This tea is grown in the Assam region of India, the largest tea-growing area in the world. Assam tea is much favored by those who enjoy a strong, brisk tea, as well as by those who just have to enjoy their cuppa with milk and sugar.
Flavor Profile: Good Assam is a strong tea, with flavors of malt and honey and often a fairly astringent finish. Assam is particularly known for its ability to stand up to both milk and sugar, resulting in a sweet, creamy, warming brew.
Use in Blends: Assam is the backbone of many English and Irish breakfast blends, and its strong flavor is just the thing to wake you up in the morning. Plus, Assam’s astringency makes it a great option for washing down greasy breakfast food. Assam is also a popular base for chai, as its strong flavor asserts itself in company with so many spices.
Iced or Hot?: I’ve experimented with iced Assam, usually with disappointing results. Assam’s malty characteristics that are so delicious hot can taste “off” when iced. The exception to this is an Assam-based iced chai massala: The other spices mitigate the off flavors, making the iced chai both comforting and refreshing at the same time.
Cautions: Because Assam takes milk and sugar so well, unscrupulous tea vendors often market mediocre Assam because they figure the tea’s weak points will be covered up by additives. Shop around and don’t be reluctant to pay a bit more for a truly good Assam. They are heavenly.
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