Luxury Ingredients: Black tea
Country of Origin: India
Region: Bishnauth, State of Assam
Shipping Port: Gauhati via Calcutta and Haldia
Grade: STGFOP (Special Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe), Keemun like leaf
Altitude: 2300 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Bright, full bodied liquor with nuttiness almost a walnut character. Juicy!!!
Infusion: Some brightness but tending towards a darker infusion
Second Flush Assams typifies the best qualities that this particular type of Indian tea has to offer. The full bodied maltiness and rich pungency of an Assam is even more pronounced in this season. Although the Assam region does not benefit from the high elevations, this area has remarkable soil alluvial conditions and ideal temperatures for tea. Teas from the Assam tend to be higher in natural tannins and therefore are more astringent and have a 'thick' nose. These attributes are highly desirable characters and this particular selection from the Gingia Estate is very rich example - to the point of distinction.
The British became interested in tea cultivation in the Assam region of India in the 1830's when it appeared that treaties with China which included tea were not going to be extended. The East India Company made representations to the British Governor of India to be allowed to research the possibility of tea cultivation in India. These discovered a hardy camellia that was indigenous to Assam. This particular genus of the camellia eventually became know as the 'Assam jat' and today forms the backbone of Assam tea plantations. The 'Assam jat' as compared to the 'Chinese jat' has more body and richness, whereas the 'Chinese jat' tends to be light and flavory.
Selections like this Gingia make the tea tasters work a pleasure. The taster 'lives' to find a cracker (a.k.a. superior quality tea). This tea was one of the best we have seen from the Assam. It is a self-drinker and has enough flavour and character to hold its own, even with milk and sugar.
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 capture the malty character of this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 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!