This exceptional organic and Fair Trade Certified black tea from Assam, India is a limited edition tea. The dried leaves present a plethora of coppery golden tips which combine with the tightly twisted dark leaf to produce a unique reddish brown liquor that has a more complicated and heartier aroma and flavor profile than our classic organic Assam. With scents of herbaceous yeast, it offers a dry, malty cup that has notes of barley broth and rich sweet mushroom. Sourced from the Tonganagoan Estate in India at the low elevation of only 200 ft, this organic 2nd flush Assam SFTGFOP1 from 2013 is produced by the family-owned, professionally managed Chamong Group that is now into its 6th generation.
Ingredients: organic Indian black tea
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Purchase: Arbor Teas
Suggested Brewing Tips:
Serving Size: 1 level teaspoon per 8oz serving
Water Temp: 212°F
Steep Time: 3-5 minutes
Up until recently Arbor Teas was a company that was familiar with in name only. I knew through word-of-mouth that they were an excellent source of Fair Trade certified teas so I decided this month would be the one where I finally tried them out — it is Fair Trade month after all. I kept my order small since I'm currently swimming in tea and ordered the Organic Assam Tonganagoan Estate Black Tea, which I will be reviewing today, as well as the Organic Thai Iced tea.
It's a bit out of character for me to order black tea, I don't typically count it among my favorite. But, as I was reading through the description and staff opinions it caught my attention that one of the staff thought this was similar in taste to oolong. It's quite intriguing to come across a black tea with characteristics of an oolong, so into my cart it went. I just want to say that I love that Arbor Teas lists staff opinions on their website. It lets me know that the staff has actually tried the teas they sell, which is surprisingly not always the case, and gives me more insight into how a tea tastes. This makes it easier for me to decide if it's something I'd enjoy or something I should pass on. I'd like to see more companies provide such helpful insight to their teas.
When my tea showed up bright and early Monday morning I immediately brewed up a cup. While I don't feel it tasted much like an oolong, I was impressed by the flavor. It doesn't taste like your typical Assam. Instead of the bold flavor I was expecting, it was mellow with slight hints of barley and malt. It has a surprisingly sweet undertone to it and didn't turn bitter or astringent, even when steeped for five minutes. This is one of the rare teas that I could drink a lot of, either hot or iced, and not be bored with it. I don't say that often about unflavored black teas.
My Rating: 89/100
Would I order this again? Absolutely. This was a fabulous black tea. Arbor Teas, if you're listening, please have an excellent sale soon so I can order some more!