Posts Tagged ‘Assam’

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Produced by: TeaHorse

Price: N/A (No longer trading)

Nothing starts the day off better than a good Assam tea, for those none coffee drinkers such as myself, this is what is gonna give you the best start to the day. And here is another fine example of a good quality Assam from the now sadly defunct TeaHorse. This just sits below the real hard hitters of this tea, given you enough bite but without it being heavy on the maltiness. If you want an Assam that doesn’t need or want milk then this would be a good quality one to opt for.

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Brewed up for four minutes with boiling water this is a lovely example of an Assam tea, it doesnt reach the usual colour of an Assam and sits closer to a Ceylon but taste wise this is just fantastic. I would definitely buy this again and for those of you who want to try Assam but don’t want something too intense this would be a good tea to choose.

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Purchased from: http://www.teahorse.co.uk

Price: £1.50 (sample)

http://teahorse.co.uk/tea/2nd-flush-assam/

 

My third and final Assam of the day came courtesy of the lovely people at Teahorse, a sample of their second flush TGFOP1. This contains a lovely mixture and has a very high amount of tips in the dry leaf.

 

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Brewing brings out the usual Assam colours of dark orange / red so after three minutes in boiling water I poured it to sample, served black and not sugared.

 

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What I found with this Assam is that I didn’t enjoy it as much, please don’t get me wrong it is a nice enough tea but it just feels rather ordinary and perhaps even a tad boring…

For those who like Assam teas it will no doubt hit the spot but as a person who is trying different ones at the moment this just feels like it would sit somewhere in the middle of the ones I have tried.

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Purchased from: http://www.tea-and-coffee.com

Price: £2.25

http://www.tea-and-coffee.com/assam-tea-phulbari-ftgfop1-2nd-flush/p428

 

After the previously disappointing Orangjuli, I tried another Assam from the same supplier and what a world of difference here.

 

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This is a lovely combination of dry leaf and tips with a good mixture of both as you can see above, the dry leaf in the base of the pot. Brewing with water just off the boil for four minutes produced the lovely colours you can see below.

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This is a real delight for an Assam tea with very little astringency but still containing enough of a whallop that you would associate with teas from this part of India. Taste wise it is lovely, the real flavour that came through for me was like a dark treacle and bonfire toffee taste which works really well.

I really loved this tea, one of my better Assams by a long way. Try it for yourself.

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I like the idea of Assam teas when I need a real hard hitter of a tea but so far my experience with them has been a little bit hit and miss. Here I tried an Orangajuli – brewed just off the boil for around three and  a half minutes.

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As I was nearing the end of the pack, this was brewed with the smaller particles of tea that remained but earlier brews had a lovely mixture of dark brown wiry leaves and lovely golden coloured dried tips.

 

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Brewing gave that typical malty aroma you usually associate with an Assam but upon trying it I really didn’t like it.

 

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Whilst a lovely amber-red colour, upon tasting it the astringency hits you really hard and this is very sharp and quite bitter tasting. I found that I couldn’t drink any more so the remainder got thrown away. If this isn’t an issue for you in terms of your tea tastes but for me this was an Assam I would not buy again.

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Manchester isn’t graced with a choice of loose tea suppliers and unless I buy from North Tea Power then it leaves Whittards as my next best option. I have made two purchases from the city centre store in the last few months and as such I just found both experiences nothing special. My first visit was met by a friendly member of staff who was pleasant and polite and asked me what sort of tea that I liked and did I have any particular ones in mind (which I did). My second visit I went in with a less clearly defined vision and again was met with a helpful staff member who went through a strong black tea selection suitable for morning drinking.

Silver needle tea

Silver needle tea

Perhaps I have been spoiled by visiting tea shops in London but it just feels that loose tea in this wonderful city is something that is hard to purchase. Whittards was on both occasions suited to my needs but the whole thing just didn’t seem special in any way. Loose tea is to me like a fine wine or a good quality single malt, if you went into a specialist shop that sold those items how attentive would the service be and what would the selection be like?

Price isn’t unreasonable on some teas, on others it is too high but then if there is a particular tea I want and to buy it online adding in delivery costs it may just be cheaper to buy it at a branch of Whittards. There is also the convenience factor of being able to have your tea there and then to take home with you. The other issue I have here is that you are dictated to how much tea you can buy which if as a rookie your not sure what you are buying then that full bag of tea that you have bought and then discovered you don’t then like has then gone to waste. There are scales in the shop to measure from the container to the packet so isn’t a variety of sizes or trial packs a good option?

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The product packaging is pretty sound, a plastic resealable bag with a transparant front and a best before date is written on the back. What isn’t given (and is something of a gripe with me) is any sort of brewing instructions, perhaps this is something that could be looked at or staff could offer this advice.

It’s a real convenience to still have a shop selling loose tea, what would be nice would be larger premises and perhaps a tea tasting bar. One for the future?

Kris

 

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My second tea order came from a company whose prices seemed too good to be true. Based in the haunted village of Pluckley in Kent, I put in a sizeable order :

1x   Yerba Mate – 125g

1x   Black Gunpowder Tea – 50g

1x   Pai Mu Tan – 50g

1x   Golden Monkey Tea – 50g

1x   Honeybush Herbal Tea – 50g

1x   Greek Mountain Tea – 20g

1x   Ceylon Tea Lovers Leap – 50g

1x   Ceylon Nuwara Eliya Orange Pekoe – 50g

1x   Nepal Tea TGFOP – 50g

1x   Assam Orangajuli TGFOP – 50g

1x   Assam Tea. Phulbari FTGFOP1. 2nd Flush – 50g

1x   Rooibos Organic Tea – 50g

1x   Arctic Fire Tea – 50g

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All of these plus delivery came in just over £30.00 which is impressive for the amount of tea that I received and the quality of it is pretty decent too. The Arctic Fire is a blend of black tea, fruit flavourings and mint which delivers a fruity yet clean tasting drink – the mint taste kicks in right at the end. The Ceylon Lovers Leap is a rather unusual taste but is a pleasant tea and incredibly tasty. Greek Mountain Tea was pure curiosity (like a lemon scented mellow green tea is the best way to describe it) and that Yerba Mate will keep me going for months. So far so good.

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All the teas come in sealed packets but once opened there is no way to reseal them. At the moment the tops are folded back over on themselves once they have been opened and these products would best be decanted into some sort of container or caddy. This is something to factor in when buying initially unless keeping packets airtight isn’t too much of an issue. My method hasn’t seen any real deterioration in the teas but I do like packs that can be resealed. I keep my teas in a box so as not to clutter up cupboards so decanting isn’t really an option for me.

The tea box!

The tea box!

All of the teas (bar the Greek Mountain) arrived in white bags with the name on the front and a little product information. This to me isn’t essential at the point when I have bought them and have them in my home. What is really missing here is information on how to brew, measurement, time, water temperature and can it be resteeped – if so how many times. When I queried this via email I was told the information is available on the website which is all well and fine but I don’t always have the time to check back on there. It wouldn’t hurt to either put that information on the packaging or to include it with your purchase. That to me would make a nice touch. Not everyone is clued up on loose tea and it feels like the people at this company expect you to know just for how long that oolong will need and at what temperature.

...but no instructions!

…but no instructions!

Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co also slipped up in a big way for me. My purchases came with a hefty postage cost of £5.85 and in fairness the parcel was a reasonable size and had been sent via 1st Class Royal Mail. However… The order arrived at my house on Wednesday but unknown to me had been left at a neighbours house, no card placed through my door to explain where it had gone and it was only on the Thursday evening that this neighbour called round was I aware it had arrived. This to me is shoddy and I have never had this happen with other tea deliveries. When I raised this with the company I was told basically that I wasn’t the first person that had an issue with the delivery process. I also found that email replies were slow, usually the next day before I had a response. A freephone number is also provided for customer queries and help which I think is a nice touch.

So to summarize. If price is an important factor then this company will offer you some excellent and diverse teas. The tea selection is superb and comes in a variety of pack sizes and they supply teas from many different countries. The website is very clear in its layout with good clear pictures of the teas an an accompanying description. There is also a nice 10% off your first order too so at these prices it’s an even bigger bonus. If you have tea knowledge then the issue about a lack of brewing information won’t matter, if you are new to loose tea then read up on how to brew it first before you start. With a few minor tweaks to its online business it would be a regular company I would buy from especially as new person who is curious to try many different types of tea.

Packaging – 5 / 10

Basic, not air tight. Really could use better products to pack the tea into.

Information – 0 / 10

None existant. As I’m brewing up I’m supposed to check back on the website? What if I don’t have a smart phone?

Price – 10 / 10

A real winning point. Some top notch teas for not much money. Small packs of 25 & 50g teas start around £2-£3.

Service – 7 / 10

Emails get responded too (eventually). Nice to see a free phone number although didn’t try this.

Delivery – 3 / 10

Order placed on Saturday. Received Wednesday but not at my house until Thursday. The issue with delivery really needs to be addressed.

THE KENT & SUSSEX TEA & COFFEE CO. = 25 / 50

http://www.kenttea.co.uk

http://www.tea-and-coffee.com