|"Third best Assam I've tried to date."|
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.
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