636 Tasting Notes
Picking date: 4 May 2020.
2tsp for 250mL @90C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.
Dry leaf: small narrow leaves, tan and brown. Aroma: the packet says “mandarin, cantaloupe, and green peas,” but all I get is a lovely earthiness and, of all things, cocoa and malt. My hay fever must be worse than I thought this year.
Wet leaf: lots of bright green and tan. Almost a toasty, good quality Keemun note to the aroma, followed by a promise of muscatel.
Liquor: golden bronze.
WOW. This is a spring flush, so I expected a light and airy, almost green tea flavour. It’s brisk, medium-bodied, and just sparkles with muscatel, and yes, cantaloupe and mandarin notes. (I loathe green peas, so I can’t make an informed comment on that note, beyond a sweet earthiness.) This is a complex but not, I would say, delicate Darjeeling. Utterly delicious. Even more muscatel finish as it cools. This somewhat jaded Darjeeling fan is all a-twitter.
2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.
The description intrigued me: “toasted cereals, firewood, hint caramelized” — which sounds like a good Keemun, but this is grown in Darjeeling.
Cross a good and subtle Keemun with a lively Darjeeling and you get Lopchu.
It is absolutely delicious. It even has some buttery and mineral notes in the finish. It’s not smoky, not like lower grade Keemuns or a full-on lapsang, but there’s definitely a toasted grains/ Grape Nuts thing happening. It’s a tiny bit drying on the tongue. Some floral notes as it cools.
Complex and fascinating.
2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 4 minutes 15 seconds.
Dry leaf: wiry and long, ranging from cream to dark green in colour. Scent is very floral, a heady jasmine.
Wet leaf: large light green leaves and a fair bit of stem, but the stem has opened up nicely.
Serious jasmine scent. Glorious.
Liquor: pale, pale gold. Scent is creamy jasmine with just a hint of something sharper, something else floral. Beautiful delicate whit tea mouthfeel and genuine-tasting jasmine versus perfumed-soap jasmine.
I adore jasmine teas. I’ve not had one for ages. I generally prefer white tea to green, so this one’s a real treat.
No soapiness or bitterness so far in the taste; there might be if I’d steeped it much longer.
One of the better offerings from DavidsTea.
I’ve used my entire sample of this gorgeous creamy Assam in a pot, half Chota Tingrai, picking date 22 May 2019, and half second flush Darjeeling, picking date 2018, from the gardens Chamling, Chongtong, Monteviot, Moondakotee, Mullootar, Nagri, and Nurbong. This 2nd flush Darjeeling came via TeaCampaign Canada.
The Chota Tingrai is a creamy Assam. Nice medium to heavy body, so lots of heft to balance out the Darjeeling. Not an assertive Assam, though it is slightly bitter in the aftertaste, probably case I used water at 95C instead of the recommenced 90C.
It plays very well with the muscatel-rich and sparkling Darjeeling. I wish I’d had enough i the sample pack to try the Chota Tingrai on its own, but I was really craving a blended pot today.
I’ll buy it again, for sure.
2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes.
The dry leaf smells soooo good, a really complex mix of cocoa, earth, malt, dates, and fruit.
Liquor is a medium copper.
A hint of bitterness, the sort dark chocolate has, mixed with plenty of malt. I can taste dates. It’s assertive and brisk but also very refreshing. I really dig the dark chocolate notes here.
2.5 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes.
(Packet recommends 2 tsp for 180mL water. Packet also says the caffeine content is high not medium as noted in the Steepster listing.)
Picking date 17 July 2020.
Dry leaf is dark brown with lots of gold. Dry aroma is malty and bready with a whiff of cocoa.
Wet leaf is deep brown with light brown. Aroma is very malty.
Liquor: medium copper, a little lighter in colour than I expected. Aroma of malt and dates.
Malty but not mouth-stripping astringent. Bready. Sweet finish with a ghost of cocoa which then morphs back into malt. Pleasantly brisk. Good full body. This would take honey extremely well, though I’ll keep mine plain. I find I want it a tiny bit hotter, but I wonder is 95C water would bring out bitterness. I also want to blend this one.
I’d recommend this one to both Assam fans and someone trying Assam for the first time.
2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped four minutes.
Picking date: 25 June 2019.
So I just noticed that Teabox recommends 2 tsp for 180mL/6oz of water and not my usual 250mL/8oz for this tea. I’ll try the smaller water amount tomorrow.
Meantime … I am really tired after a busy day, aching all over, and I still have cooking to do. Clearly, tea is the only answer. I chose this one form my sample pack because it’s labelled ‘medium caffeine,’ and I don’t want to be awake at 2 in the morning.
Light-bodied made with 250mL water and very gentle for an Assam. It really does serve up vanilla and honeysuckle notes, even in the dry leaf. The malt waves hello but doesn’t stomp all over the place. Sweet and gentle finish, with an echo of malt. Despite the prevailing wisdom — who decides these things anyway? — that Assam is not an afternoon tea, I’d serve this with cookies and cake at a tea party.
A surprisingly sweet and gentle Assam. Just lovely.
2 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.
Picking date: 12 Aug 2020.
Deep-tasting medium-to-full bodied Assam with a nice hit of malt and some heavy sweetness undercut by some agreeable bitterness in the finish. The bitterness diminishes as the tea cools. Beautiful dark copper liquor. Astringent finish, but not enough to dry out the mouth. The packet lists date palm and maple syrup as tasting notes. I got the dates but no maple — just a heaviness in the sweetness. The bitterness in the finish might sound like a turnoff, but I find it balances things out. I’d love to experiment with blending this one.
4tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.
Picking date: 2 August 2019.
The “raspberry” in the tea’s name is not an added flavour but a pronounced tasting note. Raspberry jam and dates, as the packaging says, and some soft malt. Medium body. Only mildly astringent in aftertaste. Sweet and deep. No bitterness at 90C. I think I’m falling in love with Assams all over again, thanks to TeaBox.