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!

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Golden Tips Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company

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…

Golden Tips Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Golden Tips Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Golden Tips Assam Black Tea Infusion
Golden Tips Assam Black Tea 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.

Golden Tips Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Golden Tips Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

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!

 

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company

Today, I have an opportunity to review a tea that is in the top three most expensive teas that I have had, thanks to the Heritage Tea Assam Company in India. This review will focus on their Super Fine grade Silver Needle white tea. To view more information on the Heritage Tea Assam Company, please click here.

The Heritage Tea Assam Company produces silver needle white tea only during the second flush harvest of each year. This tea is produced in very limited quantities, thus the high market value. Such fine white teas originating from the Assam region are also quite rare. If you are able to find this tea, be prepared for a high price tag. If you are a white tea enthusiast, however, then certainly you will want to try such a specialty product.

The sample packet has been opened, and the sight of such fine, fairly short and slender buds is intriguing me. Let the journey begin…

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light yellowish-green color, with delicate downy-like hairs covering them. The leaves have the typical sickle shape. The pluck is one fine leaf and unopened bud. The buds are fairly short and slender, with the average bud measuring 0.5 to 0.75 inches (12 – 19 mm). There leaves have a smooth, soft texture. Most buds are whole and unbroken. The aroma of the leaves is quite unique, with scents of cocoa, sweet hay, and light dried fruit.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

To best enjoy this tea at home, use 3 grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. The leaves are quite light and fluffy, so use 2-3 teaspoons to reach the 3 gram amount. Heat water to 175°F to 185°F (75°C to 85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves may be reused at least three to four times.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The body is light-medium, with a gentle texture. The taste is fairly delicate, and has notes of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The aftertaste has hay and floral notes, and there seems to be slight touch of cocoa that develops.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion

The second and third infusions were definitely stronger in aroma, body, and taste than the first infusion. The same general characteristics of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice were present.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh light forest green to light brown color. The pluck is one fine leaf with bud. The leaves are mostly unbroken, but there are some fragments. Although the buds have expanded in the water, they are still shorter and thinner than Chinese silver needle teas. The aroma has scents of flowers, hay, and a light touch sweet red wine.

The Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is certainly a unique product coming from the Assam region, which is more commonly known for the robust black teas produced there. This white tea is quite the opposite, with a fairly delicate aroma and taste. The leaves produced three quality infusions, and I am confident that a fourth and maybe even fifth will still product quality infusions. I did have some difficulty in picking out the flavors in this white tea, as I found the undertones of the taste to be very delicate.

If you think that the only good teas coming from Assam are of the black variety, then try this tea! If the Super Fine price tag is too high, then there is also a Fine grade. One way or another, you will discover that the Heritage Tea Assam Company is forging a new path for Assam tea growers, introducing Assam grown teas that are more delicate and attractive to fine tea enthusiasts. As their experience and skill increase, I expect the Heritage Tea Assam Company to gain more popularity among tea enthusiasts around the world.

Thank you to the Heritage Tea Assam Company for providing this incredible high end white tea! Cheers!

Long Leaf Green Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co.

Today I am continuing through the samples provided by Heritage Tea Assam Co. The focus of this review is the Long Leaf Green Tea. Heritage Tea Assam Co. is located in Dibrugarh, India.

For more detailed information on Heritage Tea Assam Co., please refer to my review on their Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea by clicking here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a smoky and floral aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Long Leaf Green Tea Dry Leaves
Long Leaf Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a range of colors from pale light green to pale dark green, with some silver tips in the mix. A one leaf and bud pluck is displayed on the stems. The leaves are lightly rolled. Despite the appearance of having fine hairs, they cannot be felt on the dry leaf. The leaves are quite dry and easy to crack. The aroma consists of scents reminiscent of smoke, wood, roses, and forest floor.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for 1:45 minutes.

Long Leaf Green Tea 1st Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with very light pale green color, clear and transparent with few fine particles. The aroma has scents of roses, forest floor, and smoke. The body is light-medium, with a round texture. The taste has notes of roses, light smoke, mineral, and forest floor. The aftertaste is delicate with notes of rose and mineral, and a light floral essence is left on the breath.

Long Leaf Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor that was nearly identical to the first infusion. The aroma retains it’s strength from the first infusion, and also retains the scents of roses, forest floor, and light smoke. The body and texture are unchanged from the first infusion. The taste is also nearly identical to the first infusion, with perhaps the mineral and forest floor notes gaining some strength on the roses and light smoke notes. The aftertaste is forest floor and mineral, and the light floral essence is retained.

Long Leaf Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion again produced a liquor that very closely resembles the prior two infusions, with a light, pale greenish-yellow color. The aroma has lightened very slightly, and retains scents of forest floor, roses, and light smoke. The body and texture have thinned very slightly. The taste has also lightened very slightly, with the forest floor and mineral tastes maintaining dominance, while the roses and light smoke notes are certainly recognizable. The aftertaste and essence have lightened some.

Long Leaf Green Tea Infused Leaves
Long Leaf Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color with a few leaves showing a slight oxidation on the edges. There is a generous portion of tips, and some of the leaves are whole with stem intact. Other leaves are medium to large fragments. Stems show a one leaf and bud pluck. There are no completely bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a smooth texture, but are not as easy to rip as many comparable green teas from other terroirs. The leaves have an aroma consisting of rose, light smoke, and forest floor scents. There is also a very light, ripe dark cherry scent.

The Long Leaf Green Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co. is quite deceiving due to it’s apparent lack of color in the cup. The liquor itself is quite aromatic and flavorful. The aromas and tastes are very consistent from the first to third infusions, and I would expect to get a fourth out of these leaves. This green tea is definitely on the earthy side of the taste wheel. The aroma and taste of roses is consistent with the Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co. Overall, this was a respectable green tea worth trying, if you can find it.

Thanks to the management at Heritage Tea Assam Co. for providing the sample for this review. Cheers!

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co.

I received a package of samples today that I have been eagerly waiting to receive for some time. Therefore, I had to put everything else aside and do a review. Today I will be focusing on the Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea direct from the Heritage Tea Assam Company, located in Dibrugarh, India.

Heritage Tea Assam Company is one of the few tea growers and manufacturers in the Assam district that are committed to producing high-quality loose teas, and not simply producing CTC teas for the mass market. I was having a rather difficult time finding such a company in Assam that produced above-average quality teas, and when I originally emailed Heritage Tea Assam, I had not heard back in weeks and assumed the worst. I later found out that severe storms had damaged communication lines in to the town. I was quite excited to see the reply email when it did arrive.

So now I have a few products here that I have not had before, high-quality orthodox Assam black, white, green, and even a smoked tea which smells intriguing! Naturally, I had to go with the best black tea first, as this is what Assam is known for.

As a quick reminder to those who may not be aware of what makes teas from the Assam district so unique from the teas of China or Darjeeling, the variety of tea bush that is grown in Assam is the Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica, known for having larger and broader leaves than the Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis variety, and producing a fuller body and stronger tasting liquor. Many of the different breakfast blends contain at least some black tea from Assam.

The sample packet has been opened, and the bold smell of malt is already dominating the room. Let the journey begin…

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark reddish-brown to black color, with a generous portion of golden tips. The leaves are rolled, and are all small to medium sized fragments. There is a moderate amount of crumbs, and some bare stems in the mix. The aroma is strong and sweet, with scents of cocoa, malt, dried fruit, and wood.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron Tetsubin. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (95°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 1st Infusion
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, deep red color, mostly clear and transparent, with a very slight “cream down” effect. The aroma is bold, with scents of malt, roses, and wood. The body is full, with a smooth texture. The taste is mouth-filling, with a strong astringency, and notes of malt, wood, light citrus, and light roses. The aftertaste is sweet and astringent, and the astringent character lingers in the mouth for a respectable amount of time.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 2nd Infusion

One minute was added to the infusion time for the second infusion, bringing the total to 4:00 minutes. The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter color, displaying more of an orange-red color, with the cream down effect no longer noticeable. This liquor is perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has lightened, but retains scents of malt, light roses, and wood. The body has lightened some, and the texture has thinned. The taste retains a fairly strong astringency, however lighter than the first infusion. Lighter notes of malt, citrus, and wood remain. The aftertaste and essence have lightened.

Due to a lack of time and assumption that the third infusion will be quite light, I decided to pass on preparing the third infusion.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark copper color. All leaves are small and medium fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix, as well as a respectable portion of tips averaging about 0.75 inches (15 to 20 mm) in length. The aroma has scents of malt, wood, and light flowers.

This Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea is exactly what I was looking for in a high-quality Assam black tea. The color of the first infusion was deep and beautiful. The aroma and taste were robust and eye-opening. The body was full, yet the texture is smooth. This tea can definitely replace coffee in the morning, for those of you who care to try switching. The second infusion is certainly flavorful enough to enjoy also. Considering the amount of tips in the mix, I am expecting the other samples from Heritage Assam with less tips to be even stronger in flavor. That will be a welcome adventure. It will also be interesting to taste the silver tips white teas and the green teas. Stay tuned.

Thank you to Heritage Assam Tea for your generosity in providing these excellent samples! I look forward to reviewing the other teas included in the package. Cheers!