great note! I’ll totally agree with you that the “potting soil” was a dry leafy one (not right out of the bag). I’m super-curious about the Thomas comparison and look forward to reading what you have to say :)

Stephanie

Great description of the non-sweet baked product sweetness! :)

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Comments

Rabs

Great note! I’ll totally agree with you that the “potting soil” was a dry leafy one (not right out of the bag). I’m super-curious about the Thomas comparison and look forward to reading what you have to say :)

Stephanie

Great description of the non-sweet baked product sweetness! :)

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Profile

Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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