This is my first time brewing a loose full-leaf Assam (have tried a CTC before). As with all loose teas, I am brewing this gongfu style. Even with the Indian and Sri Lankan teas meant for Western style brewing, I just don’t really find myself enjoying them as much when they are brewed really potent. I prefer to fragment the taste into shorter infusions rather than getting it all in one cup.
This Assam reminds me of something between a Yunnan and a Darjeeling. It’s got a nice floral aroma at first, but with deep, rich flavors like molasses and yeast. In the second infusion it’s got a flavor reminiscent of cranberries, with the bitterness to accompany, and it’s slightly astringent.
By the third infusion, the flavor’s seeming kind of flat to me. It’s tangy and bitter, still reminding me of cranberries.
I understand that many tea drinkers drink these heavier Indian black teas with cream and sugar. This may be the way to go in regard to this kind of tea, for me. I may make this East Frisian style and update with another review in a bit.
Update: Okay… so for the sake of like… science and stuff… I brewed some Western style with cream and sugar. I’m just not really sure what to think. It has a bitter finish even with sugar that really sticks in my mouth and I don’t like it. The taste is sort of pruney and woody. It’s not awful, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to drink this tea again. I’ve had bagged black teas that I enjoyed more.
Flavors: Cranberry, Molasses, Yeast