Sample #1 in the cheap, hastily purchased Trader Joe’s Tasting of Ten Teas box. I am tired and want to drink something caffeinated that I don’t have to think too much about. Enter Assam Black Tea.

It smells very malty. And surprise! It tastes malty too. In terms of flavor, it’s not complex and does not require me to think much. So it did the job for right at this moment. It’s actually pretty good. It’s not what I’d want if I ordered this from a good tea shop, but considering what it is, it’s much better than bagged tea from Trader Joe’s. It doesn’t taste like pencil lead or anything. There’s even a bit of a malty aftertaste.

I am sure this comes from some wholesaler, but as far as I know, this tea is only available in the Trader Joe’s taster set in a 12 g. sample. It’s one of only two teas in the box that is pure tea. This being Assam, it occurs to me that this tea may have bee grown on one of those horrible Indian tea plantations with inhumane work conditions profiled by the BBC. I don’t think there’s any way of knowing one way or the other, which… So I probably shouldn’t buy more of this kind of thing.

I’m rating this as a 70, which is actually pretty high given my low expectations. But these are obviously subjective ratings. I demand more from specialized companies and judge them more harshly. And “it doesn’t really taste like pencil lead” is not the highest of compliments one could give a tea.

Also, it goes well with the lemon tart that I bought at Trader Joe’s yesterday. My food shopping went a little off track… Anyway, I feel a little bit guilty for saying this, but it’s far better than the Tealated English Breakfast I had yesterday.

Flavors: Bitter, Malt

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I drink black and oolong teas — and am trying to learn a little about puerh these days. I’m in it for the taste, not the appropriated Eastern mysticism. Not so good at keeping my cupboard up to date, let alone making a tea spreadsheet. I don’t really do sipdown reviews because then I’d be judging the tea based on the dust at the bottom of the bag. I think it’s nifty that there are tens of thousands of options involving just this one plant leaf.


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