Assam 1860 – Gourmet Black Tea

Assam 1860, a gourmet black tea company, got in touch with me, to get my honest opinion of their tea.

Assam 1860 is a newly launched tea brand that is owned by The James Warren Tea Company. The James Warren Tea Company was started in 1860, when Mr. James Warren, a Britisher traveled from West Bengal to Dibrugarh and created a small tea estate. The James Warren Tea Company currently has 7 tea estates, all in Assam. Assam 1860 is a tea brand that comes from their Thowra Tea estate.
Assam 1860 is a ‘CTC’ type of tea. It is a type of machinery processed tea, where the processing has three stages (crush, tear, curl ), hence the name ‘CTC’ tea.

Sometime between 2011 and 2013, during my previous work assignment, I was introduced to preparing tea all by myself in a office pantry! This was a tech startup. As you can imagine, tech startups don’t usually have large pantries or fancy coffee/tea vending machines. We had this 1 Electric Tea kettle, which could heat water for 3 cups. This meant that we needed to have crazy planning, as our team size was 8 members! Boy, did this mean that someone had to go switch on this little kettle to heat tea and come back and work! This helped create a great camaraderie between us πŸ™‚

The Kettle part of the story is just 1 piece of the puzzle!! What we needed after that was to mix milk powder, sugar, and then add instant coffee powder or dip a tea bag! Now, it may all seem very easy, but let me tell you that it took a lot of failures to make a perfect tea! The right amount of sugar, milk powder, number of tea bags(1 or 2, some freaks used 3!) made all the difference.

Now, how do you make it easier? Do you remember the quantity of every item and hope that your blend is perfect? I guess I’m not one of those! What did I do?
I removed all the constituents and made life simpler! I got rid of the sugar and milk powder πŸ™‚ All that I needed to do was, heat water and dip this bad boy(tea bag) into it! This was tough in the beginning, but macho men are supposed to do tough things! This is when I got used to Black tea πŸ™‚

Black tea is fully fermented, which blackens the leaves and causes the formation of caffeine and tannins. It generally possesses the most robust flavor and highest level of caffeine, but the least antioxidants. This is actually totally opposite to what Green tea is.

The company that I work for now, has fancy vending machines that makes it easier to do all this! But, where’s the fun anymore? We run from filling our tea cups from pantry to meeting room and back to desk! Life’s gotten busier and we’re left with little time to appreciate the good things in life!

The Assam 1860 tea was so thoughtful in sending me tea bags, instead of the tea powder, as it’s less of a hassle! The packaging was pretty exquisite. First impression was a great one πŸ™‚ As I opened the small starter pack, I saw a few tea bags in it and a little personal thank you note, for agreeing to review their newest tea brand! I love tea, so I couldn’t say no πŸ™‚

The tea bags are enclosed in a very neat and glossy transparent plastic pouches. There is some amazing artwork on these pouches and you will agree with me, once you take a look at the photograph!

When I tore open the pouch to use the tea bag, I noticed that the quality of the nets used for the tea bags were really good.

My mug πŸ™‚

Tea bag dipped in boiling water

As I dipped the tea bag into the boiling water in my mug, the deep color of the tea started to appear and I could smell the aroma of the tea quite soon!

The liquor after the tea was completely brewed:

Video of Teabag

Here’s a video, of the when I dipped the teabag in a transparent cup, with boiling water:

Verdict

AROMA

The aroma of this tea is extremely pleasing. Make sure the water is on a higher temperature to be able to extract more of the tea’s aroma!

BODY

This black tea is a full bodied one. You get really strong flavors of this tea.

TASTE

All the good packaging can only get you so far in pleasing a customer. All that matters is the taste of the tea and it was the defining moment of truth!
As I took my first sip, I could differentiate the taste from what I had all my life. This was easy to gulp down than the ones I’ve had in the past. This is a single blend and this might have helped it’s cause!

ASTRINGENCY

Tea’s astringent qualities comes from chemicals that are found naturally in tea leaves; polyphenols( tannins ).
The astringency level of this tea is high, but neutral, or more commonly known as ‘Ku’. It is not one bit on the rougher side, ‘Se’.
Now if I had added milk to my tea, the tannins would have reacted with the protein in the milk, rather than my membranes in my mouth!

I’d like to thank the team behind Assam 1860, for giving me the opportunity to try their amazing creation! I would love to order their tea to replace my existing morning tea brand!

Assam 1860 links:
ASSAM 1860’s WEBSITE
ASSAM 1860’s Facebook Page

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