Saturday, August 14, 2010

"ASSAM DELIGHT" from My Tea Brew

This is a tea from my fellow tea sommelier, Donna Sikora, who, in her own words focuses on "tootie fruitie" tea blends.  She is aiming to start a tea store and as part of her research has taken a booth at the Port Credit Farmer's Market for the summer to test out the tea blends, the public interest, the types of questions they ask, etc.  Myself I'm not fond of blends, particularly fruity blends (not in shampoos, not in teas) since I find such a breadth of flavours in tea all on its own.  But my own local tea store, Tealish, also tells me their blends do better than the straight teas.  Go figure.

TEA NAME: "Assam Delight"

The package recommends a teaspoon in 7 or 8 ozs of just off the boil water for 2 to 3 minutes but I've opted for cooler water and a short steep since it is mostly green tea. 

Click to enlarge

Small folded balls of dark green tea leaves, a few very thin, black wiry bits and lightly sprinkled with 1/2" pieces of yellow lemon grass.  From the folded leaves this is a baked green tea in the Chinese style of production, as opposed to a steamed green in the Japanese style.

I assumed the black wiry bits were a black Assam tea -- given the tea's name but this is not so.  It's an entirely green tea blend. 

Click image to enlarge.

Appearance: The wet leaves have partially unfurled and are a lovely yellowy-moss green. When I uncurl the leaves all the way they are small and fairly yellow. The lemon grass stems are now pale straw colour.  Since all the wet leaves are green it's clear there is no Assam black tea in this mix at all!

Aroma: There's a very strong lemony aroma -- it's so intense I'm guessing scented oil was added to the tea, either to its constituent parts or by Donna.  There's also the soft grassy undertone of the green tea which is very pleasant. 
Slightly cloudy, beautiful yellowy green.

Appearance: - a fairly rich yellowy-green liquor which is slightly cloudy due, I presume, in part to the lemon grass.

Flavour, etc:  This is quite pleasant and refreshing although I do find it a bit heavy on the lemon flavour -- but you probably guessed I'd find that, didn't you.  Mmm -- it's a very hot muggy summer day here today and this is going down well.  In fact, I suspect that when left to cool it will be a really nice summer afternoon iced tea.  It has a nice mouth feel - smooth and soft, (how do I say "oily" in a good way?)  Light to medium viscosity -- not too thin nor too big and thick.  The aroma in the cup still has lemon as the top note, but it's much softer than on the dry leaves when you open the packet.

Donna with Suzanne (in hat) at her "My Tea Brew" stand
at the Port Credit Farmer's Market today.

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