Assam one of the popular destinations for tea has about 312,210 hectares for tea production. Producing nearly 507 million kgs of tea per year ,growing in an altitude of 40 to 50 meters above the sea level, rainfall of 2500 to 3000 mm annually, rich fertile soil as well as tropical climate contributes to the production of some outstanding loose leaf orthodox teas. Now here the term orthodox refers to the traditionally hand plucked yielding and fermenting those tea leaves to make the richly scented , flavored, well textured teas.
These Assam teas have a strong malty(tippy) sweet flavor and rich amber which provides a good refreshment for the mind and in demand worldwide. Grown from the Camellia Sinensis var Assamica plant, these Assam orthodox teas are grown and concoted in the tea areas in the Brahmaputra valley of North-East India. That is why they are formally known as the Assam teas. Well known for producing Orthodox as well as CTC(crush , tear, curl)varieties , the popular qualities of Assam tea includes dust, fannings, whole leaf as well as broken leaf. Out of these, only three that is the dust, fannings, broken leaf are produced via CTC method as well as tough manufacturing procedures.
Not only popular for the natural beauties but the Assam black tea consists of a very strong texture as well as unique taste which makes its popular and creates its demands worldwide. Produced in the Brahmaputra valley, these Assam teas are the ideal type for the typical type of Indian breakfast. That is the second flush orthodox blends from Assam have that brighter texture and intense taste. And a good substitute for coffee. Indian tea types are complex with Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe at the top followed by Tippy golden flowery orange pekoe. This has nothing to do with orange or indicates the best tea.
These only refers to the original leaves appearance in contrast to that of fannings(which blows away if one sneezes) and dust particles(smaller than edible salts). Now while understanding Assam tea look at FOP (Flowery Whole Leaf Orange Pekoe) and BOP(Broken Leaf Orange Pekoe) . In short , the smaller the leaf, the quicker the tea releases its flavour and the bitter it will be. This is what distinguishes the Orthodox tea from the Assam CTC tea.
If we take a detail into the CTC teas ,we find that CTC teas includes leaf pellet and dust. CTC is a mechanized method where the leaves are Cut, Tear and Curl through harsher and faster methods that shapes the tender leaf into pellets. The leftover pieces and ground up particles are termed as fannings and dust. Nearly all Assam tea is now termed as CTC and is shaped into the tea bags and blended which creates a strong taste from small fast-brewing ingredients at the lowest practical production cost.
There is nothing termed as whole-leaf CTC. Technically, broken-leaf categories of CTC and dust includes the powder and particles left over from whole tea leaves processing. Truly unique if tasted the right way.
Lets take a look into the famous tea gardens of Assam:
- Halmari offering a wide variety of both broken leaf teas as well as high end and leaf teas. Halmari and Doomni processes teas that stand out in comparison with most others: better in smoothness, better in ,maltiness, etc.
- Chota Tingrai produces a new style of Assam tea following Japanese methodology, their equipment and their types of flavor.
- Mangalam’s teas are lighter than most Assams, without losing their punch and strong flavor. Popular for the growth of clonal teas, ones developed in research to bring out varied nuances of flavor and strengthen characteristics such as water usage, root strength as well as resistance to pests. Mangalam teas have unusual citrus and spicy overtones which makes it a bit different.
- Harmutty consists of those tea leaves specked with golden tips which seem to be of a usual characteristic with warm coppery-brown textured in cups, helpful for reducing astringency.
At last all it can be concluded is that the Assam tea produces sweet and sour, nectar-like taste depending on the processing done after plucking those from the tea gardens.