Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Moment to Fixate on Assam

I'm often asked what my favorite tea is, and although it's difficult to say exactly what my absolute favorite is (it can and does change daily), I do know what my favorite type of tea is.

Assam.

Even the name is strong and soothing.

I like that Assam teas are typically bold, rich and malty. For those who are trying to find an alternative to a coffee habit, Assam teas can be a good option because of their robust characteristics. (Or as I like to say, a tea that kicks you in the teeth!)

While I love whole leaf, single estate teas, I also enjoy blended black teas that feature Assam as a main ingredient, most notably English or Irish Breakfast blends.


You'll find me sipping Assam - based Breakfast blends from a variety of cups or mugs ( the Rooster mug, most often), but when I'm indulging in a special, single estate or high quality Assam, it's time to bring out the white and platinum tea cup. My mother-in-law inherited this set of china, Konigl pr Tettau La Mer, from her aunt and gave it to us as our wedding china. Though we rarely use the dishes, I elevate certain cups of tea by using a beautiful cup and saucer from the set.

Some of my favorite Assams? I'm so glad you asked.

Top of my list:
Assam Black Tea No. 2 by Joseph Wesley Black Tea
Assam Hazelbank (which I can't find anywhere at the moment, much to my chagrin)
and Mokalbari Estate Assam from American Tea Room

These are teas that begin my days perfectly. They are the teas that allow me to slow down, contemplate, enjoy. They are the James Bonds of tea. Powerful, unfailingly smooth, unforgettable. (And I wouldn't mind fancying myself a Bond girl. But one of the Bond girls that doesn't end up dead. I much prefer staying alive, thank you.)

And if you find Assams overpowering, they also dress up very well (rather like a secret agent I know). A little milk and sugar, and you'll be hooked.

As I begin planning my wall of tea, you can be sure to find Assam being well-represented in the collection.