Tea drinkers around the world love Assam tea, and they sure drink a lot of it! In fact, you’ll often find the terms ‘Indian tea’ and ‘Assam tea’ being used interchangeably. Half of India’s tea – or a whopping 1.3 billion pounds every year – comes from the region of Assam. And the global demand for it is so huge that only a tenth is consumed locally. The rest goes into crafting a variety of popular black teas and flavored tea blends. But why all the love for this Indian black tea?
Why is Assam tea famous?
The secret behind Assam black tea’s fame is its iconic taste – full-bodied, robust, and uniquely malty. Assam makes a great base for some of the most popular and flavorful tea blends in the world including English Breakfast & Masala Chai teas.
How does it get that way?
Loose leaf Assam teas are produced from a specific variety of the camellia sinensis plant that is indigenous to the region. These plants grow in hot, humid lowlands along the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, where torrential rain and greenhouse-like conditions bring a malty flavor in their leaves.
There are two harvesting seasons in Assam. The first harvest (flush) happens during the spring, while the second flush delivers a more flavorful summer tea.
Best Assam tea
What is the best Assam black tea to make a perfect cup for you?
When shopping for the best Assam black tea around, consider loose leaf single estate teas. As far as Assam tea goes, this is the cream of the crop. Produced from a single tea garden and often processed, packed, and shipped directly from the source, single estate teas are the freshest, highest quality, truly the best loose leaf Assam teas available on the market. Here’s a great option for you:
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Mangalam Gold Summer Black Tea
What is Mangalam Assam tea?
Sourced at the world famous Mangalam estate, this tea is a must try for the lovers of Assam. Mangalam Assam teas are made with an Assamica hybrid of tea plant that produces large leaves and many golden tips. The resulting black teas are notable for their full-bodied profile with distinctive malty flavor. They make for an invigorating, perfect cup of breakfast brew. A splash of milk would enhance the sweet and toasty notes of your Mangalam Assam.
Keep reading to find our Top 10 Best Assam Tea picks.
One of our go-to places online to stock up on Assams is Vahdam Teas.
Vahdam Teas Online Store
Green Assam Tea
Organic Full Bodied Black Tea, Malty Assam
Assam T.G.F.O.P. Tea Organic
Assam Enigma Second Flush Black Tea
Smoky Assam Souchong Black Tea
Mangalam Gold Summer Black Tea
Organic Breakfast Tea Bags
Organic Coconut Assam Tea Bags
The history of Assam tea
All of India’s tea chronicles usually go back to the same source. 150 years ago, the British were on a quest to end China’s tea monopoly, and they tried a bunch of different ways to grow tea in India. They didn’t have to do much in the northeastern state of Assam, though. Because as it turned out, a variety of the tea plant (later named camellia sinensis assamica) was already growing in the wild there. It didn’t take long for the government to realize that the climate and soil conditions here were ideal for tea cultivation. Today, over 300,000 hectares of land in Assam are covered in tea plantations, and a fifth of the state’s population is involved in tea production.
This is a strong, bold, malty, full-bodied, “breakfast” type of Indian tea. Assam tea drinkers appreciate its “smooth, rich flavor and feel” with “honey-like sweet aftertaste”. “If you want a BLACK tea, this is it!” they say. “Strong yet delicate”, it’s usually “a great tea to try with a touch of milk”.
Consider loose leaf Assam black tea as an alternative to coffee: it would allow you to cut down on caffeine substantially, while still providing you with the necessary pick-me-up you need in the morning. It’s strong enough to start off the most challenging of days, and refuel you all the way through.
Another type of strong and flavorful type of Indian tea is Nilgiri.