More Upton thunderdomin’. This morning it was TA38 Mangalam Estate Assam GBOP Clonal SPL vs. TA48 Doomni Estate Assam GFBOP.
Both brewed up that deep red characteristic of Assam. Both smell malty and a bit dark chocolate-y. An early whiff of bitterness, also usual.
Compared to the Mangalam assam this is smoother and less bitter, but still a bit bitter without any milk. Sweeter. Also has a subtle pleasant muskiness the other one doesn’t. Needs only a dab of milk; too much overwhelms it. It’s a gentler assam for sure, but I kind of like it…it reminds me of some of the elements I love from darjeelings. I’ve really got to find some way to stop being sexist in these reviews when it comes to categorizing flavors, but it feels like a more “feminine” take on what I tend to think of as a masculine kind of tea.
This is tricky, because it’s still assam-y in that it’s what you reach for in the morning when you just want to wake up and aren’t concentrating too hard on subtle nuance and perfume. And in that regard, as a wake-you-up tea, the Mangalam is much better, and takes much better to morning accoutrements like milk. This one’s softer and more conducive to contemplation and as such feels like an afternoon tea—but with too much of a jolt for that time of day, and always with the fact darjeelings (and Nepali blacks, and smoke-floral blends…) already do the job looming. So I kind of feel for this tea—it doesn’t have a place to go, a time of day to call home, where it belongs better than any other options. Yet it’s a perfectly fine tea. Aw, a misfit tea.