Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: KTeas
Freshly picked 8 June 2011.
“Chai” is a word meaning “tea” in many parts of the world. In addition, these CTC black tea leaves are called “chai” because they make a popular base to which to add those luscious spices that turn the tea into the deliciously spicy beverage we call “Chai”. These CTC leaves of second-flush assam can certainly steep into a thoroughly enjoyable cuppa all on their own … well, okay, maybe add some sweetener and milk or cream (yes! this tea will stand up to cream!).
If you’re like me, when you first saw the name of this tea, you thought this would be a spiced tea blend. It is not. Here, “chai” is used as it was originally intended: to mean “tea” and not “spiced tea.”
By now, I’ve tasted several of the Estate teas offered by KTeas, and I’ve been impressed with every single one of them that I’ve tried. And this brilliant cup of CTC-BOP Assam from the Glenburn Estates is no exception.
One thing that impresses me about these Estate teas from KTeas is that it says – right on the package! – the date this tea was harvested. So I know the tea that I’m drinking is very fresh. And one sip tells me that the tea I’m drinking is very delicious!
This Assam is bold and full-flavored. It has a very bright flavor with a prominent malty flavor. It has a very strong character: this tea can get you GOING in the morning; even on those mornings when you’re feeling sluggish and really need a boost. This tea will give you that boost you need.
This tea has a sweetness to it that is quite like burnt sugar caramel. The sweetness is enhanced by the aforementioned malty tones, and these two qualities linger long into the aftertaste. There is a fair amount of astringency here, but I don’t mind it. If you want to curb it a bit, add a splash of milk to the cup – this tea takes it quite well.
Because this is a CTC-BOP, the leaves are granular – about the size of a grain of couscous! – and you’ll want to take this into account when you steep the tea. Use a little less tea when you measure the tea and do not infuse quite as long as you might steep a whole leaf tea; otherwise you may end up with a somewhat bitter brew. With this tea, it is definitely worth the extra thought and effort to steep it correctly, because the reward is a delicious cup of Assam.