My recent Assam binge has continued this week, and wanting something a little different, I settled on this CTC Assam from Tealyra. To be honest, I grew up with CTC Assams and have long held an affinity for many of the teas produced by the Mangalam Estate. I sort of expected to like this one from the start.
I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion process I tend to favor for non-Chinese black teas and many black tea blends. I steeped around 1 teaspoon of granulated leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 3 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted. Just as a warning, understand that I tend to prefer CTC teas on the brisk and astringent side and I went into this review session trying to bring those qualities out to a certain extent. Reducing the steep time from 30 seconds to 1 minute creates a smoother, silkier brew.
After infusion, the dark mahogany liquor produced the mildly malty, leafy aroma that I pretty much always get from CTC teas of this type. For the uninitiated, that is sort of one of the drawbacks of CTC processing. It tends to flatten the bouquet of any tea. In the mouth, I was rewarded with strong, lively notes of oak, malt, cream, molasses, leather, brown toast, toffee, black cherry, black walnut, roasted chestnut, figs, and raisins. The astringency was pronounced, especially on the finish, which emphasized lingering sensations of black cherry, raisins, toffee, oak, malt, and molasses.
In my opinion, this was an excellent CTC Assam. I know a lot of people do not tend to care for many teas that are processed in this manner, and quite frankly, I understand that. Many CTC teas can come off as bland, simple, and overly astringent, but I did not find that to be the case with this tea. Though it was not particularly expressive on the nose, it was richly flavorful, brisk, and wonderfully textured in the mouth. Personally, I found this to be a near perfect breakfast tea either on its own or with a splash of milk, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a flavorful and affordable Assam to serve as a morning pick-me-up.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Toast, Cherry, Chestnut, Cream, Fig, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Oak, Raisins, Toffee, Walnut