Assam Tea: What is Assam Black Tea?

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english breakfast black tea with assam and sumatra tea leaves

Background of Assam Tea

Assam comes from the Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica tea plant and is produced in the region of Assam, India.

The tea plantations of Assam were introduced by the British during the colonial period. Assam is cultivated at or near sea level as it lies along the Brahmaputra river which stretches from the Himalayas through to the Bay of Bengal.

The soil in the region of Assam is rich and fertile and benefits from a hot monsoon season which produces a humid environment and conditions comparable to a large outdoor greenhouse.

Taste and Appearance 

Assam is more oxidised than green or white teas; which results in Assam’s classic, dark leaf appearance.

Oxidisation is the process which turns the tea leaves darker resulting in a richer taste.

The growing conditions combined with the oxidisation process results in Assam’s full-bodied, malty flavour as well as its strong and brisk taste.

How to Brew Assam

  1. Place one perfect tea spoon of Assam into an infuser and place into a tea cup
  2. Boil the kettle to 100°C and pour the water into the tea cup
  3. Let the tea leaves brew for 3-5 mins and remove the infuser
  4. Enjoy with our without milk

Types of Assam

Assam is available as a loose leaf tea or in pyramid tea bags and can be enjoyed in the form of a pure single estate tea or as an Assam blend.

A single estate tea comes from one specific tea estate (e.g. Assam Panitola) and produces its own signature profile based on the tea estate’s growing conditions. Whereas an Assam blend consists of tea leaves from various tea estates in Assam (or with other regions - e.g. Ceylon) and is blended respectively to its own taste.

Single Estate Assam Teas & Blends:

  • Assam First Flush Leaf Blend (No.1)
  • Assam Panitola FTGFOP1 Second Flush - Single Estate (No.2)
  • Assam Orangajuli TGFOP First Flush - Single Estate (No.3)
  • Assam Thowra TGFOP Second Flush - Single Estate (No.36)
  • Assam Mangalam FTGFOP1 Second Flush - Single Estate (No.45)
  • English Breakfast Organic BOP (No.12)
  • English Leaf Blend OP (No.43)
  • Strong Breakfast (No.13)

1) Assam First Flush Leaf Blend (No.1)

A lovely quality Assam for daily consumption. This Assam leaf blend is blended from various Assam tea plantations. The infusion of these black, well processed leaves with light leaf tips is strong and dark and has an earthy-spicy taste and a malty note. The scent is spicy and heavy. 

assam plantation
Assam Panitola Tea Estate

2) Assam Panitola FTGFOP1 Second Flush - Single Estate (No.2)

Panitola Tea Estate is located in the Tinsukia district in Assam, North East India. The Panitola tea plantation is just a walk away from the local train station and is one of the most ethically sound gardens.

The Panitola Tea Estate operates two primary schools, has two stationary creches and four mobile creches for children under six years. Plus they have their own hospital which provides the local population with free healthcare and medical supplies.

Panitola has been a popular export to Europe in part to its brisk, bright cups and distinctive and rich infusions.

Panitola is well known for its high quality Assam gardens; and is home to the world famous tea bush clone P-126A which was produced during British colonial times and is used in many Assam Tea Estates.

To date, Panitola produces CTC and orthodox teas. Panitola Tea Estate practices sustainable organic methods to pest control, but is still not classified as an organic tea garden.

Panitola Tea Estate has successfully attained Ethical Tea Partnership certification.

Taste Profile: Assam Panitola FTGFOP1 Second Flush 

A high quality black tea from the Panitola Tea Estate in Assam.

Our Assam Panitola is graded FTGFOP1 (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, Grade 1) and presents an appearance of a medium sized leaf with lots of golden tips.

In terms of taste, expect a full-bodied distinctive and spicy aroma with malty after tones. The strength of our Assam Panitola black tea is on the medium-strong scale.

A great alternative to an everyday breakfast tea. Perfect with or without milk. 

a woman working an assam plantation
Assam Orangajuli Tea Estate - pictured is the woman who won the Best Tea Plucker Award

3) Assam Orangajuli TGFOP First Flush - Single Estate (No.3)

The Orangajuli Tea Estate is located in the Bhergaon Block of Udalguri, Assam, India.

The Orangajuli Tea Estate is about 904 miles east of New Delhi, the country's capital town. The name Orangajuli comes from a translation meaning the “Orang” people who live by the “juri” (which is a small stream).

The Orangajuli Tea Estate is the last British owned tea estate in Assam which was established in 1894. The estate provides free housing, medical care and schooling for children of families who work in the the estate.

The Orangajuli Tea Estate cultivates high quality clones of Panitola-126A and focuses solely on orthodox teas.

The Orangajuli Tea Estate has been awarded with the best tea plucker award which went to a hard working and highly skilled woman who works on the Orangajuli Tea Estate.

The Orangajuli Tea Estate is a part of the Ethical Trade Partnership.

Taste Profile: Assam Orangajuli TGFOP First Flush 

Assam Orangajuli is a high quality single estate black tea which presents a dark-red coloured cup and a deliciously malty and smooth taste.

Our Assam Orangajuli is graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). This Assam Orangajuli is a first flush orthodox large leaf which has been plucked in early spring and has lots of silvery tips.

The superior climate conditions and quality tea bushes provide a unique and complex taste.

The bouquet is sparkling and flowery. Add honey or a slice of lemon for a sweeter tasting cup.

The gates of assam thowra tea estate
Assam Thowra Tea Estate owned by James Warren Tea Limited

4) Assam Thowra TGFOP Second Flush - Single Estate

Thowra Tea Estate is situated in the Sivasagar District in Upper Assam.

Thowra Tea Estate produces orthodox and CTC teas and is known for being the top CTC Tea Estate in the world. The Thowra Tea Estate consists of quality tea bushes in a deep soil which help produce a fine and rich flavour.

The Thowra Tea Estate is part of the Ethical Trade Partnership and is HACCP certified.

Taste Profile: Assam Thowra TGFOP Second Flush

Assam TGFOP Thowra is single estate black tea from the Thowra Tea Estate in Assam.

Our Assam Thowra is a second flush black tea and graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe).

Assam Thowra presents leaves with lots of golden tips and a deep copper coloured cup.

In terms of taste, expect a strong, richly spicy and distinctive malty flavour.

Assam Thowra is a wonderful black tea for the morning which can also be paired with rock sugar.

Perfect with or without milk.  

tea crops from the assam mangalam tea estate
Assam Mangalam Tea Estate - picturesque with densely planted tea shurbs

5) Assam Mangalam FTGFOP1 Second Flush - Single Estate

Assam Mangalam Tea Estate cultivates densely planted Assamica hybrid tea bushes which were carefully cloned from the Manjushree Plantation in 1973.  The close spacing of tea bushes results in high yielding tea bushes and enhances tip production.

A relatively new plantation in comparison to other tea plantations (which can be hundreds of years old) -  The Mangalam Tea Estate consists of Assam CTC and Orthodox Teas.

The Mangalam Tea Estate is a part of the Ethical Trade Partnership.

Taste Profile: Assam Mangalam FTGFOP1 Second Flush

Assam Mangalam FTGFOP1 comes from the Mangalam Tea Estate and has large leaves which consists of lots of golden tips.

Our Assam Mangalam has been graded FTGFOP1 (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, Grade 1).

In terms of flavour, you can expect a deliciously malty and a rich, spicy flavour.

Assam Mangalam produces a dark, amber coloured cup.

strong breakfast tea held by an employee at true tea co in harrogate north yorkshire
Strong Breakfast Black Tea by True Tea Co.

Assam Blends

We have three Assam black tea blends available.

These include an English Breakfast Organic BOP, English Leaf Blend OP and a Strong Breakfast. 

A) English Breakfast Organic BOP

Our English Breakfast Organic Black Tea is the perfect way to start your day!

A well balanced mix of broken Assam and Sumatra leaves.

Expect a robust level of harshness, tanginess and a delicious malty taste.

B) English Leaf Blend OP

English Leaf Blend consists of Assam, Ceylon and Java orange-pekoe graded black teas.

This blend produces a fine and spicy taste which makes a wonderful and comforting breakfast tea.

Perfect with morning breakfast or afternoon tea.

C) Strong Breakfast

Strong Breakfast tea is a blend of some of the most strongest Assam teas creating an infusion of strength with a highly spicy and malty taste. This loose leaf black tea blend will not disappoint. Enjoy with or without milk.

Further Information on Assam

If you would like to view our other black teas, feel free to browse our website for other black teas