Assam Latumoni Tippy Black is a fine completely handmade Assam from Latumoni, a very small family-run plantation located in Tingkhong, Upper Assam. The careful hand processing in small individual batches results in large, beautiful leaves and a rich yet mellow liquor. This tea was harvested on 16 April 2022 from plants grown naturally and without use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
The small privately-run plantation only measures approximately 2 acres. It was planted by Sailen and his late father. Originally the leaves from this small plantation like those of many others were bought by the larger factories of Assam to increase their capacity. However, with large corporate gardens having full control over the purchasing of the leaves from small scale farmers and little competition have lead to a significant decrease in the price offered to the farmers. This essentially has created a situation where the small scale farmers were exploited by the large corporate estates. Sailen decided to change the way he was running the plantation, to switch to organic growing methods and to start producing his own artisanal teas.
We work together with a specialist wholesaler in Assam who only works with small scale farmers like Sailen. They do not just resell the farmers’ teas but also provide support and financial help to small scale farmers to enable them to produce great quality tea – such as investing into machinery and providing them with knowhow. This guarantees small scale farmers like Sailen a fair price for their tea and provides investment into their farm to support their family’s future. This is in complete contrast with teas from many large Assam estates where most of the price paid for the tea ends up with the estate and little trickles down to the farmers.
This Assam Latumoni Tippy Black is an earlier First Flush Assam, having been picked in the middle of April. Generally the later Second Flush is the more prized picking as it tends to deliver a bolder flavour that many fans of Assam black tea are looking for. However this earlier harvest delivers some of the classic Assam taste but with a lighter, more elegant twist. The leaves of this tea are carefully handpicked from demarcated sections of the plantation over a short picking period. Therefore each picking can be quite different and this particular batch was only 15kg in total. After picking the leaves are hand-rolled in small batches to avoid breakage and to preserve unique flavour profiles of each picking. Being a bit more tippy than the Signature Black from the sister production at Kathaldanga, this version delivers a lighter Assam taste.
The dry leaves of Assam Latumoni Tippy Black are large and dark in colour with 20-30% of golden tips. It produces a dark amber liquor with a malty aroma, very much like a classic Assam. The malty taste is smooth, sweet and lightly drying. There are mineral, dry floral and lightly woody notes on the taste. The aftertaste is tangy, mineral, with a hint of tobacco and some pleasant tannins. This tea delivers a classic Assam taste but without the harsher and overpowering tannins commonly found in more mass-produced teas. Being an earlier harvest, this further elevates the taste, making it milder, smoother and more approachable.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-5 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed a couple of times depending on your taste preferences. Definitely try this one without addition of milk or sugar. Works great for gongfu brewing!