Finding Elegance in a Cup of Assam

Assam tea is a staple in my stash. No specific vendor, no specific estate— just something labeled “Assam” that produces a consistent, stick-to-your-ribs malty tea, which I dress up with milk and sugar. It’s never been anything special, but it always offers a certain kind of comfort— especially on cold winter mornings. Enter the Harmutty Estate Assam STGFOP (which is just a fancy way of saying “the good stuff”) from Chado Tea. It has challenged every experience I’ve had with Assam tea.

The Harmutty Estate Assam appears to be small, uniform leaves, that are fine, curly, and charcoal-brown colored. I also noticed plenty of downy, golden buds scattered throughout the bag. The dry tea smells sweet and malty— just what I would expect from an Assam— and, after tossing the leaves in a warm vessel, I notice the smell of raisins, too.

But, this is where my experience deviates from all of the Assam teas I have tasted. On a whim I decided not to add milk and sugar like usual. (Really, I should be waiting to dress up tea until after tasting them plain anyway, but old habits and whatnot.) Instead of a malty and fairly astringent cup of tea demanding to be tamed with milk, the Harmutty Estate Assam was smooth and malty with aromas of dates and raisins. It was rich and full-bodied, and while it could certainly stand up to milk and sugar, I was perfectly content to sip without any additions to the cup.

I re-steeped the leaves a second time, and I found the tea still flavorful. It was malty, for sure, but any fruit aromas dissipated into something floral (but fleeting).

I always considered Assam tea to be the “meat and potatoes” of the tea world— hearty but nothing fancy, yet always suitable for delivering warmth and caffeine in the morning. But, the Harmutty Estate Assam is something more. Its sweet, fruity aromas made it feel elegant, like something I might serve at Afternoon Tea. It makes excited to explore Assam tea with intent in the future.

For all of the Assam junkies out there— which Assam teas are your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Already tried the Harmutty Assam from Chado Tea Room? Why not check out these tasTEA recommendations:

Disclosure: the Harmutty Estate Assam was provided to me free for PR purposes. My thoughts and opinion of this tea are ever my own.

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