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.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: KTeas
picked 10 June 2011
Direct from the Glenburn Tea Estate in Khongea, Assam, India!
10 June 2011 harvest pouches contain 8oz (227g). At Glenburn’s recommended 2.5g in 200ml (7 fl-oz) water, each pouch yields about 90 teacups at 26¢ per teacup.
2010 harvest tins contain 3.5oz (100g). At Glenburn’s recommended 2.5g in 200ml (7 fl-oz) water, each tin yields about 40 teacups at 43¢ per teacup.
This is OH-SO-GOOD! Like fabulously fantastically good.
The picture above does not deceive, there really are a bunch of golden tips in this tea. I know that sometimes with “tip” teas, there are relatively few tips. Not so here. This tea is loaded with golden tips. It’s beautiful!
This tea produces such a rich, delicious cup of tea. It is robust and possesses a beautiful malty tone. I can really taste the freshness with this tea, and it makes all the difference!
There is a very pleasing undercurrent of sweetness to this tea, it is caramel-y in flavor with a subtle burnt-sugar taste. That subtle burnt-sugar flavor emits a very delicate bitter note. This is a savory bitterness, not the “Oh no! I over-steeped the Assam” bitterness, and it lends a delightful depth of flavor to the cup.
It is a smooth Assam with a moderate amount of cleansing astringency at the tail. I don’t find this astringency to be particularly drying in nature, but, it imparts a clean feeling allowing this taster to enjoy the sweet aftertaste.
Tea connoisseurs take note: this Assam is exquisite. You really must try it!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: TeaVert
This tea has large elegant leaves with golden tips, and it is an orthodox rolled black tea. Golden tips, or buds on the leaves, increase the sweetness of the tea. Larger-leaf teas are generally rarer and twice as expensive to produce.
TGFOP translates to Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Teas from Khongea tea estate are always rich in flavor, deeper, and malted.
I love writing about tea (obviously, right?) but it becomes a true JOY when I have a tea such as this about which to write. This tea is one of the very best Assam teas that I’ve ever tasted.
It has a robust flavor that is very malty. One of the maltiest teas I’ve yet to encounter. It is a very rich and delicious tea. It has real GUSTO and is strong enough to get me going in the morning. There is some astringency at the tail, but because of the malty flavor that seems to coat the palate, the astringency does not effect the palate in the same way as some other black teas might. Interesting … and delightful!
There is a chewy flavor and texture to this tea that most Assam teas that I’ve tasted only hint toward but this one really delivers. It has a baked quality to it and it would be delightful to serve along with freshly baked scones! It would actually compliment the deliciously biscuit-y character of the scones quite nicely.
Many add milk and honey to their Assam, and this one would take those additions very well. I am finding it equally as nice without the milk and just a little honey, which brings out some of the sweeter, underlying qualities (lovely caramel-like tones mingling with the malty taste!) of the Assam which are a little hard to detect without the sweetener. But if you’re looking for strong, edgy tea goodness, serve this one straight!
On the package, the steeping parameters suggested by TeaVert are four to five minutes, but I found that three minutes is a much better time for this Assam. The first time I tasted it, I steeped it at four minutes and I detected notes of bitterness. This time, I steeped it at just three minutes, and no bitterness whatsoever! It’s perfect!
This is the first tea that I’ve tried from TeaVert … and it’s a good one! With a starting point such as this, it makes me eager to want to try other teas they offer! Delicious!