Part VIII of X in a series on classic teas you need to taste
Origin: Assam region of India, multiple estates
Harvest: June to September
- Bistre, with golden to maize colored tips
- Twisted, wiry leaves
- Aromas include peach, grape and light cocoa.
- Brown to russet leaf color
- Smells consistent with dry leaf
- Opened leaf sections
- Dark mahogany color
- Strong briskness
- Light aromas of peach, grape, or faint mango
Assams have a reputation of being some of the briskest black teas available. This low-grown tea of northwestern India comes from one of the most productive tea regions in the world. It is either hot or wet in Assam, and many times both. The tea plants respond well to the conducive conditions.
Much of the tea harvested there is processed through the CTC (crush, tear, curl) method to become bag tea or the base ingredient for chai. Of those Assams that are exported, you will find a few labelled as first or second flush. Second flushes characteristically offer stronger fruit notes. The hot climate facilitates the relative speed with which Assams can be processed, bringing out the heavy briskness characteristic of this tea.
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