635 Tasting Notes

90

2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Wow!

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.

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85

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.

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85

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.

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85

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.

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90

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.

Michelle Butler Hallett

It does get a bit more astringent as you move down the cup, but the finish remains smooth and sweet.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Blending this 1:1 with a second flush Darjeeling makes a lively, refreshing, and delicious pot of tea.

gmathis

I never thought Assam and Darjeeling would mesh well, but I recently tried a blend of the two and it was delightful.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I got the idea from Harry & Sons’ Harsha, a blend of Assam and Darjeeling, and I was knocked over. Assam and Darjeeling together bring out the best of each other and then combine for something really lovely. I want to order ore of the Hallmark Special Some Black — it’s a wonderful Assam and my new favourite.

gmathis

I’ve still got Teabox on the shopping list…now that I think of it, I need a carrot-and-stick motivator to get a difficult writing assignment knocked out by April 30…I may have just found it :)

Michelle Butler Hallett

:) Tea makes all writing better.

i’ve bene very pleased with everything Ive tried so far form Teabox. I’ve got a fair bit of Darjeeling on hand, so I haven’t tried any yet from Teabox, but I can recommend their Temi Summer Muscatel Black — which also goes well with an Assam.

Eyeballing their CTC Assam this morning, too.

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90

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.

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90

2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.

Oh, this is a lively one! Brisk and bright with lots of malt and some sweet fruitiness. No bitterness. Potent caffeine hit.

gmathis

You have sold me. I am going to start hinting for this assortment for my birthday :)

Michelle Butler Hallett

I swear, I’m not on commission! :)

Seriously, I hope it all works for you. Delivery was quick: Siliguri, Wwst Bengal, India, to St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada in under a week.

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85

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.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The tea has nearly cooled off now, and I can get cherry and stonefruit — still balanced out with that crisp bitterness. A complex Assam that deserves careful attention.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Whoa. Serious caffeine hit to this one. Nice.

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90

4tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.
Picking date: 2 August 2019.

Wow.

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.

ashmanra

^What she said..l

Michelle Butler Hallett

I am super-impressed with TeaBox. I ordered their Assam sample pack and got 15 different Assams to try. I also got 100g of their Temi Summer Muscatel Black, grown in Sikkim, and it’s beautiful.

gmathis

You are making it hard to beat the new tea lust back into submission!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yes, I’m sure I’m no help whatsoever. I hadn’t ordered any tea in AGES, but then TeaBox caught my eye … their tea is super-fresh, too. I’m digging the picking dates on the packaging. The only reason I didn’t get into their Darjeeling collection yet is that I still have, oh, two pounds of 2019 Darjeeling from TeaKampagne to get through.

Sil

myteabox.ca? or somewhere else?

Sil

nm i assume you mean teabox.com lol

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yes, teaboxcom. The tea comes to you direct from Siliguri, West Bengal, India.

Leafhopper

I usually think Assams are too strong, but this sounds wonderful!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yeah, I hear you on too strong. I gave up on Assams years ago — one too many upset stomachs. Teabox recommend 85 to 95C water, depending on the estate. I’m starting to think that 100C boiling water is just too hot for Assams. (And Darjeelings. I go no higher than 95C for Darjeelings.)

Not one of the Teabox Assams I’ve tried has been bitter, and the maltiness so far is present but not stripping the lining of my mouth.

I got a sample pack of single estate Assams. The sample pack is on sale for $50 Canadian right now, and you get 15 different 10g/0.4oz packets of different estate Assams. (Lord, I sound like I work for them. Sorry about that.)

Leafhopper

I usually steep both Assams and Darjeelings at 195F; I may have to go lower on the Assams. If I literally didn’t have over a pound of Darjeeling right now, I might get that sampler set.

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95

4 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk plain. Picking date: 24 June 2020.

Oh
mah
GAWD, this is lovely! It’s an oversimplification to call this a “cousin” to Darjeeling, as this Temi Summer Muscatel is its own tea. Light body with surprising depth, similar to a second flush Darjeeling, with some light musk, a bright, bright muscatel, and some faint minerality that makes me think of fresh, fresh air and water running over rocks. Brisk. Serious muscatel hit. Just gorgeous.

This is the third tea I’ve tried from TeaBox, and I am uniformly impressed.

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Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of CONSTANT NOBODY, THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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