As I noted recently in a tea review at my own site, the final few months of 2012 were quite a bonanza to a black tea-loving fellow such as yours truly. A pile of samples came flooding in (okay, just a slight exaggeration), and some of them were quite good, thank you very much. Among these were a number of quite nice Assam varieties – always a big favorite with me.
I rarely let an opportunity pass to discuss Assam tea, in general, but I’ll be brief. The Assam region in India is one of the world’s largest tea-growing regions and turn out almost exclusively black tea. From the point of a black tea connoisseur, a lot of this output is perhaps not quite what you’d call top-shelf stuff – and that’s putting it mildly. On the other hand, some of the best black tea I’ve ever had the pleasure to sample has come from Assam.
One of the last Assam teas I reviewed was also from The English Tea Store. I was quite fond of their Organic Assam TGFOP, which I covered here not so long ago. But as good as that one was I’d have to say that their Borengajuli Estate is on an entirely different level.
Lesser varieties of Assam – and there are many – are marked by a distinct lack of flavor and usually tend toward astringency (that quality that makes your mouth want to pucker) and especially bitterness. None of which turned up in this particular variety.
While you can’t always tell if a tea is going to be good simply by smelling the dry leaves, sometimes you can and this was one of those times. As soon as I opened the package the strong aroma of the leaves jumped out at me, and I knew this would be a good tea-drinking experience. Steeping the tea and drinking it didn’t do anything to change my mind on this point. The rich full-bodied flavor was everything the aroma promised and then some. As is so often the case when I review tea, I found that there was a flavor note here that I couldn’t put my finger, no matter how hard I try. But the bottom line is that this is a great black tea and I’m happy to have had a chance to sample it.
For some additional perspective on this tea, refer to this archived review by our Esteemed Editor.
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