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Recent Tasting Notes
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
This is supposed to be a black tea. It looks like a green tea, it smells like a green tea, and it comes from an estate that specializes in green tea. Does it taste like green tea?
It is very vegetal, with a strong perfume-y element as well, that makes it almost bitter. I brewed it as recommended and chucked the cup after three sips. This is not for me. It has all the elements of green tea that I tend to not enjoy, without the sweetness of green tea.
First true disappointment from Teabox.
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.
One of my coworkers asked for some white tea, as he is trying to cut down on his caffeine intake. So this afternoon I offered him a selection of white teas, and he selected this one because he like the name. I was intoxicated by the deliciously sweet scent of the dry leaves, so I happily brewed us a batch. This white tea brews much darker than other, more delicate whites (silver needle, ya bao, bai mu dan), but is still a white tea. It is bready, with a hint of cucumber in its aftertaste, and a wonderful sweetness to it that still leaves a but of tanginess on the mouth. If you aren’t a white tea fan because of its generally underwhelming complexity and depth of flavour, then this tea may yet satisfy you. There are a lot of elusive flavours wafting in the background, inviting you to spend more time with them.
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
This tea is a perfectly fine darjeeling. It’s a very modest tea and a good example of an typical darjeeling. A bit heavy on the tongue and has some nice malty and floral notes to complement the weight. It is perfect for when you just need something medicinal and comforting. This tea was exactly what I needed last night and currently to combat a swollen throat/esophagus.
Please, anyone who is reading this, drink lots of fluids, especially when taking vitamins or any other pills, and especially if you have asthma. I have a very long tea related story related to this… To sum it up, tea can be a life saver.
Described as an oolong but brewed as a black – whatever one calls it, it is a lovely tea. First brew is tangy like a FF Darj, with noticeable tannins. Later brews produce softer tannins, and a bit sweetness, similar to a muted Ceylon.
First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 4:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
I like white teas, but this one failed to impress, despite the “wonder” in its name. Could be that the temperature was wrong, could be that it needed more steep time, but it tasted like a watered down green tea, just a little sweeter. Teabox recommends 10 min steeping at 85-90 degrees, so I will give it another try with those parameters, instead of my standard white tea ones.
Ceasefire is thankfully continuing. Here’s to hoping that it becomes permanent.
It’s hardest for me to review Assam teas. Since I lived in Ireland (30 years ago) I have been drinking breakfast blends consisting of Assam and Kenya teas (although previous to Steepster I don’t know if I could have even told you THAT much!), so when I taste them, they just taste “familiar” and nice. Notes are harder to pick out because of my familiarity with them. This morning I’m breaking into the Teabox samples again for a stout cup of tea. Doomni Assam was a perfect choice for this morning, as it’s freak like weather here in San Diego… 91% humidity and 80f at 10am. Pretty much like the weather where Doomni Estate tea grows! Tea cultural immersion without travel wasn’t on my agenda for this weekend, but hey, here we are! The tea:
Black twisty tippy leaves dry….wet, the lovely deep malt flavor prevails. On first sip, I get the overwhelming feeling of “aaaaaah…..familiar”. There is a wonderful maltiness and a touch of hoppiness (yay!) to this tea that creates a wholesome medium weight mouthfeel. Strangely, it is creamy, but has a touch of astringency to it, that makes you reach for your next sip. I am also finding a gentle top note of fruitiness that perhaps earlier in my tea explorations I would have missed. Hmmmm… this is a really nice Assam that I will consider ordering when the time comes to order from Teabox again!
Flavors: Hops, Malt
This is one of the free samples that I got from Teabox with my “All the Darjeelings” sample boxes. This Assam has a lot of golden tips, but the ‘“broken” in the FTGBOP clonal grade is justified. The dry leaves smell fruity, but also dusky – hinting at their strength.
It is a highly caffinated tea, as Assam tend to be, but it lacks the trully deep, bass-y aroma of an excellent Assam. It reminds me of a strengthened fruity Ceylon, coupled with Ceylon’s astringncy and flavor profile. Not much malt in this tea, plenty of stone fruit.
Tasty, but not mind blowing.