December 20, 2016
Assam Banaspaty - Indian Black Tea Cupping
Assam is one of the two most well-known Indian tea producing regions. The other is Darjeeling. Read my Darjeeling First Flush cupping notes. Today I share my impressions of Assam Banaspaty. Assam teas are produced from the large leaves of Camellia sinsensis var. assamica. When steeped, Assam teas generally produce a malty and astringent dark reddish liquor. Read on for specifics on mouthfeel, taste, and smell of the Assam Banaspaty I tasted.
The original source of the tea listed it as broken orange pekoe (BOP). Orange pekoe refers to the plucking style of a bud and two leaves. However, I noted a very low presence of buds in the dry tea. The leaves, mostly black but with showing red and golden colors, too, were mixed in length and inconsistently cut. The leaves smelled like a cigarette before it is lit. I also detected malt and dark fruit.
I used the standard cupping protocol of 2 grams of leaves steeped for 3 minutes. The water temperature was 212F. I prepared one infusion with my instructor and steeped the leaves twice more on my own. The color of the infusion was mahogany. The liquor smelled like briskness. It was also woody tasting with notes of dark, dried fruit. The end note was astringent. The scent from the infused leaves were consistent with the dry leaf and the liquor; they smelled malty and like tobacco. Overall the tea was round with little to no sharpness. It tasted of just right malty; no milk should be added to this tea.