Assam: The Malty Ambrosia from India

Turn on a Football game and you will see about 15 commercials for beer. And most of those are light beer. Light beer has taken this country by storm over the past 35 years. And why not? It has a light taste so people can consume it in mass quantities (especially at football games). But recently, we have seen an explosion in the popularity of micro-brewed beer. These beers offer a totally different experience than light beer. Instead of a light flavor, they have an almost thick, malty flavor that you taste from the first sip. While this may seem like a new concept, the tea world has experienced the same debate for over a hundred years. But, in the tea world, the argument is between a light, astringent taste we call Ceylon tea and the dark, malty teas of the Assam region.  

Assam’s have a malty flavor with hints of honey

Assam teas are bold, flavorful and fantastic for those who love big flavors. Upon your first sip, you instantly taste the assertiveness of it while it almost smacks you with heavy notes of malt.

The reason for this is the climate

Assam’s are grown in the Assam region in India, as I am sure you guessed by now. The Assam region boasts extremely hot temperatures that are either accompanied by rain or so much humidity that it feels like you are walking through a rain shower. It is from this soil that the tea plants draw from to produce a leaf that is significantly larger than normal. And since the leaves are so big, the tea farmers need to rush the tea through processing to capture the wonderful flavors they produce.  

The faster the processing, the bolder the flavor

It is this fast withering that creates such an assertive tea. And you may have already tried an Assam, but not even realized it. Most gourmet Chai blends use Assam as their tea base since it can hold up to the strong spices. So if you love the bold and malty flavors of a good Chai, the odds are you will love Assam.  

But don’t confuse bold with boring

Even while they are assertive and bold, the best Assam’s have a highly sophisticated flavor. The matiness usually melds with a natural honey taste to create a wonderfully complex brew.  


Much like the malty taste of micro-brewed beer, Assams have a big and wonderfully complex taste that is hard to match. So, if you think that Ceylon teas are to thin tasting, this may be the perfect tea for you.

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