Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Moment with Assam 1860

Summertime, and the livin' is...

CRAZY!

It's been an exciting few months as both the Man o' the House and I have each been travelling extensively for work engagements. We send each other online calendar invitations to ensure at least one of us is home to carry on family life.

But now, it's time to finally slow down, enjoy the summer, enjoy our family and friends. Enjoy some tea.

I was so happy to receive a gift from Assam 1860 of their Assam Combination Box. One side contained a 80g pouch of loose CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl) tea and 10 tea bags. How perfect for my on-the-go present mode! Some loose tea to be brewed leisurely at home, and individually sealed tea bags to carry in my purse or briefcase for those hotel mornings on the road.


But, of course, with both options, one can't help but ask, "Which is better?"

This morning, as the sunlight was barely filtering through the front window, I brewed a small cup of each. The steeping lasted 2 minutes, and then the fun began.

First, the Assam brewed from the tea bag. The aroma is malty with a hint of sun-ripened berries. The first sip is bold and velvety smooth. There's a light astringency, but not at all unpleasant. This is a tea that can kick you into gear and soothe at the same time. I may be in love.

Next, the Assam brewed from the loose tea. The aroma is malty and earthy. The first sip is so bold, my eyes are opened a little wider. This is a tea that will wake you up and boot you out the door! The mouth feel is a little more raw, not as smooth, and definitely has more astringency than the tea bag. Again, not unpleasant to me, but some tea drinkers may want to add a little milk and sugar to mellow it a bit. 

Loose tea on the left. Tea bag on the right.

I also found the tea bag to brew a clearer tea, while the loose tea was just the slightest bit cloudy (unnoticeable if they had not been side-by-side).

My conclusion: they both win in my book! This is what  I love about Assam teas. They ARE bright. They ARE bold. They feel substantial and sustaining. The color is deep and rich. It's a feast for the eyes as much as my taste buds.

On this pleasant, summer morning, I'm sitting back and enjoying the view, cup of Assam in hand. I think summer vacation has finally arrived.