More explorations into Assam. Thank you for this one, Shelley_Lorraine! And for the tiny-cute sample tins. This is a more complex OP black, but also more fussy. Four batches of leaf with slightly altered paramaters have yielded significantly different results. I’ve spent the last 4 days trying to optimize the parameters, which has been fun! I’m finding it best to underleaf slightly and steep shorter.
The first infusion, when not too strong, yields a fairly smooth liquor with a dark berry-cacao with a raisin finish, along with some interesting sparkling notes of tart citrus – a bit like fruit liqueur. When strong, the cacao turns a bit too bitter, and the profile becomes a bit coffee-like and flat. I’m liking the 3:00-3:30 time range.
A good second infusion yields an even smoother profile; dark berry and malt, a bit creamy, with even more distinct raisin notes. It’s much lighter than the first infusion and it loses much of that liqueur profile, almost like a different tea altogether. I’ve pushed a third infusion, but that’s so thin that it’s better to just let the second infusion sit a bit longer to gain a fuller profile. 5:00+ time range.
Overall, a fun and interesting tea to work with, but a bit too inconsistent to adopt as a long-term OP black. It definitely shows off the complexities of orange pekoe teas during its good moments, though! I’ll definitely enjoy working with the rest of the tin, thank you again Shelley_Lorraine!