Assam TGFOP (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Assam TGFOP (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

In my recent review of the English Tea Store’s Golden Heaven Yunnan, a Chinese black tea, I may have spoken a bit rashly. After many years of enthusiastically banging the drum for Assam tea, I made the comment that “I’m starting to wonder if I don’t like Yunnan better.” Which wasn’t exactly a definitive statement, mind you, but at this point I think I’ll go with the position that I really like both types of tea, as opposed to committing to the daunting task of picking one favorite.

Now it’s time for my standard caution whenever Assam tea is the topic of discussion. This region of India is one of the world’s top tea producers and almost all of what they turn out there is black tea. You could also make the argument that a lot of the Assam black tea is not particularly exceptional. So if you’re going to rush out and buy some Assam tea, it’s not a bad idea for the buyer to beware. End of standard caution.

But there’s plenty of good Assam tea to be had, and when it’s good, it’s very good indeed. Most of the better quality stuff from Assam tends to be single-estate tea, meaning that it comes from one particular garden, as opposed to those products that are blended from teas from a variety of sources. It’s not clear from their product description which category the English Tea Store’s Organic Assam TGFOP falls into but I suspect that it’s probably a single-estate tea.

I wouldn’t rank this tea at the absolute top of the heap for Assam teas, but that’s a rather lofty pinnacle indeed, and this one is not very far off the mark. I actually came back a few days after finishing this review and modified this paragraph as I found that this tea started out good and grew on me even more the more I drank it.

This is a very smooth and flavorful Assam, with none of the bitterness or astringency that spoils some of the lesser ones. I drink black tea without anything added and so it’s not hard at all to pick up on these unpleasant qualities, but fortunately in this case there were none. Whether you like milk, sugar and whatnot or don’t, I’m sure that you’ll find that this one’s definitely worth your time.

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