Origins of Assam Tea
The Assam tea story began when a Scottish adventurer, named Robert Bruce noticed tea-like plants growing wild near Rangpur in 1823 while on a trading mission. Intrigued by the plant, Bruce approached the Maniram Dewan to learn more about it. He was then directed to Bessa Gam who was the local Singpho chief. Bessa showed Bruce how local tribesmen (known as the Singphos) brewed tea from leaves of this bush. Bruce then persuaded the Tribal chief to give him samples of the tea leaves with its seed for experimental purposes. Unfortunately, Robert Bruce passed away before the plant could be classified.
Bruce's brother Charles, however, managed to get the tea plant classified after he sent it to a botanical garden in Calcutta to be properly examined. The plant was then classified as a tea variety and named Camellia sinensis var. Assamica.
The Strong Black: Assam tea taste
The Assam black tea is strong, making it a star among tea drinkers who love their black tea strong. Assam is also the largest single tea producing region in the world and a core of the British style of tea. The Assam tea gardens are at sea level, this contributes to its malty taste and brisk profile.
Assam black tea is preferred as a breakfast tea because of its strong bold flavour. The famous English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast black teas have their bases in Assam.
The climate of Assam is mostly hot and humid as it lies on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. The temperature fluctuations in the region causes a greenhouse effect on the environment, making it ideal for tea plants like Chinary and Assamica.
Tea grades produced in Assam
Assam has 2 main harvest seasons – the first flush which begins late in March and goes on until late May; and the second flush which is usually in June. It is in the second harvest season that the famous Tippy tea is produced. The Tippy Tea has a fuller body, is much sweeter and considered superior to teas from the first harvest.
Both teas typed, Orthodox as well as Assam CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) tea variety, are produced from the tea estates in Assam. The Assam green tea and oolong tea are also worth mentioning. They are also high-quality and organic teas produced in the Assam tea estates. Popular grades produced by the tea industry in Assam include the whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings, and dust.