A question posed to me almost daily is “What’s your favorite tea?” For a tea buyer, there is no quick response to that seemingly-simple query. The answer depends upon where I am in the world, who’s joining me for tea, and the season or time of day.
Bruce’s second sale—ninety-five chests in 1840—proved there was a thirst for British-grown India tea and the race began to establish more gardens in that remote northeastern corner of India. Today, Assam is second only to the country of China in the tonnage of tea produced annually.
Charles Bruce’s historic report on Assam tea.
A high level of tippy leaves is an indication of a carefully made, excellent-quality Assam choice. I often fall in love at the sight of these teas even before they yield their delicious well-rounded flavors to my tongue.
Tea picker on the Sonapur Tea Estate, Assam
First Flush Tippy Assams can sometimes yield notes of the greenness found in First Flush Darjeelings, a bit lighter than what most consider the typical Assam profile. I like this freshness but my preference – and the preference for most tea professionals I know – is Second Flush Tippy Assam. Stephen Twining and I spent an entire morning drinking pot after pot of these delicious teas in his historic London shop a few years ago.
That’s why my wife and I drink it every morning and Tippy Assam is in our suitcase when we travel—even into other tea-producing countries. We both agree it’s our go-to morning tea.
But there is one thing we don’t agree on: she drinks it neat and I always add milk.