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Assam Tea

Today, tea is grown on both sides of the Brahmaputra Valley, the largest black tea- producing region of the world. In 1993, approximately 155 years after those first chests of tea arrived in London,Assam's 2,000 gardens produced a record 444,231.8 tons— 53 percent of the all-India record crop of 835,552.7 tons.

The Brahmaputra Valley lies 120 miles east of Darjeeling, and borders with China, Burma, and Bangladesh. The tea-growing areas experience very high rainfall—from 79 to 118 inches per year. The rainfall distribution is extremely uneven and can be as high as 10 to 12 inches per day in the monsoon period. During this time of heavy rains, the temperature rises to approximately 103°F and this greenhouse-like combination of humidity and heat produces some of the finest varieties of tea in the world.

The majority of Assam production takes place from July to September when nearly 1,000 pluckers work eight hours a day in the hot steamy gardens, each one picking nearly 50,000 stems a day. Conditions are not easy and apart from the intense heat snakes and insects make life very uncomfortable .The leaves are thrown into heavy baskets that are worn on the back and supported by a strap around the forehead.

To meet an increasing domestic demand and to keep up a steady export trade, the Assam industry has concentrated over the past few years on the breeding and selection of superior clone plants and seed stock, and bio-technical research into plant improvement. To ease the shortage of labor during peak seasons, mechanical plucking has also been tested in some areas.

Manufactured CTC and orthodox teas are transported by truck to the nearest auction centers at Guwuhati (which handles mainly teas for the domestic market), Silgiri, and Calcutta (which auctions teas for export).

First Flush Assam.
Assam tea bushes start growing after their winter dormancy in March and the first flush is picked for eight to ten weeks. First flush Assams, unlike Darjeelings, are seldom marketed in Europe and the US.

Second Flush Assam.
The plucking of the second flush begins in June and the major part of production takes: place from July to September. The undersides of the large leaves of the Camellia assamica are covered with an abundance of silvery hairs and give high quality tippy teas. When brewed, they yield a rich aroma, a clear dark red liquor that is full of body and a strong malty rounded taste that is a favorite at breakfast time.

Other recommended gardens
Betjan, Bhuyanphir, Borengajuli, Dinjoye, Hajua, Haimari, Harmutty, Jamirah, Maud, Meleng, Nokhnoy, Numalighur; Sankar, Seajuli, Sepon, Silonibari, and Tara.

Assam Blend
The malty, full-bodied richness of Assam blends makes them ideal morning teas that drink extremely well with breakfast foods such as bacon, ham, and smoked fish.

Assam Green
Green tea accounts for slightly more than one percent of lndia's total tea production. Assam produces very little of this type of tea, but the unusual light almost sweet liquor is worth trying.

First Flush Assam
Bamonpookri

Characteristics: Regular-size, well-made pieces of greeny-brown leaf similar to first flush Darjeeling. Excellent quality tea with a strong fresh flavor.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant I cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: A breakfast tea. Drink with a little milk.

Second Flush Assam
Napuk

Characteristics: Balanced flavor, wonderful aroma. and all the qualities of well-made Assam tea.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: Drink with milk. Very good at breakfast time with toast and marmalade.

Thowra
Characteristics: Beautifully made leaves with plenty of golden tips. Strong, spicy liquor with lots of body.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: An excellent breakfast tea. Best with milk.

Assam Blend
Characteristics: Pungent, malty, full-bodied liquor with rich red color.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F, Infuse for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: Drink with milk as a strong breakfast or afternoon tea.

Assam Green
Khongea

Characteristics: An Assam green tea, Young leaves give a scented aroma and a clear, golden liquor with sweet flavor.
Brewing hints: Brew 2 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 194-203°F, Infuse for 2.5 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: A relaxing tea at any time of the day. Drink without milk.

Recommend our Lazy Tea Sets to brew these teas.