Time to catch up on another review. The backlog is almost empty now. I ended up buying a sample pouch of this Assam a couple months ago mostly because I was not familiar with the estate that produces it. From what I have read about teas from this estate, they tend to run on the sweeter, more honeyed side, but apparently that was not the case with the teas that were produced during the 2016 harvests.

I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion process. Since I was mostly consuming this as a breakfast tea, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, no additional infusions were attempted.

After infusion, the dark copper tea liquor produced a bouquet that blended aromas of oak, hickory, and black walnut with subtler aromas of cocoa, citrus, caramel, honey, and malt. In the mouth, I picked up intense notes of burnt toast, oak, hickory, black walnut, orange rind, and leather just barely balanced by smoother malt, cream, caramel, cocoa, molasses, and wildflower honey flavors. This tea was fairly astringent to start with, but grew progressively more astringent from entry to swallow.

I did not find this Assam to be terrible, but I also did not find it to be impressive either. It served its purpose as a breakfast tea, but I could not really find many other situations for which it would be suitable. The flavor had a lot of depth and complexity, but I would have liked to see the softer, sweeter flavors more adequately balance the woodiness and bitter, oily nuttiness. All in all, this one was decent, but I have had better. Maybe 2016 was just a bad year for this particular estate.

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Oak, Orange, Toast, Walnut, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Too bad it kept getting more astringent.

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Too bad it kept getting more astringent.

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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