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Assam FTGFOP Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

AssamFTGFOPTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

A rich, whole leaf Assam with dark leaves and golden tips produces a bright copper, full-bodied tea. Floral and citrus hints are followed by a malty aftertaste. Lovely with milk and sugar, and a wonderful stand-alone tea.

Ingredients:  Assam Fine Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  That’s the first sound that came out of me as I took a sip of this tea.  There is something that is just so … delectable when it comes to a high quality Assam tea like this one from Simple Loose Leaf.  Is it the sweet caramel undertones?  The malty notes?  The hints of cacao that intermingle with the notes of fruit and flower and earth?  Or is it a combination of all these?

For me, it’s how the cup comes together.  It’s the sum of the parts.  The tea is rich and full-bodied.  It has a certain gusto to it that invigorates me, which is why I tend to reach for teas like this as my first cup of the day.

I also love the sweetness of the tea.  The creamy caramel low notes meld with the malty notes of the tea to create this decadent sweetness that compliments the cacao notes.  Then I taste the notes of flower and fruit in the distance.  It’s earthy and warm.  And as you’re starting to feel just a little cozy with the sip, those fruit notes come through to add a touch of brightness to the cup.

But how to brew it?  I have found that Assam teas tend to be rather finicky.  They don’t like to be kept in hot water too long or they’ll become quite bitter on you.  Sure, this is true of many teas, but I find it to be particularly true of Assam, and even a matter of 15 – 30 seconds too long can mean a cup that’s more bitter than you want it to be.

For Assam, I go with 205°F rather than the full-on boil, and then I steep the tea for no more than 2 1/2 minutes.  If I steep the tea in my Breville One-Touch tea maker (which is what I did today), I steep the tea for only 2 minutes.  500ml of freshly filtered water with 2 bamboo scoops of tea in the basket and I pushed the button to make my magical machine go.  Two minutes later, I was treated to a fragrant, delicious cuppa!

This is a really good Assam.  I like this tea best served hot, and it takes the additions of milk and honey well if that’s what you like in your tea.  I personally like this straight up, it’s edgy and it gives me a good shake awake.  When I want an indulgent treat, I sometimes drizzle some pure maple syrup in my cup and yum!

Another awesome tea from Simple Loose Leaf!  Have you joined the Selection Club yet?

Organic Sungma FTGFOP-1 Black Tea from Kally Tea

SungmaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kally Tea

Tea Description:

Sungma – This is one of the most respected tea estates in Darjeeling. This black Darjeeling tea offering produces a wonderfully balanced liquor. This is what you come to expect from top tea estates in taste and aroma. 

This grade of tea “FTGFOP-1” stands for “Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe #1”.  This tea is hand processed, with one quarter of it consisting of tips.

A joke among tea aficionados is that “FTGFOP” stands for “Far Too Good For Ordinary People” so try this tea and welcome to the ranks of the privileged. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Of the information that is provided for this tea, the one thing that is missing is which flush Organic Sungma FTGFOP-1 Black Tea from Kally Tea was harvested.  But the flavor suggests to me that this is most likely a first flush.  In my experience, the second flush Darjeeling teas tend to possess more of that “muscatel” taste while the first flush tends to be a little more woodsy.

And this tea does have more of that woodsy kind of flavor to it.  In the dry leaf aroma, that’s the first thing I picked up on was a woodsy kind of fragrance, reminding me of the scent one might experience while walking through a heavily wooded forest just after it rained, when the scent of the trees is really prolific.  The brewed tea has some of this fragrance as well, but it isn’t as pronounced as it is in the dry leaf.

The flavor – as I’ve already mentioned – is also woodsy.  It also does have some delightful floral notes in the distance, and some sweet fruity notes that seem to emerge as the tea cools slightly.  The first couple of sips that I tasted, I didn’t really notice a lot of fruit or flower to this cup, but now that it’s had a few minutes to cool to a drinkable temperature, I notice more of the fruity tones and floral notes.

But mostly what I notice here is an earthy, woodsy tone.  It is crisp and focused.  The mouthfeel is pleasant, and the flavor is uplifting.  The fruit notes provide more of a sweetness than a real distinct, identifiable fruit flavor, and it isn’t exactly a muscatel-ish note.  This has some astringency toward the finish, but it isn’t as dry as some Darjeeling teas that I’ve tasted.  It’s really quite enjoyable – a very good afternoon tea.

I don’t know that I’d say it’s Far Too Good For Ordinary People – mostly because I’m not in to arrogance like that – but it is certainly good, and I do appreciate that it’s part of Kally Tea’s organic line of teas, and it’s a good one to try if you’re looking for a good quality Darjeeling.

Jun Chiyabari Nepalese Black Tea from Imperial Tea Garden


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Description:

Jun Chiyabari is a luxury black tea (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) with ethereal notes of muscatel that whispers true himalayan beauty.  Grown on mountainside elavations reaching 7000 feet above sea level in the Hile Hills Dhankuta district of Nepal.  The exceptionally clean air, rich mountain soil and pure sunshine help Jun Chiyabari continually exceed the quality of many darjeeling teas.   It is no surprise that Jun Chiyabari black tea ranks so high as a source for powerful antioxidants.  With polyphenol levels of 10.7% by dry weight, this is truly a gourmet black tea for the connoisseur and those individuals that desire a healthy black tea alternative.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Having tried a couple of Jun Chiyabari teas, I was only too happy to be in possession of another sampling of this Nepalese black tea.  Imperial Tea Garden has the “touch” when it comes to selecting top notch teas, and this offering is an example of what I mean.

This is a delightful “Darjeeling-esque” black tea is very much like a second flush Darjeeling, with notes of muscatel, its compelling fruit notes, hints of earth and wood, and a dry finish that is reminiscent of wine.  It has a fair amount of astringency that leaves the palate feeling clean after each sip.  The aftertaste is sweet and grape-y!

This tea also has a slightly heavier texture to it than a typical Darjeeling, which I would ordinarily classify as a light or even sparkling sort of texture.  This has a texture that is more like a Ceylon.

A really charming cup of hot tea in the afternoon, or if you are looking for iced refreshment, this tea tastes great chilled and served with a sprig of mint!

Yunnan GFOP Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

High-grown Yunnan of excellent quality. Sold by some as the best available, this grade is actually the best of the commonly available grades. Brisk flavor without the harshness of lesser Yunnan teas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Yunnan GFOP from Upton Tea Imports is a really lovely Yunnan.  It is is everything that you expect from a high quality Yunnan.  It is sweet, malty, rich and has a delicious peppery overtone.

The leaves are long and wiry, and vary in color from a golden tan to a chocolate-y brown.  The tea brews up dark, and smells slightly earthy, with notes of spice.

This tea has very little astringency, and no noticeable bitterness.  It’s really a pleasant tea to sip – very agreeable!  The aftertaste is slightly spicy with sweet notes.

This is a rich and robust tea, which makes it a good choice for a morning tea (and would take the additions of milk and honey well, although I prefer it served straight), this tea would also do quite well as an afternoon pick-me-up.


Flowery Pineapple Oolong from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

This light delicate tea pairs our premium Wen Shan Bao Zhong with a light pineapple flavor. The buttery and orchid notes of the oolong as well as its light body marry well with the pineapple flavor for a well-balanced soft tea. Without sugar this oolong has a wonderful light natural flavor but add a little brown crystal sugar for a stronger yet still natural pineapple flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I found this tea very difficult to brew.  You see, the dry leaf of this tea smelled so AMAZING that I didn’t want to put it into my teapot to start the brewing process!  The pineapple aroma was so deliciously tropical, and I could smell the floral tones from the Wen Shan Bao Zhong, and these two notes together were so beautifully fragrant that it was positively mesmerizing.

Finally, I managed to break the enchantment that this aromatic tea held over me and allowed the tea to brew.  Normally, I brew Oolong teas in my gaiwan, but with flavored Oolong teas I usually make an exception and steep it in my Breville One-Touch instead, which is what I did.  175°F for 3 1/2 minutes.

The aroma of the brewed tea is almost as incredible as that of the dry leaf.  The scent has softened somewhat, but I still smell this unbelievable fragrance of floral notes from the Oolong and juicy pineapple.  This scent should be bottled!

The flavor is just as delicious as the fragrance.  The overall cup presents itself in a very soft, supple way – it is very luxurious to sip.  The flavor is sweet and juicy and pineapple-y, with delightful floral notes that weave their way in and out throughout the sip.  The texture is smooth and silky.  As the tea cools, I notice that the flavors become almost creamy, like a pineapple smoothie in tea form.  It’s very refreshing and rejuvenating.

One of the nicest pineapple flavored teas I’ve tasted in quite some time!