Continuing the plow-through of Indian black teas, we come to this high-grown Assamica from Arunachal Pradesh. Teas from this state do not seem to be as widely known in the West as those from Assam, Darjeeling, and the Nilgiris, but the estates of Arunachal Pradesh are beginning to develop a reputation for producing some quality teas. This one I found to be interesting, though I think I would prefer a more orthodox Assamica in most instances.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of cream, malt, and wood. After infusion, I detected a potent blend of cream, malt, raisin, caramel, toast, wood, and molasses aromas. Teabox kept insisting there was a date-like scent in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. In the mouth, the liquor offered pronounced, vigorous notes of malt, cream, brown toast, wood, caramel, molasses, sweet orange, honey, date, and raisin that eventually revealed traces of hazelnut, vanilla, and roasted chestnut. The finish was moderately astringent and displayed lingering touches of malt, toast, and cream balanced by honey and nut flavors.
This was a very nice tea. I appreciated how flavorful it was, but at the same time, I also found its flavors to be a bit heavy-handed and overly exuberant, even for an Assamica. If nutty, malty teas or big, powerful aromas and flavors are your thing, then this tea will most likely be up your alley, but if you are the sort of person who enjoys a little more refinement, subtlety, and balance in your brews, then this may be just a tad much for you. I kind of fall somewhere between those two extremes, and personally, I enjoyed this tea, but ultimately felt that there were other Assamicas I would consistently reach for over this one.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Toast, Caramel, Chestnut, Cream, Dates, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Raisins, Vanilla, Wood