Thursday, March 3, 2016

James Warren Tea Ltd, Assam 1860

James Warren Tea Ltd Description:
Assam1860 is India's gourmet black tea brand, recently launched from our family-owned James Warren Tea Estates. We have 150 years of expertise in producing some of the world’s best black tea. Our tea has a unique full-bodied flavour that is ideal for black liquor tea or masala chai. We are a team of 10,000 people and strive to make every cup count.

Assam1860 brews a perfect cup of liquor tea and/or masala chai. The brand is perfect for people looking for a good quality product with a personalized sensation.

Sample provided by Assam 1860

My Review:
Recently I was contacted by Assam 1860 and asked if I would like to give an honest review of their tea. Well, of course I would be pleased to do so. Assam 1860 is a new brand from the James Warren Tea Ltd company. The idea is to supply tea direct from the estate to you, avoiding the middleman, and thereby offering you the freshest tea available. In the process they claim to be the first Indian tea brand to be 100% Rainforest Alliance compliant.

I received a box of nylon tea bags, each containing 2.25 g of CTC leaf. The tea is also available in loose bags of CTC. Crush, Tear, Curl, or CTC is often associated with typical grocery store fare by loose leaf aficionados among us. That does not necessarily indicate inferior tea was used.

The box was shrink wrapped. Once opened the individual nylon bags are sealed in their own envelop. This helps protect freshness and increase the useful storage time of the tea.

Opening the envelop, I catch a very pleasant and welcome malty fragrance.

I heated filtered water to boiling and poured over the bag in my mug. The string is fairly short so wrap it around the cup handle or hang on to it, to prevent fishing later.

I steeped for 2 1/2 minutes. The website recommends 2 minutes and the carton says 3-5. I know my system and 3-5 is too long for me, especially with a new tea.

The color is really beautiful. I'm not sure how to describe it but cherry mahogany comes to mind. It really is a deep rich tone. It has a wonderful malty fragrance as well. It smells a little sweet and a little fruity.

Finally getting to taste. Wow. Brisk. It has a solid grab you awake bite that a breakfast tea should have. After the initial jolt, I pick up the malty notes. It is woody, fruity, and mildly sweet. It is exactly all that I expect and more.

Next, I add a little sweetener (Splenda in my case) to see how it handles the addition. It brings the briskness way down, so if you don't like the savage bite I crave, you can make it behave in a civil manner. With the addition the other elements do find more room to express themselves.

It is not my custom to do so, but because I know a lot of tea drinkers add milk, I put just a splash in my mug. It kind of ruins the beauty of the color, so don't bother using a clear glass mug. In this particular case, I must admit it works really well. Really well. I found myself downing the rest of the mug rather quickly. It's not that it adds anything new. It is more like it marries all the flavors together without making a muddy mess. For the first time I understand adding milk and would do so again with this one.

I do not believe Assam 1860 is currently available anywhere in the US. You can order direct from Assam 1860 here. Hopefully some enterprising group will acquire this wholesale and add it to their line up. Very pleased to have tried this one.


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