Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea From Assamica Agro

Today, my review will focus on the Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea from Assamica Agro. You can purchase 250 grams of this tea for USD $19.90 from the Assamica Agro website.

This black tea is a TGFOP grade (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). The leaves were harvested during the second flush season of 2017 from the Kanoka Tea Estate, located in the Sonitpur district, Assam region of India. In accordance with the other partner growers involved with Assamica Agro, Kanoka Tea Estate engages in organic and eco-friendly farming practices. The estate covers about six acres (2.4 hectares). Unlike many now organic estates in the Assam region, the owners of Kanoka Tea Estate historically did not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers on their land. Instead, the team regularly engages in manual removal of weeds from the garden. Vermicomposting and cow-based fertilizers are used to maintain a natural growing environment.

I provided more details of the great business model being enacted by Assamica Agro in my previous reviews of the Queen of Assam Black Tea and the Assam Green Adventure Green Tea. Check out both of those reviews to read about Assamica Agro, and click the links to buy some of their amazing quality teas. The prices are quite amazing also!

Let’s get to the review…

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Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fairly uniform dark charcoal gray color, with a few spots of pale brown, and a few small silverish buds. The blend consists of mostly large leaf fragments, with a few unbroken leaves, some medium fragments, and a few young buds and bud fragments. There are one or two bare stems. The leaves are rolled, and the appearance is similar to other high-end TGFOP black teas from Assam. The aroma is very nice, with scents of grapes, raw cacao, dry rose petals, and a touch of hay.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 190°F (88°C) water for 4:00 minutes. I would normally have used 200°F water for 3:00 minutes, but the package suggested the lower temperature of 190°F for 4:00 minutes.

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Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea – Infusion

The infusion has a rich, vibrant red-orange color. The aroma again is very attractive, with scents of cocoa, roses, wild flowers, and a touch of hay. The body is full, with a lively, mouth-filling texture that seems to coat the tongue. There is a nice, brisk character, and no bitterness. The taste carries the notes of cocoa, roses, wildflowers, and a light touch of grapefruit. The aftertaste is sweet and lightly floral, and pleasantly lingers on the breath for a longer time than expected.

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Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper brown color. The blend consists of mostly large leaf fragments, a few unbroken leaves, and some medium leaf and bud fragments. All leaves are detached from stems. The leaves appear to be younger, but still have the more pronounced hardiness and smooth leathery feel typical of the assamica bush. The aroma is very floral and sweet, with scents of roses and grapes.

As I have come to expect from the products offered by Assamica Agro, this Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea took a classic tea like Assam TGFOP black tea, and crafted it into something truly unique. Yes, one can tell this is an Assam black tea by the color and body of the infusion, but the more pronounced cocoa aroma and taste is the twist on the more commonly found malty qualities found in Assam teas. The floral notes add to the high quality character of this tea. The leaves give at least two very high quality infusions, and the third was certainly worthy of drinking. Again, for the price that Assamica Agro offers this tea for, it is worth every penny!

Many thanks to Assamica Agro for providing this sample of Kanoka Summer Breeze Black Tea, and my compliments to the producers at Kanoka Tea Estate. Keep up the amazing work!

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Queen of Assam Black Tea From Assamica Agro

Today’s review will focus on the Queen of Assam Black Tea from Assamica Agro. You can purchase 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of the Queen of Assam Black Tea for USD $6.90 from the Assamica Agro website. For this price, you will want to make a purchase! A kilogram (2.2 pounds) is only USD $39.50! Add another $11.00 of purchases and you even get free shipping. That’s a lot of seriously high quality Assam teas for $50. And no, I am not accidentally looking at the wholesale pricing!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. This Queen of Assam Black Tea is graded as TGFOP, short for Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (sounds pretty good, right?). This is from the second flush harvest of the 2017 year, hand harvested by the Prithivi Small Tea Growers cooperative, located in the Dibrugarh area of Assam, northern India. Currently, the Prithivi Small Tea Growers cooperate consists of six small tea farms, all of which are Certified Organic by OneCert Asia. In total, the six farms consist of 16 hectares (about 40 acres) of land under tea cultivation.

I have several teas from Assamica Agro that I intend to post reviews of, so let’s save some information about Assamica Agro for those posts.

Let’s get to the review…

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Queen of Assam Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal grey-black color, with a few slightly fuzzy, golden tips in the mix. The mix consists of almost all unbroken leaves and buds, with maybe a few large fragments, maybe not! The pluck appears to be one leaf, some of which include a bud. There are no totally bare stems in the mix. The leaves are hand plucked and twisted, giving them a long, “leggy” appearance. Full, 100% oxidation has been allowed. The appearance in general is very high end, giving it a true “artisan” look. The aroma is also very attractive, with scents of dried Turkish figs, touches of malt and chocolate, and a sweet acidity that I compare to the smell of fresh brewed kombucha. All very good first impressions!

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 mL) cast iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 4:00 minutes.

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Queen of Assam Black Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful, rich orange-red color. The aroma is very attractive, with scents of fresh cut figs, light malt and chocolate, delicate flowers, and a touch of licorice. The body is full, with a deep, layered texture. There is a mild, pleasant astringency, and no bitterness. The taste has notes of fresh figs, malt, chocolate, licorice, and a touch of lemon. The aftertaste carries the sweet malty notes with a touch of licorice. A sweet taste lingers on the breath.

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Queen of Assam Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The blend consists largely of unbroken leaves and buds, most of which are still attached to the shoot. There are a few large leaf and bud fragments, but no bare stems. It is interesting to observe these leaves because they appear to be rather young, yet they are fairly large. This, of course, points to the character of Camellia Sinensis Assamica tea bushes, having larger, broader leaves. The leaves also have a more hearty, leathery feel than their Camellia Sinensis Sinensis cousins. The aroma continues the attractive scents of figs, malt, chocolate, and a light touch of licorice. All very good last impressions!

Seriously, when I tell you to buy a kilogram of this Queen of Assam Black Tea and you will thank me at this time next year, that is not an exaggeration. I even looked up the shipping cost for the kilo alone, and it is only USD $6.00 to Pittsburgh! The total cost being $45.50. Doing some quick math, that comes to less than $0.05 per gram. The amount used in my pot today (8 grams) costs less than $0.40, and I got three good infusions out of these 8 grams. To wrap this math lesson up, I basically can get 375 eighteen ounce pots of this tea for $45.50. Did I mention this is really excellent Assam black tea? Again, you can thank me next year, assuming 2.2 pounds lasts you that long.

This tea was truly a pleasure to experience from the first to last impressions. The appearance and aroma of the dry leaves was high end and luxurious. The appearance, aroma, and taste of the liquid was seriously incredible, and observing the infused leaves was quite entertaining. Consider this post as an expression of sincere gratitude and congratulations to the farmers of Prithivi Small Tea Growers and Assamica Agro for producing such a high quality Assam black tea. Take a bow, if any of you are reading this!

Many thanks again to Assamica Agro for providing this sample of Queen of Assam Black Tea. Keep up the excellent work! Cheers!

GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea from Halmari Tea Estate

Today, I will be reviewing the GTGFOP1 Clonal Black from Halmari Tea Estate, which was awarded a 2017 Global Tea Championship First Place Award in the Fall Hot Loose Leaf Assam category. Congratulations to everyone at Halmari Tea Estate for this accomplishment!

You can purchase 250 grams of this tea for USD $35.00 plus shipping fees direct from Halmari Tea Estate.

I have covered Halmari Tea Estate in detail in previous posts, and the link above takes you to their website, where there is plenty of additional information, so let’s just jump right into the review today.

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Halmari GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark brown color, with a generous portion of fuzzy golden tips. The size and shape of the leaves is also uniform, and consists of small leaf and bud fragments. This tea has a very high quality appearance. The aroma has sweet scents of malt, dark honey, and a light, nutmeg-like spiciness.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 ml) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Halmari GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a deep, amber red color. The aroma has scents of malt, dark honey, roses, and a touch of nutmeg. The body is full, with a brisk and robust character, and a rich, layered texture. The taste has notes of malt, rosebuds, pine wood, and black peppercorn. The notes of malt and pine carry over in the aftertaste.

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Halmari GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper brown color. The leaves and buds are all small fragments, quite uniform in shape and size. The aroma has a dominant scent of malt, with a very light scent of roses.

It’s not difficult to understand why the GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea from Halmari Tea Estate won the first place award in it’s category this year. This product is a very nicely refined, luxurious taste of Assam style black tea. It has the malty, full bodied, brisk character that Assam teas are known for, but with a rich, layered texture, and more complex taste than your typical Assam black tea. This tea deserves to be enjoyed without any additives. However, it is an Assam tea, which always takes well to milk, honey, or any of your favorite additions. Enjoy it any way you choose, but do take the time to enjoy it!

Thanks again to Halmari Tea Estate for providing this sample of GTGFOP1 Clonal Black Tea. Keep up the great work! Cheers!

 

 

Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea from Halmari Tea Estate

Today, I will reviewing the Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea from Halmari Tea Estate. You can purchase 250 grams of this tea for USD $26 plus shipping costs from the Halmari Tea website.

I posted detailed information on Halmari Tea Estate in a previous review of the Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea. However, here is an article from last year from the Telegraph India publication announcing another record breaking price for Halmari Gold CTC Black Tea at the auctions. Halmari Tea definitely does not shy away from competing with itself year after year to produce better quality products and fetch higher prices.

The Assam region of India is not known (yet) for its oolong teas, but Halmari Tea Estate does not let that stop them from experimenting. Certainly, in order to compete with the quality of more established oolong products, management at Halmari knew to use the hand plucked, hand rolled manufacturing process despite the more labor intensive and time consuming work required for it. This generally gives the tea a more high-end, attractive appearance to discerning tea professionals and consumers alike.

Let’s get to the review…

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Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fairly uniform dark charcoal grey color, with a generous portion of fuzzy gold tips (buds). The blend consists of medium to large fragments of leaves and buds.There are no bare stems in the mix. Based on the size of some of the gold tips, I expect to find some unbroken. The leaves are long and wiry. The oxidation level is on the high end, as evidenced by the uniform dark color of the leaves. The aroma has scents of malt, toasted grains, dark chocolate, and daisies.

The dry leaves were placed in a cast iron tetsubin pot and infused in 190°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a gold-amber color. The aroma has scents of malt, fresh grains, light honey, daisies, and dark chocolate. The body is full, with a clean, layered feel. There is a complexity to this tea, having a brisk character, and layers of sweetness and balanced bitterness. The flavor really seems to hit all parts of the tongue. The taste has notes of malt, fresh grains, light honey, daisies, and the bitterness of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is sweet with a light floral touch.

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Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform bronze-brown color. The blend consists of mostly medium and large fragments of leaves and tips, with a respectable amount of unbroken tips, a few leafs that are nearly unbroken, and no totally bare stems or shoots. The shoots show a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves have the heartier, more robust feel of the Assamica tea bushes. The dark color of the infused leaves reflects the higher level of oxidation applied during the manufacturing process. The aroma carries the scents of malt, fresh grains, daisies, and dark chocolate. As they cool, the floral scents become stronger, and a hint of honey comes out.

From dry leaves to liquid to infused leaves, the Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea was very consistent in its aromas of malt, grains, dark chocolate, and daisies. The most remarkable part of this tea, in my opinion, was the complexity of the liquid character, delivering briskness, sweetness, and bitterness in nicely balanced layers. This oolong style tea was notably different than the Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea and the Halmari Gold CTC Black Tea that I have tasted previously. This oolong tea was more delicate, and not as bold and robust as the black teas, making it perfect for the tea drinker who wants the malty taste of an Assam tea without the strong astringency of the typical Assam black tea.

Thank you to Halmari Tea Estate for providing this sample of Halmari Gold Hand Rolled Oolong Tea. Cheers!

Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea from Halmari Tea Estate

Assam, India, home of some of the worlds best known breakfast teas. Recognized for the intense, bold black tea flavors and full bodied brews, Assam teas are generally recommended to be served with a splash of milk and/or a sweetener such as honey or sugar. But to those who are a little more adventurous, I recommend giving the better quality Assam black teas a try without any additives, and truly experience the tea for what it is, an explosion of flavor and texture.  After you experience it pure and naked, then do as you will with the additives. There is certainly a reason that the typical breakfast tea with milk and honey are an international favorite!

I was welcomed back to my office from vacation with a package from Halmari Tea, an estate and factory located in the Moran district of Dibrugarh, a city in the Assam region of north-east India. The package included a variety of orthodox and CTC style Assam black teas, and one Assam oolong. Although generally I do not review the CTC style teas, I have to admit that I tried one yesterday, and was blown away by how good it was, so I will definitely be posting a review on one of the CTC products also. In fact, this particular CTC was so good that it actually has me convinced for the moment that boycotting CTC teas may be doing myself more of a disservice than it’s worth.

Halmari Tea Estate consists of 374 hectares of land under tea cultivation. This estate boasts being ranked in the top nine on the entire planet, a quite impressive accolade. It has been owned by the Daga family for over one hundred years (since 1913), and even today the family members continue to be heavily involved in the day to day operations. Halmari provides a labor welfare program to its 700 plus laborers. Halmari claims to hold the record for the highest price ever commanded at auction for a CTC Assam tea. Overall, it appears to be a very well run, successful estate with a reputation for highest quality Assam teas. The Halmari Tea Estate website offers additional information and a number of excellent photos of the estate. You can also purchase the teas direct from this website, and the prices are quite reasonable. Below is a Google map showing the general location of Dibrugarh, India.

Today I will be reviewing the Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea from Halmari Tea Estate. This tea was harvested in the second flush of the season, in June of 2017. You can purchase 250 grams of this tea from the Halmari Tea website for USD $18 plus shipping fees. This product is offered in loose leaf, or tea bags. Shipping is worldwide, and free with a purchase over USD $50.

Halmari Tea Estate is also active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Let’s get to the review…

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Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform charcoal grey- black color, with a very generous blend of fuzzy, golden tips. The leaves and tips are all medium sized fragments. There are no bare stems visible. The leaves appear to be machine rolled. The leaves crumble easily into crumbs, while the golden tips are a little more pliable. The aroma is truly incredible and fresh, reminding me of one of my favorite breakfast cereals growing up. It has scents of brown sugar, cinnamon, toasted oats, dry roses, and a touch of orange.

The dry leaves were placed in a cast iron tetsubin teapot and infused with 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea – Tea Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful reddish-gold color, bright and clean. The aroma has scents of toasted oats, malt, raw cocoa, and roses. The body is full, with a rich texture, and a brisk character. The taste has notes of toasted oats, malt, roses, raw cocoa, and bitter orange. The aftertaste continues the sweet, softly floral notes. The brisk character leaves the mouth feeling dry, and the rich texture seems to coat the tongue and throat. This tea provides an instant punch of energy and alertness, making it a perfect breakfast beverage.

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Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The aroma carries the scents of oats, roses, and light malt. The leaves and tips fragments are fairly uniform in size and shape.

The Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea from Halmari Tea Estate is a perfect example of why Assam teas are so commonly used in breakfast blend teas, and an excellent specimen of high quality Assam orthodox teas. The aroma of the dry leaves is very welcoming and comforting. The color of the tea liquid is a visual pleasure. The taste of the tea liquid commands immediate attention, and provides an instant boost of energy. The depth of flavor and body is remarkable, and in my opinion requires no additives whatsoever to be enjoyed to its fullest potential. After trying this Orthodox style, and the CTC style from yesterday, it is not difficult to imagine why Halmari has the reputation that it does, and commands the prices that it does at auction. Very impressive!

Thank you to Halmari Tea Estate for providing this sample of Halmari Gold Orthodox Black Tea! It was an excellent reminder of the unique, flavorful character that only Assam teas can deliver. Cheers!

TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Panitola Tea Estate

Today’s review will focus on the TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Panitola Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

The Panitola Tea Estate is located in the Tinsukia district, in the South Bank of the Assam region in northeast India. Panitola consists of about 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of land under tea cultivation. Panitola produces both CTC grades and orthodox grades of black tea. This tea estate developed a well known and popular clone, the P-126A, which is now used in many Assam tea estates where orthodox teas are produced. The N-436 clone is also grown on the estate. Panitola is constantly researching methods to increase the sustainability of the tea garden by using more organic methods of pest and insect control. However, it is not considered an organic garden quite yet. The Panitola Tea Estate has the HACCP, ETP (Ethical Tea Partnership), and ISO 22000:2005 certifications.

The sample packet has been opened, and a surprisingly floral scent is immediately detected. Let the journey begin…

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Dry Leaves
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform charcoal gray to black color, with some golden tips and reddish-brown stems. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, including bud fragments, and some bare stems. The leaves are machine rolled, and have a fairly uniform size and shape. The smell has scents of wild flowers, dark chocolate, ripe grapes, light hay, and light toasted seeds.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time. A very light, yet refreshing, third infusion can be prepared.

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Liquor
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of wild flowers, hibiscus, grape, raw cacao, light hay, and light wood. The body is full, with a rich, tongue coating texture. The taste has notes of ripe red grapes, wild flowers, hibiscus, wood, malt, and a touch of citrus. There is a strong, but not overwhelming, astringency, and a pleasantly brisk character. The aftertaste is sweet and somewhat floral, with a respectable lingering essence.

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Infused Leaves
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. All leaves are small to medium sized fragments, with some bud fragments and bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a fairly uniform size and shape. The smell has scents of wood, wild flowers, grapes, toasted seeds, and forest floor.

The Panitola TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Black Tea was more floral in aroma and taste than I expected. This tea definitely had a tart, citrusy, and floral character, which I described as hibiscus. I did not feel the usual dominant malt qualities that other Assam teas have, and in this particular case, that is not a negative observation. This black tea had a very nice blend of body, texture, and taste, as it was rich but not overpowering. There is no need for milk, cream, or other additives, but this tea could certainly take such additives with positive outcomes.

Thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Panitola TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Black Tea. Cheers!

Hattialli TGFOP1 CL Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Lochan Tea

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I hope this year brings as many interesting reviews as 2014. Let’s get started!

While the experience of the Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is fresh in my mind, I decided to review a product from another tea estate located in the same area of Dibrugarh, India. Today’s review will focus on the TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Hattialli Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

Hattialli Tea Estate was given it’s name because of an elephant camp that was located near the grounds of the estate. “Hatti Alli” translates to elephant camp. Hattialli consists of about 408 total hectares of land under tea cultivation, with 164 hectares consisting of clonal tea bush cultivation. Hattialli employs about 650 workers. Hattialli is gaining a very positive reputation for producing consistently high quality orthodox teas over the past few years. With that being said, I am ready to have my first experience with their products.

The sample packet has been opened, and the first thing I noticed is the generous portion of golden tips in the mix. Let the journey begin…

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform black color, with a generous portion of golden tips. All leaves and tips are small to medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The size and shape of the leaves are quite consistent. The leaves are very dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbles. The smell has scents of raw cacao, dried raisins, roses, sweet wood, and a pleasant touch of spice.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bold, deep red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of malt, raisin, black pepper, sweet wood, and light rose. The body is full, with a smooth, velvety mouthfeel, and a pleasantly brisk character. The astringency is surprisingly moderate. The taste has notes of malt, cacao, raisin, black pepper, sweet wood, roses, and light toasted grains. The aftertaste is reminiscent of a sweet red wine, and leaves a dry feel in the mouth.

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. All leaves and tips are small to medium sized fragments. There is a generous portion of tips in the mix, and a few bare stems. The size and shape of the fragments are fairly consistent. The smell has scents of raisins, grapes, roses, malt, red wine, and black pepper.

The TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Hattialli Tea Estate in the Assam region of India is a classic Assam black tea that provides a full bodied and satisfying experience. A splash of cream will help to tone this perfect morning tea down a bit. The cream is not necessary, in my opinion, and I did not find this tea to be overwhelming with it’s moderate astringency. However, I do believe a casual tea drinker will find it more palatable with the addition of a cream or sweetener of some sort. The color of this tea liquor was simply beautiful, and gave a perfect first impression of the full taste that lied ahead.

Thanks to the Lochan family and Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea. Cheers!

Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company

First of all, I would like to apologize for my lack of completed reviews over the past three weeks. The busy holiday season brought family and friends into town, and the usual surge in calls at my office. Also, the recent organization of my tea samples had me worried that I was running low on samples to review. Thankfully, I happened to open my box of samples from India and found one final sample from the Heritage Tea Assam Company. Today’s review, and the final review of a busy 2014, will focus on the Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company, located in Dibrugarh, India.

To learn more about the Heritage Tea Assam Company, please visit their website. The sample packet has been opened, and what better tea to begin an eventful New Year’s Eve with than a strong Assam black tea? Let the journey begin…

Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Dry Leaves
Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform black color, with some golden tips in the mix. All leaves are small fragments, including tip fragments. The fragments have a uniform size and shape, and are machine rolled. The leaves crack easily into coarse crumbs. There are few thin bare stems in the mix. The smell has scents of malt, toasted grains, ripe red grapes, light roses, and what I think is a touch of vanilla.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.

Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Liquor
Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep orange-red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of toasted grains, malt, ripe red grapes, light roses, and black pepper. The body is full, with a round texture. The taste has notes of malt, grains, grapes, black pepper, wood, and a touch of roses. There is a respectable astringency while the tea is hot, which lightens as the tea cools. The tea is also sweeter and more floral as it cools. The grains, malt, and light floral notes carry through the aftertaste, and a sweet and floral essence is left on the breath.

Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Infused Leaves
Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper color to dark brown color. All leaves and tips are small fragments. There are a few thin bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a consistent size and shape. The smell has scents of grapes, roses, flowers, and grains. As the leaves cool, the scents of fruit and grapes is incredibly pleasing.

The Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is certainly a high quality, aromatic, and satisfying black tea that will awaken the senses. Not overpowering, and nicely balanced, this Assam black tea is perfectly palatable on its own with no milk needed. This is a suitable morning replacement for coffee, since it will provide a pleasant boost of energy and awareness.

Thank you to the management at Heritage Tea Assam Company for providing this sample of Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea. Thank you to all of my readers for keeping track of The Tea Journeyman during the 2014 year, which was full of new experiences, education, and pleasure. I look forward to another great year of tea tasting in 2015, and hopefully more opportunities to present my readers with interesting and thorough reviews. Best of health, happiness, and success to all of you in 2015! Cheers!

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Lochan Tea

The focus of this review is the Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Harmutty Tea Estate and Lochan Tea. The Harmutty Tea Estate is located in Upper Assam, and consists of 374 hectates (924 acres) of land. Harmutty Tea Estate was established in 1870, and is now owned by the highly recognized Goodricke Group and Stewart Holl Ltd.

According to the Goodricke Group website, the estate was named after Queen Harimati, married to King Arimatta. Their kingdom is believed to have spread throughout lower Assam. The queens grave rests next to the Maj Bungalow. Given the estates location by the Dikrong River, and the vast undisturbed forests nearby, the Harmutty Tea Estate is known for offering visitors beautiful landscape views, and opportunities to see wildlife venturing out from the forests.

The sample packet has been opened, and the appearance of the tea matches the product name perfectly. Let the journey begin…

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are mostly (70%) a uniform golden color, the remaining 30% are a uniform black color. The leaves consist almost entirely of lightly rolled, unbroken buds, with some medium sized fragments in the mix. There are very few bare stems, and those few are quite thin. Although there are some crumbs, the amount is not much of a concern. The buds have fine hairs on them, giving them a smooth texture. The pluck appears to be a fine hand plucked and unopened leaf, perhaps with a younger bud enveloped inside. The smell carries scents of dried cherries, dark cocoa, cherry wood, roses, and clove. The smell is very attractive and high quality.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two quality infusions from the same serving of leaves. Increase steep time by 1:00 minute on the second infusion.

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep orange-red color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma carries scents of caramel, roses, cherries, clove, cocoa, and cherry wood. The body is full, with a very smooth, velvety texture. It should be noted that despite the full body, this tea is considerably lighter than other non-tippy Assam black teas. There is a very mild astringency. The taste has notes of malt, caramel, roses, cherry, clove, cherry wood, citrus (lemon), and earth (soil). The aftertaste carries the malt, earth, and cherry wood notes. The tea gives a dry feel to the mouth.

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves consist almost entirely of buds. Some of the buds are unbroken, with an unopened leaf and no younger bud inside. There is a considerable amount of fragments and crumbs, but nothing out of the ordinary. The buds have a smooth, soft texture. The smell has scents of malt, caramel, cherry, clove, light soil, and light flowers.

In terms of my personal preferences for Assam teas, this Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea ranks high on the list. The appearance and smell of the dry leaves is both impressive and inviting. The color of the infusion is deep and eye catching. The aroma and taste of the infusion are rich, yet not overwhelming. Milk is definitely not necessary to make this a highly palatable and enjoyable Assam tea. The full body and incredibly smooth texture compliment one another very nicely. This tea also did not give me the jittery energy that bolder Assam teas tend to. I infused the leaves twice, and the second infusion, although not quite as good (obviously) as the first, was still tasteful and palatable. Overall, this was an excellent product.

Another thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea. Cheers!

Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Along with some interesting tea samples from Nepal, there were two samples from Assam included with the recent package from Surajmukhi Tea. Today’s review will focus on the Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea.

The Seajuli Tea Estate is located in the North Bank of the Brahmaputra River, Lakhimpur District, Assam region of India. Focusing specifically on orthodox styles of teas, Seajuli is well known for the high quality teas produced here, as well as the natural beauty of the estate itself. Seajuli Tea Estate consists of about 289 hectares (714 acres) of land under tea cultivation.

The sample packet has been opened, and the scent of dark chocolate is immediately recognizable. Let the journey begin…

Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform faded black color. There are a few golden tips in the mix. The leaves are all medium fragments. There are a few stems in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled. The leaves have a rigid texture. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, dried cherries, clove, and light leather. The aroma is very attractive.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every eight ounces (240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of dry leaves. The second infusion will be significantly lighter than the first.

Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion
Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright amber color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, malt, clove, light cherry, and light valley flowers. The body is full, with a very smooth, velvety texture. The taste has a biscuity quality, with notes of dark chocolate, clove, light cherry, and light valley flowers. The astringency is moderate for an Assam black tea, and lingers through the aftertaste. The aftertaste also carries hints of dark chocolate and flowers.

Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark greenish-brown color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, cherry, and clove.

The Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush Assam Black Tea had plenty of positive attributes, and almost no negatives! From the highly attractive aroma of the dry leaves, to the full bodied, yet not overpowering qualities of the infusion, it is easy to see why the products from this tea estate enjoy much popularity in the European tea market. This tea does not need milk to be easily palatable, but surely a splash of milk will not take anything away from it. It is quite tasteful and aromatic in its most pure form. The astringency is very pleasant, and not overwhelming. It also carries nicely through the aftertaste. This is definitely an Assam tea that can satisfy many tastes.

Thank you to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for supplying this sample of Seajuli GFOP 2nd Flush Assam Black Tea. Cheers!