Review: Friday Afternoon Rembeng Estate Assam

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Friday Afternoon, Single Estate Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!"Third best Assam I've tried to date."
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The Rembeng Tea Estate in Northeastern India's Assam state is situated near the banks of the Brahmaputra River (wherever that is), and is credited with pioneering tea production in Assam proper. Tea plants were discovered to be native to the region as early as the 1830s, but proper cultivation didn't begin until 1839 after some hits and misses. Those being, trying out other tea leaf cultivars before throwing in the towel and going with the locally grown Camellia assamica varietal.

I'm still knew to Assam teas, aside from maltiness, I'm a bit rusty on identifying other nuances to the regional beverage. Darjeelings are far easier to peg down. Assams can vary. Borengajuli Assams have a floral lean to 'em, while - say - a Banaspaty possesses dryer characteristics. At a local tea shop, I was treated to an impromptu Assam tasting from four different estates. Finally, I did peg down a similar underlying aspect between all of them - the aroma. There was a chocolaty, alcohol-like bite to it like an Irish coffee. Couldn't say for sure if this was a documented "across-the-board" trait, like Darjeeling muscatel notes, but it's what I found.

Friday Afternoon's Rembeng had this as well - a scent of chocolate, citrus, and a bite of some sort along with sweetness. The leaves themselves looked like typical Assam in their dark twistiness. A tippy gold presence also dotted the batch, but only in a few places. This promised to be quite strong.

I couldn't find brewing instructions for this on the Friday Afternoon site. Truth be told...I couldn't find anything about it; the product wasn't even listed. As a result, I went with a lighter black tea brew approach - 1 teaspoon in 8oz of boiled water for three minutes. Sure, I could've gone for longer - it was an Assam, after all - but I leaned toward subtlety.

Even with my usual lighter infusion time, the liquor colored to a deep maroon with a slightly smoky and malty steam fragrance. I could make out a bit of dryness on the nose as well. It was very black tea-ish in this regard. The taste puzzled me. I didn't get the usual malt kick on the tongue. Instead, I was greeted with something honey-like, nectary, and with a caramel lean. It's texture was earthy in a leathery sense, but not as overpoweringly so as a pu-erh. The biggest surprise was the lack of bitterness to it and next-to-know astringency. At an extra minute, there might be some, but with my approach...none.

Third best Assam I've tried to date.

— To purchase Friday Afternoon Rembeng Estate Assam, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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One Response to “Review: Friday Afternoon Rembeng Estate Assam”

  1. Marlena Says:

    Companies I have dealt with that only sell Assam, all recommend brewing for no more than 3 minutes. i have found the teas do taste better in this range, and I have had some lovely honey, caramel etc. teas this way.

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