Alright. Got a late start this morning, but here goes!
When people say these two teas (Premium Taiwanese Assam & Premium Taiwanese Assam Upgrade) are two separate and unique teas they are right! Even just from the smell I can tell they’re different. While they share some similar malty aspects, they have some differing profiles.
This tea smells very interesting. Malty, sweet, and slightly spicy – that’s my overall impression. Probably most noticeable are the chocolate notes: rich and milky. Following that are the spicy notes: cinnamon for sure, but also clove-like. I’m also getting some leafy/hay-ish notes in the scent.
YUM. I don’t even really like chocolate, but this tea smells amazing.
WOW. This is so different from black teas I’ve had before. I don’t know if I oversteeped it or not (I admittedly got distracted), so I may have to brew up another pot to double check, but I do like this regardless. This is what I’d call a breakfast tea, although it isn’t overly bitter/astringent like breakfast teas I’ve had and disliked. The spice notes are clear throughout, with the clove being a bit more pronounced than the cinnamon – it kinda sits on your tongue after the sip. Also in the aftertaste is a smooth, creamy chocolate. Interesting. The malty aspect is also prominent throughout the sip, giving this a bit of a heavy mouthfeel. I’m liking the sweetness in the cup – it isn’t overt, but it leaves an overall impression. It mixes very nicely with a very slight astringent bite and the spices. The leaf/hay notes I picked up in the smell do come across in the taste, mostly at the back of the sip. They provide a nice earthy aspect that really ties in nicely with all the other flavors going on in this tea.
What I’m finding most interesting right now is that the upgraded version of this tea was what I’d consider savory, while this one is…not. I don’t know that I’d exactly call it sweet, even though there is a definite sweetness in the sip. But it isn’t exactly savory either. I suppose it lies in the middle somewhere. If this doesn’t speak for these two teas being separate beings, I don’t know what does.
I’ve really enjoyed this tea. It’s bolder than I usually dare to go with blacks (I’m learning to be less hesitant), but it is so nicely balanced and flavorful and surprisingly UN-BITTER and smooth. I may just have to make this on my go to breakfast tea. So yummy and so unique!