Country of Origin: India, Kenya
Region: Assam, East of the Rift Valley
Shipping Port: Calcutta, Mombasau
Grade: Kenya BP1, 2nd flush Assam BOP
Altitude: 1500 ft to 6500 ft
Manufacture Type: CTC (Cut Torn and Curled)
Manufacturer: George Williamson,Kenya Tea Development Authority
Cup Characteristics: A very full bodied cup of tea. The strength and malty flavour of Assams is combined with the brightness and lively flavour of the best Kenya teas. The longer you allow this tea to brew the stronger it becomes. This tea is best enjoyed with milk since the casein in milk renders the tannins in tea insoluble and reduces the characteristic bitterness of strong teas
Infusion: Bright and Coppery
Per capita, Irish consumption of tea is amongst the highest in the world. The Irish prefer a full bodied cup of tea that if brewed long enough one could almost stand their spoon upright. The strength is achieved by buying the best teas available from seasonal production periods in Assam and Kenya. This means that the Assam teas are from the second flush period during June, and the Kenyas are from February and August growth. 2nd flush Assams give a deep malty astringency and the best make your mouth feel dry they are so astringent. This astringency leads to a malty character that is almost so thick you feel like you could chew it. The seasonal Kenyas have a golden coppery color with an almost floral note that give a complex depth to the tea. Furthermore, you will see that the grade is CTC - cut, torn curled. The green leaf whilst it is being processed passes through a machine the cuts, tears and then curls the leaves into tiny balls. This 'mash' ferments very quickly after which firing takes place to 'lock-in' the flavor. These tiny tea balls when infused release their full flavor, more so than whole leaf tea. The reason is that there is more surface area on the tiny balls which can infuse as compared to the whole leaf tea. This is how the Irish like their tea!
Regarding the addition of milk, there is the age old argument of when to add the milk to the cup -before you add the tea or after. Milk-firsters argue that adding milk last scalds the milk noticeably and therefore the milk should be warmed slowly with the addition of tea. Milk-lasters argue that adding milk after the tea has been poured is the only way of judging the proper amount of milk to add by watching the color of the tea change. Non users of milk regard the whole issue as silly.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or 'milky' when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!