Although I am always excited to receive packages of samples that I am expecting, receiving an unexpected sample usually helps positively enhance the mood during a day of insurance work. The Heritage Tea Assam Company was the catalyst for having had a more enthusiastic day last week, as they sent a sample of the Golden Tips Black Tea from their factory. A special thanks to Heritage Tea Assam for providing such a pleasant surprise.
This tea is exactly as described, pure golden tips. There are almost no black leaves in this sample whatsoever. I almost thought it was a packet of loose shu pu’er until I took a closer look and realized where the sample had come from. Needless to say that I was much more excited once I realized that it was golden tips from Assam.
The sample packet has been opened, and the aroma is certainly unique from the golden tips of Yunnan. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a mostly uniform yellow-gold color, with some black color on stems. The leaves are mostly tips, with some fine leaves and tip fragments in the mix. There are just a few small stem twig fragments in the mix. The pluck is one fine leaf and bud. The leaves are lightly rolled. There is some chalky residue on the leaves, and they have a smooth, soft texture. The leaves snap easily, but do not crumble. The aroma has scents of nutrient rich soil, raw cacao, dried fig, and light valley flowers.
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. The infusion was poured into a separate tasting cup.
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 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect to get two or three infusions from the same serving of leaves. The second and third infusions will be lighter in character than the prior infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-orange color, clear and transparent. I have to admit that I was slightly concerned that the chalky residue on the dry leaves would create a cloudy infusion, but this was not the case at all. The liquor is lighter in color than I expected, but is certainly the result of more tips and less leaves. The aroma has very attractive scents of malt, cacao, cloves, and fig, with a hint of fresh baked bread. The body is full, with a juicy, almost wine-like texture. The taste is surprisingly fruity, with dominant notes of fig, and lighter notes of cacao, nutrient rich soil, clove, and valley flowers. The astringency is lighter than most Assam black teas. There is also a candy-like sweetness that I cannot accurately describe at the moment. The aftertaste is malty and pleasantly proportioned.
The infused leaves have a uniform light brown color. The leaves are mostly tips fragments, with some whole tips enveloped in a fine leaf. There are a few stem twigs in the mix. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of cacao, malt, light fig, light baked bread, and very light floral.
I truly appreciate the initiative that Heritage Tea Assam Company is taking in experimenting with the production of specialty types of tea. This Golden Tips Black Tea has an incredible overall quality in the cup, with sweet and fruity aromas and tastes. The hints of fresh baked bread also give this tea a welcoming character. I have never had a tea with such obvious fig hints in the aroma and taste. The texture of the tea liquor is between prune juice and a lighter style of red wine. If basing the success of a review on the tea liquor itself, then this product is definitely a success!
One recommendation that I would give is that more attention be paid to the tips during processing. Although the general gold appearance of the tips was in line with the similar style teas of Yunnan, the product was mostly tip fragments. Perhaps it is simply the content of the sample packet that I received, or the handling during shipment that broke the fragile tips. However, I personally do like to see whole tips as I believe that whole tips and leaves present a more aesthetically pleasing product, and suggest a high level of care during production. I have always been impressed with the visual aspects of high quality Yunnan golden tip teas. I have full confidence in Heritage Tea Assam Company that they are working diligently to perfect the production of this tea. As I mentioned before, and would like to repeat, the quality of the tea liquor was simply incredible! There is no concern on my end about that aspect of this product!
Thank you very much to the management at Heritage Tea Assam Company for providing me with this sample! As always, I enjoyed every moment of this analysis! Cheers!