I started working on a sample pouch of this tea prior to going to work this morning. In my opinion, there is nothing quite as effective as Assam when it comes to getting one started in the morning. Unfortunately, this one did not do much for me. I don’t feel like I was able to get it quite right.
I prepared this tea Western style. I tried to prepare this tea two ways. First, I steeped 4 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I later steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 194 F for 3 minutes. Both preparations produced extremely similar results.
Both infusions produced a mellow woodsy, malty bouquet with hints of caramel, butter, and molasses. In the mouth, I mostly picked up butter, malt, and wood notes with hints of honey, molasses, cream, chestnut, hazelnut, and brown toast. There was very little astringency or bitterness, which was nice, but I didn’t find much to latch onto period.
I don’t know about this tea. I’m going to try it again later, but so far, I do not have particularly strong feelings about it either way. Normally, the so-called golden ratio of 3 grams of loose tea per 8 ounces of water (and I never fill my teacups to the brim, so I’m never really using a full 8 ounces) works for me, but I don’t feel like it did here. Looking at the leaves too, I could tell that this was a high quality tea. It just didn’t do much for me. It came across as being timid and stuffy.
ADDENDUM: I just finished the final 3 grams of the sample pouch, and I have to say that I like this tea a little more now. It had kind of a leafiness and grassiness up front that I hadn’t noticed before. It also had a touch of cocoa that I picked up on the finish. Compared to many of the Assams I have tried, this one was very light and mellow. I found this tea to be a very backloaded tea in the sense that, for me, the flavor was at its best, boldest, and most complex right around the swallow. It still wasn’t really my thing, but I could see this being good for someone who wants the caffeine punch of Assam or other strong black teas, but doesn’t necessarily want the heavy maltiness, syrupy mouthfeel, or pronounced astringency.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Caramel, Chestnut, Cocoa, Grass, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Toast, Wood