Name: Organic Assam
Brand: Harney & Sons
Type: Black tea, Assam
Form: Silken Teabags
Review: Assam is a tea that I have a love/hate relationship with. A truly good Assam is a wonderful thing: A great palate cleanser after a big breakfast, a wonderful pairing with chocolate, and a sturdy, bracing drink any time of the day.
The problem is that so many Assams on the market are indifferent, if not bad, teas. Their manufacturers assume that people are going to drink them with milk and sugar, and sell the public on buying indifferent, bitter tea.
Harney & Sons Organic Assam proves that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Now I want to make it clear that this is not a wimpy Assam. It has bold flavors, a brisk (astringent) finish, and a slightly bitter backnote. It does Assam’s usual job of clearing the palate after a greasy breakfast brilliantly. But it also produces a flavorful cup of tea worth enjoying in its own right.
The dry leaf doesn’t have much of a nose, and even when infused to a beautiful medium amber, the nose is very light. The tea starts out smooth, with plenty of malty-sweet character and maybe a touch of light honey. If you are enjoying this tea with food, particularly sweet food, you may only notice a bit of astringency on the finish. If you are enjoying it on its own, you will likely note a bit of bitterness at the end, which is easily mitigated (if you are so inclined) by a bit of milk.
Recommendation: Harney & Sons Organic Assam is a splendid pairing with chocolate and works well with food in general, particularly sweet foods or foods high in fat. If you don’t mind its briskness, it is also a fine tea to sip on its own, though those with a more timid palate may want to add some milk.
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