Wah! Steepster ate my review of this! So let’s start over again, and try to organize my thoughts… I’m going to have to remember to Ctrl+C my reviews before I click the submit button!
Anyway, the moral of the story is not to drink tea at 11:30 pm. After I had that Yellow Peach late last night, I was incredibly dizzy for hours afterwards. It was fairly awful. It’s sort of funny, because I was at a restaurant earlier in the day, and they had tea from Ito-En on the menu! There was genmai-matcha, matcha, shiso sencha, and some sort of flowering jasmine. I actually declined having the tea because I thought it’d be too late with the caffeine and all. Silly me then drinks a fully caffeinated cup a few hours later. I’m my own undoing.
So I woke up this morning a bit groggy from the antics of last night, and seeking something simple and easy to drink. Scanning takgoti’s box of wonderful tea, I pulled up this one. Thomas Sampson, aka Assam tea from Damn Fine Tea! Yay! I’ve been craving this one a bit since I had Harney’s Assam Golden Tips. I like the strength of Assams, and I figured this one would be no different.
The dry leaves smell like black tea, with a slight hint of cocoa and a bit more depth than something like a Ceylon. It took me forever this morning to try and rid the plastic of my IngenuiTEA of the Yellow Peach smell, but I finally succeeded, and steeped this baby up. The water immediately began to darken, and the tea swirled around as it opened. The leaves aren’t the largest, but they do open a fair amount!
On the pour, I was a bit surprised at how dark this was. The smell coming off of the infusion is rich and deep, with some cocoa notes, and a bit of a malty-like smell. On the first sip… mmm, this is pure Assam. If you don’t like Assam, you won’t like this, but if you do… I’m finding it really hard to come up with concrete things about this tea, concrete tasting notes. Everything in my head is very abstract and vague, as Assam sort of just tastes like itself. But I’ll try, anyway.
There’s a definite pronounced maltiness, especially when the tea is piping hot. It’s not as smooth as the aforementioned Harney Assam, but it has a lovely kick. Almost beer-like. Not really bitter, but more full-bodied, I’d think. This gives way to a nice sweetness as the cup cools down. There’s also this baked quality that I can’t really wrap my head around, but I’m going to try.
It’s sort of like when you dip a rather plain biscotti (not double-chocolate hazelnut or anything like that) into a cup of espresso for a long time, and then eat it. You can still taste the baked qualities of the biscotti, but the flavors have been overwhelmed by the bitterness of the espresso, so the biscotti itself doesn’t actually taste like a biscotti, but rather, like a general baked good taste. Not sweet, but more of something out of an oven with flour. I can’t describe it really, and it’s not there the entire time for me, but it does pop up. I’m thinking that this is what Auggy is referring to when she mentions her mistake cookies.
But anyway, this is a pretty solid black tea. Thomas Sampson doesn’t knock my socks off or wow me or make me want to have his babies. But it’s pretty kickass and yummy for a morning pick-me-up!