|"This was a strong and satisfying Assam with all the rev-up rewards its type are known for."|
I had a recent conversation with someone about gold-tipped black teas. Some of my favorite blacks had the word "gold" in them. Yunnan Jin Cha (Golden Needles), Fujian Golden Monkey, Golden Keemun Hao Ya. As far as I was concerned, having gold tips contributed something honey-like to the character that I adored. This friend, however, said that gold tips were nothing more than garnish. Sure, they contributed something to the taste, but it wasn't always a better "something". Having only tried one other Golden Assam - and loving it - I wasn't sure I saw his side.
This gold-tipped Assam from Glenburn's Khongea plantation in Assam did have gold tips in the batch, but it wasn't completely gold like the Chinese blacks listed above. Tippy pieces dotted the canvas with alacrity, but the majority were the usual fully-oxidzed brown-to-soot-black leaves. That and it possessed the requisite malt scent of a regular Assam - nothing out of the ordinary. I liked what I whiffed, but I didn't "gold" like it.
Brewing instructions on the KTeas site called for 1 tsp. of leaves per 1 cup (7oz.) of boiled water. I went with 1 heaping teaspoon in an 8oz. cup, steeped for three minutes. It was late afternoon and didn't have to brew it that strong.
The liquor brewed to a bright crimson that shimmered upon pour. The nose was all malt with a trail of tannins - about as Assamese as you can get, on a light steep no less. Taste-wise, it possessed a bitter and earthy forefront, which gave way to a roasted malt middle. That, in turn, trailed off to an aftertaste that was like a wisp of tobacco smoke. This was one masculine cup.
I guess I see what my friend was saying about gold being garnish. I noticed none of the delicate honey-esque textures I expected from its Midas moniker. That isn't to say it wasn't wonderful, though. This was a strong and satisfying Assam with all the rev-up rewards its type are known for. Garnish or no, this earns a gold medal.
— To purchase KTeas 06-June Khongea Golden Tips Second Flush Assam TGFOP1, 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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