Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tea Tasting Saturday #46 - Golden Tip Assam

Assam is a tea I've tried just once before, and it was not a good experience, so I was curious to see what I'd find this time. Perhaps I just tried an inferior tea, but this week's sampling was a much more pleasant experience!

Category: Assam Black Tea

Purveyor: Harney & Sons

Dry leaf appearance: Skinny little bits of leaf that were so reddish brown and golden in color, I was reminded of rooibos tea!

Wet leaf appearance: Finely chipped mulch.

Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 200 degrees, 4 minutes.

Scent: I've never tasted beer but I have smelled it, and since that is what this dry tea's scent reminded me of I was rather cautious about whether I'd like it. To my surprise and delight, the steeped tea had nothing like that smell, bringing to mind some of the earlier teas I've sampled, those roasted teas with a fruity finish. I found it quite interesting that the dry and steeped tea scents were so very different this time.

Color: Copper penny. I steeped this tea for only four of the four to five minutes suggested, and it turned dark very quickly.

Flavor: Yippee! This tea tastes nothing like that yucky Assam I tried a few years ago. This had a pleasant but very brisk taste, more of what I consider a "traditional" black tea taste. There was a bit of astringency that could probably be offset by a little milk, but this was still very good and a tea I'm certainly willing to try again.

Additional notes: Oh, please tell me you *do* have the book so you can read the wonderful intro to the chapter on Assams! (Tea plantations alernate with gas refineries there? Who knew!) And here's what Michael Harney says about this particular Assam made of pure golden tips: "Created within just the last thirty years, the tea is so rare that it is made only on commission. I have to place an order before the harvest has even begun."

Next week's tea: Mangalam Assam


  1. Yes, those Golden Tip teas are rare and expensive. I must confess I was disappointed when I tried some. It just wasn't the groundbreaking experience it was hyped to be.

  2. Have the book, haven't tried them quite like you - I admire your stick-to-ittiveness.

  3. Thanks for the nice review. I actually read the Assam chapter a few weeks ago after I bought some Assam from a now out of business tea house.

  4. I have always enjoyed Assam tea. That was an interesting intro in the book. Thanks for your review.


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