|"...magic. This is a full blown Assam. I can already feel the northern winds in my face and see the sails unfurling."|
This is some strong stuff; I had no reason to expect otherwise. Still, I reiterate, this is not a tea for the faint of heart. Light and airy tisane afficionados need not apply. White tea namby pambys stay away. Tea ritualistas go admire your delicate pots someplace else. This is not a ceremonial tea. This tea should be served with Powdermilk biscuits; it will, "give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done." (Thanks, Garrison.)
It takes courage to face the weather every day in Ireland, and this tea makes you understand why Assam is usually the backbone of any Irish breakfast blend. Innocuous brown-black leaves and pieces brew up a dark amber cup that has a deep, honey-like aroma and front of the mouth flavor, with a background that hints at the spice road, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, even mint.
As usual for black tea in my kitchen, 212 H2O, two rounded teaspoons, five minutes of steeping, sweetened. Then, magic. This is a full blown Assam. I can already feel the northern winds in my face and see the sails unfurling. Another mug and I'll be avasting me hearties and looking for someone to walk the plank. Arrrgh! Or, at least thinking about cutting some turf for the fire.
By the way, I prefer a tannic edge to my Assams, but those who don't should probably go for four minutes, even three and a half. They say the first glass of whisky is drunk by the drinker and the rest of the bottle by that first glass. I've consumed one 17oz mug and it is encouraging me to think about more. I’ll blame it all on the tea. My hunch is that there is plenty of character to take what I throw at it and still be good for at least one more steep.
This really is royalty among Assams. It may be due to the 2,000 foot elevation where it was grown. It may be "the proximity of the hot springs, the climate of the region and the soil conditions." This tea is very much a lesson in the terroir of tea. Whatever has gone into the production of this tea, I will be ordering it for my own shelf. At $2.00 for an 8g sample or $4.50 for 50g, the equivalent of about $28 per pound, this tea is worth it.
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