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Sometimes my life gets so distracted and busy that I forget I ordered tea, and when it arrives, I feel like I just got presents. Today was one of those days. Stuff from the Tao of Tea and, coincidentally, the Sticky Rice Tuo-Cha from today’s Select company. That’s probably worth investigating before the Select ends! In the meantime:

What an interesting Assam.

When I think ‘golden tips’, I think Golden Spring, those amazing, delicious, fluffy spirals of black and bright gold sitting in a can on my kitchen counter. That’s sort of what I expected when I opened this can, but alas, such was not to be the case…the processing for an Assam produces the same very dark and brittle tea-splinters as usual, though there’s no difficulty in seeing the tips, they just aren’t as dramatic as I (erroneously) anticipated.

The smell of the dry leaf reminded me a great deal of figs. Steeped, the tea has that same figgy, prune-y, raisin-y quality that most Assams have, malted but somehow lighter than the other Assams in my cabinet. I feel as though the tea is missing a ‘bottom end’, if that makes any sense, or has less of one than the extremely punchy teas I’m used to now…which may just be a factor of this tea’s lack of astringency. It has a very mild bitterness (I may need to reduce my steep time from 3 1/2 minutes), but that bitterness isn’t astringent at all — this is a very smooth cup.

As it cools, there’s more sweetness lingering at the end of the sip, which I like.

All in all, it’s a tasty Assam and a bit lighter than what I’m accustomed to drinking, but it has a nice aftertaste without the mouth-drying qualities of the stiff Assams I cling to for dear life in the morning, and I think it will make an excellent option for my afternoons.

Edit: The tepid, room-temperature tea — half an inch — left in the bottom of my cup had the most incredible scent of liquid turbinado sugar…a sweetness that was, of course, not really reflected in the tea, but…yum.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Bio

Ohhh, I dunno. I like tea but I’m kind of a tea newbie. At this point I can say with authority that I may never be anything else, no matter how many teas I try…there is always something new out there.

I write a lot.

I also play way too many video games.


Ratings! (Bout time, wot?) This is a new arrangement, so…subject to change!

1-10: Not potable. First-sip disasters.

11-30: Intensely unpleasant…won’t catch me finishing the cup.

31-50: I really don’t like it…but maybe somebody else out there would.

51-70: Drinkable, but probably not the first thing I’m going to reach for.

71-90: Pretty good tea, and stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll have on-hand. Will do in a pinch at the low end, all the way up to regular visitors to my infuser on the high end.

91-100: Teas I really do not want to be without.

Location

Boston/Cambridge

Website

http://sophistre.tumblr.com/

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