Breakfast tea of the day, courtesy boychik! Touched because apparently it may not get restocked at all this year, but she still sent me some anyway (she even weighed the bag for me!). People are wonderful.
This is rather unlike any other Assam I’ve had. The steeping aroma smells like rum or perhaps brandy to me, or like hot raisins that have been plumped with said spirits and burst with steam and sticky sugar-liquor. There is the deep, earthy, rasping wood that borders on too bitter that I associate with Indian teas (others describe it as that “powdery” mouth-drying astringency) and love (that kind of bitterness I enjoy!). It kind of evokes bittersweet chocolate. I can see how this would be a champ at taking milk and/or sugar, but I’m loving it plain right now. I like how deep and complex and serious it is. I’m tempted to say it’s one of my favorite Assams now…it has the murky depth I love in my favorite Capital Tea Ltd. Assams, less sweetness (which to me is not a bad thing, especially in the morning). I like it more than many of the Steepster faves I tried throughout last year like Tiger Assam and SST 49. The flavors are so deep but it manages to stay drinkable (for me, I couldn’t detect/appreciate the ones in Tiger Assam, too faint and smoothed out to me, and SST 49 doesn’t achieve enough complexity before it edges into undrinkably strong and unpleasant territory). And Nicole’s right; this is one of the few teas I’ve had where the aspect of bitter tang from ferment-y fizzy liquor is so strong I feel vaguely like I’m drinking beer for breakfast. Might sound gross or off-putting to some but I find it delicious.
Now I am pining for more much like boychik. This is going on my “stock this if you ever get a chance” list. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who prefers the relative softness and sweetness of Chinese black teas over the briskness and woody astringency of Indian or Ceylon legacy teas, but if you like the latter but find many lack complexity or feel a little wan, disappointingly thin, this is one to try!