No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1

Tea type
Black Tea
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Astringent, Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Caramel, Fruity
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Edit tea info Last updated by LiberTEAS
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 9 oz / 275 ml

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58 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Damn you Terri! No orders until June! WANT! MOAR! NAO! Holy hannibel, i had this in the morning and let me tell you, i have a single normal person cup's worth left and it might just be...” Read full tasting note
    Silaena 5049 tasting notes
  • “*My 1000th Posting on Steepster!* I really felt that I had to pick something especially good to celebrate, but I've got about 300+ teas here now, & I love so many of them. I thought about going...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 3002 tasting notes
  • “Okay, I decided to try it again this morning at 3 minutes 30 seconds… it is a delightful assam. Malty and very rich, an excellent breakfast tea. There is something floral about it, but the finish...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2463 tasting notes
  • “I'm finishing off the last that I had of this tea in my stash, it is one that will be missed. One of the nicest Assam teas I've had. Lovely, rich, malty ... caramel-y. YUMMMM!” Read full tasting note
    LiberTEAS 4449 tasting notes

From Steven Smith Teamaker

The legendary breakfast tea from the upper Assam valley of India. Full-flavored, rich and chewy with notes of caramel and malt, this tea is bright and coppery in the cup and makes a great wake-up any time of day.

About Steven Smith Teamaker View company

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58 Tasting Notes

532 tasting notes

Holy cats. This is one awesome Assam. Caramely and malty. Yeah, this will have to be purchased. The question will be if I can wait until going there in person next May/June or if I will have to order it before then. :)

Thanks for sharing, Sil!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

YAAAAAY!!! so glad you like this and now you know why brahim is “good” but not AS good… haha


Oh, yes. :)


That’s what I had this morning also. ;)

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382 tasting notes

It’s bitter and I don’t want to drown it in milk and sugar. Tried diff parameters. At Steven Smith the lady suggested to make it 12 oz water 1tsp 5min steep. Bitterness decreased but it was kinda diluted not enough flavor. I prefer H&S Nahorhabi Full leaf Assam

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I don’t know what’s going on with this tea. I used to love it so much. After my last drinking of it, I did notice a lot of tea powder in the bottom of my cup, that had managed to slip through the finum basket. So I’m thinking that powder sat in my cup & continued sleeping, resulting in a bitter brew. That’s my theory.


Mine is fresh and nowhere near the bottom, no powder. I also noticed that H&S has much more golden tips and smells soo sweet


i tried this one finally recently too, boychik, hoping it’d be awesome because it was so popular here and was disappointed. not terrible or anything, but nothing to write home about. and my experience with the brisk SSTs is that the recommended 5 minutes is way too long (i almost always am fine with recommended info and they’re a rare exception for me).


Hm. I’ve liked the batch I got on BF. I haven’t tried it side by side with Nahorhabi though.

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1199 tasting notes

This is another one of those things I have been holding on to forever, but I wanted something robust and tasty to have at midnight so I didn’t fall asleep on my paper. Surprisingly this was REALLY good despite being old and in a zippered plastic bag.

So. Much. Caramel. Very malty too but in that ice cream malt kind of way. I noticed Whole Foods has some Stephen Smith tea, but in sachets, but I think I may have to try more anyway and that’s an easy way!

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741 tasting notes

TastyBrew to the rescue!
it’s an Assamalanche!
capital A.
big and bright and i can even taste the caramel notes. malty on the nose for sure.
big personality. a strutter.


happy sigh steven wins over another lady with his 49..


I might need to pay them a visit when I go to Portland.

Terri HarpLady

Ah, yes, another convert to #49 :D


Yeah, the reasons to go to Portland next year just keep adding up… :)

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464 tasting notes

Thanks, Sil, for this sample! I kept resteeping this at work today. It has a sweet, full-bodied fruity flavor with a spicy knock in the aftertaste. I could see how this one could get addicting.

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52 tasting notes

Another sample from Anne from LiberTeas (still working my way through this box).

I’ll start off by saying that I chose this tea because I needed something to really get me motivated to get my cleaning for the day done. I’m on vacation from work and wanted to really enjoy the rest of the week in a nice clean apartment. The only problem – I woke up this morning feeling extremely lazy…so I brewed up a nice hot cup of this black tea for a little inspiration as I sat lazily watching TV.

That’s where things get kind of crazy. I ended up spilling the entire fresh cup all over the coffee table. After hastily throwing everything on the floor to avoid the tea flood that was coming its way and wiping up most of the liquid, I looked down into my now empty mug of inspiration. Boo. Good thing I saved the leaves…I’ll just resteep it. Put some hot water in my mug, dropped the tea ball in, grabbed more rags and some cleaner and started cleaning the rest of the mess up. After getting the table wiped down and everything back in its place, I noticed some of the tea had spilt on the carpet so I got my carpet cleaner and started cleaning that up too.

Ah…nice clean coffee table. Okay. Now I’m cleaning and the coffee table looks so good…better just continue on so into the dining room I went. After cleaning up in there I was really going so I decided to continue onto kitchen.

There it was. My second steeping cup of tea…with the teaball still in it. Yup. Definitely oversteeped this one.

So long story short, I ruined both cups of tea and didn’t even get to enjoy any of it. Not even a good sip. BUT – I did however get all of my cleaning done for the day which was exactly what I was hoping from the tea this morning. So in a way I guess this tea did do exactly what I was hoping for. I just wish I’d have been able to enjoy a little of it.

Time to dump the leaves and try again….wish me luck! (I’ll have to reserve my rating until I actually taste it)

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8 tasting notes

This is the perfect black tea. With just a dash of 1% milk, it tastes creamy and rich. It goes perfect with breakfast. Yum!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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601 tasting notes

This is going to be a lazy note for a lazy morning… Boychik sent me this sample, thanks dear. The leaves are fairly broken and dark with only a few scant golden pieces. I did my general black tea steep.

Meh, this one is just okay for me. It’s fairly generic with just malt and some bread notes, along with a fair amount of astringency, which I do not enjoy. Maybe just a touch of honey sweetness on top. Overall, it’s drinkable, but not something I would reach for.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Honey, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

i didnt like it either. too finicky. either too bitter or flavorless. not going to restock.


It’s disappointing when one wants a tea to be good and it’s just maybe mediocre.

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233 tasting notes

Decided to order this one since Steven Smith Teamaker is having a small sale, and since i’m working again I have more money! Glad I took a chance and got this one.
It’s delicious! :O
Rich. Strong. Malty. Fruity. Honey.
A lovely tea!
And guess what! NO WOODY TASTE!
Yah! I’m so excited! :D

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Honey, Malt

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116 tasting notes

I’m very pleased to present a multi-morning review of No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 from Steven Smith Teamaker, Western style without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: I confidently ordered this tea based on LiberTEAS excellent recommendations 2 years ago:

After placing my order, I saw that boychik cautioned 7 months ago that the recent batch of this tea maybe on the bitter side: I then began to wonder … Does this Assam have a consistent taste profile from year to year? … Should I have blindly ordered 4 oz.?

For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. A good time to practice the sitar.”

Note: The incomplete instructions do NOT specify how much tea or water. Is one supposed to assume 1 tsp. (level, rounded, heaping?) and a 6 oz. teacup, an 8 oz. cup, or something larger?

Given boychik’s warning and the incomplete brewing instructions, I was now less certain how much I would enjoy this Assam.

Leaf: Thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.5 cm long or less with many golden tips.
Fragrance: Rich high-quality pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear brilliant copper
Aroma: Malt, caramel & sweet potato – ah!
Flavor: Malt, caramel, honey

1 tsp. (2.6 g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 5 min:
Aroma: Robust and malty.
This is a smooth, rich, malty and satisfying Assam. However, the malty flavor overshadowed any hint of caramel and there was woodiness at the end of the sip.

Having not yet achieved the same results as LiberTeas, I then looked at previous tasting notes for this Assam and tried the following brewing recommendations:

Scribbles: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / “just off boiling” (I used 208F) / 5 min:
To my taste buds, the bold malty Assam still overshadows the caramel. Near the bottom of the cool cup, the sweet caramel was more obvious. There was a dry finish with some astringency near the front of my tongue. Fortunately, the woodiness was no longer present with the lower temperature.

6 & 7-min. – not yet. 8-min – ? 10-min. produced a light-bodied cup with a similar flavor profile.

Nicole: 1.5 tsp. (3.5 g) / 10 oz. / 205F / 2.5 min:
Aroma: Malt with hints of both caramel & sweet potato – ah!
This preparation provided a bold, rich, and malty with a definite caramel sweetness and a dry finish. The cup was very invigorating.

Terri HarpLady: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 3-4 min:
3 min. produced a rich, smooth, full-bodied malty Assam with a yummy caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness and minimal astringency. As the cup cools there is a honey-like sweetness. Very satisfying! Now we’re talking!! Terri’s experience reviewing this tea 12 times truly paid off!

Resteep: Not recommended.

Impression: I’m very pleased to have finally found exactly what LiberTEAS so accurately described in her tasting note. No. 49 is apparently consistent and definitely Carmalicious!

Thanks to all who contributed detailed brewing tips in their tasting notes or the comments of the No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 thread. Your guidance was very helpful for this tea especially given the incomplete brewing instructions.

Recommendation Not having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Having to do so is very inefficient, wastes valuable tea, and IMHO impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration. In retrospect, it’s a very good thing that I ordered 4 ounces!

My favorite tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea every year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket (for 212F brewing)

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I’m glad you have managed to achieve satisfactory results with this tea. I really love Steven Smith’s teas. I realize that I’m not at all precise with my eyeballing of the parameters … I guess after having brewed tea for as long as I have, I just … sort of get a feel for it, and that’s where I work from. I’m not good with timers, scales, measurements or anything like that. That said, I am happy that you found some satisfaction from this tea because it’s a good one!


Wow, outstanding review!


Great review! My grocery store sells the bagged version of this tea, but I think I want to give the loose leaf version a try.


LiberTEAS, Agreed, SST No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 is a good one! Thanks for your recommendation!
I would be curious to know how many tsp. or Tbsp = one bamboo tea scoop?
Since you use a Breville One Touch, it provides the brewing temperature and time. Per the owner’s manual, the “glass jug” has markings for 500ml / 2 cups, 750ml / 3 cups, 1000ml / 4 cups, & 1200ml / 5 cups and a max of 41 oz. of tea.
Adding any of the known brewing parameters to your reviews would helpful. Thanks again!


Thanks Nightshifter!


Thanks Veronica! The SST bagged and loose tea should be identical. However, the bagged version probably more $/oz. for the convenience. Also, with bags you can’t fine tune the amount of tea per cup unless you cut the bag open.

Doug F

Great analysis!


Thanks Doug F!


I didn’t like it. I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters. I didn’t find mine. it was either too bitter or too weak. I had 2oz, maybe 1 or 2 tsp left


“I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters.” Agreed! That’s why I’m a big fan of companies like TeaVivre that provide complete brewing instructions which are optimized for each crop year.


I was annoyed when I called them up to ask what am I doing wrong, the lady was keep telling me same thing over and over 5 min 212F. I love Lord Bergamot and Fez, but I’d rather buy my Assam fr Harney. Mike Harney is very helpful


I agree, there’s no substitute for great customer service.


@looseTman – I don’t think I had the breville back when I had this tea. I could be wrong, in which case, I would say that for an Assam I probably used 205°F water and 500ml for approximately 2 bamboo scoops of tea. I would estimate that the bamboo scoop equals approximately 2 tsp. So yeah, I probably use more tea than I need … but then it’s always been my own personal preference to want a tea strong and as fully flavored as possible.

@boychik – I’m sorry that you encountered poor service from Smith Teamakers. I usually shop in their Portland tea shop, and I’ve always encountered very good service. But, yeah, it can be frustrating when you encounter poor service and I don’t blame you at all for your frustration.


Thanks LiberTEAS! I too like strong full-flavored black teas. I’ll give your brewing parameters a try.


Oh … and with an Assam in the Breville … I always brew for 2 minutes. The reason is that the Breville does keep the water warmer than the process of pouring hot water into the tea pot does, even if you temper your tea pot and cover the tea pot with a cozy to keep it warm. This is something that I did learn from Trial and Error because my Assams would always come out bitter after steeping for 2 1/2 minutes, I realized that it’s because the Breville temp doesn’t drop the way that steeping in my tea pot did.


After making tea just now, I took a step to measure how much tea fit into my bamboo scoop. I would say it’s closer to a generously heaped teaspoon than 2 teaspoons. Of course, this also depends greatly on the leaf itself. Which is why I suppose the most accurate way to get the right amount of tea is a scale. Unfortunately, my stubbornness won’t allow me to get all accurate when it comes to tea measurement. Tea should be simple. No scales.


Excellent review! I’ll have to try Terri’s parameters next time.


LiberTEAS, It’s always good to know what was learned from someone else’s Trial and Error experience. Why reinvent the wheel?
OK, 1 one bamboo tea scoop = 1 generously heaped teaspoon. does this = 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 tsp.?
Any thoughts on this one? How does it compare to yours?
Thanks again!


Thanks Nicole! Yes, Terri’s parameters were a big help! Steepster is a definitely wealth of info!


@looseTman – my bamboo scoop is very much like that one.

I think it would probably be closer to 1.5 tsp.

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