Assam Brahmaputra Black is an intriguing tea from the Bhartia Tea Estate in the east of Assam. Named after the Brahmaputra river which flows through Assam state, this tea comes from a garden where it is produced in cooperation with other nearby small farm holders and is made completely by hand. It was harvested in October 2016, using the local Camellia sinensis var. assamica cultivar. We also offer a smoky Assam Brahmaputra Green tea from the same Estate.
This Assam Brahmaputra Black tea comes from a part of Assam that is located close to the border with Arunachal Pradesh state. It is within the Dibrugarh belt that is often referred to as the ‘Tea Capital of the World’ due to the large amount of tea produced in the area. This area is of course particularly famous for a typical Assam style of tea that has brisk and malty flavours with an appealing liquor appearance. This black tea certainly exhibits those qualities yet is well above most large scale commercial productions of the area both in quality and taste.
Bhartia tea estate is also located close to local areas of natural beauty, including the Dihing Patkai virgin rain forest, known as ‘the Amazon of the East’ due to its climate and biodiversity. Traditionally a small holder farm like this one would supply tea at very low prices to larger factories for further processing, which in turn would sell their finished tea at auctions to highest bidders. However, market pressure on tea prices as well as increasing local costs make such traditional methods of selling tea unsustainable for many farmers in the longer term. This is the primary reason why some smaller farmers are switching to producing high quality handmade tea that is distributed in a more direct chain to end consumers. This ensures that the farmers and the workers on the farms are paid a fair amount for their tea as it does cut out many of the middlemen present in traditional tea supply chains.
We work directly with the owners of Bhartia tea estate, whose family have owned the estate for over a century. Although they produce only a limited quantity of this tea due to labour intensive hand processing, the quality of it really is quite superb. This hand made Assam Brahmaputra Black tea exhibits a more complex character and particular smoothness that is the direct result of hand processing as well as care and skill that has been employed while making this tea.
This Assam Brahmaputra Black tea has been hand selected and hand rolled in the traditional orthodox style of tea production. The large dry twisted leaves have a dark brown appearance with some golden tips and a malty aroma. When brewed, the aroma of this tea is an unmistakable malty Assam with an added caramel dimension. It is quite light for an Assam, so if you’re not a fan of strong teas, this may suit your taste rather well. It could be compared to a top grade english breakfast blend but is not drying on the tongue and can be easily enjoyed without milk. The red amber liquor has no astringency, but is sweet and smooth and has a caramel undertone with a slight earthy depth. Very balanced and perfect for a gentle morning tea.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed a couple of times depending on your taste preferences.
This Assam Brahmaputra Black tea was first featured in our April 2017 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.