Lochan Tea Ltd. sources teas from a variety of tea gardens in West Bengal, Sikkim, and Assam, India, as well as representing their own tea garden, Doke, in Bihar, India. They were kind enough to send us a bunch of first flush samples, including these three teas from Assam. We hope you will enjoy learning a bit more about them in our little tea party. TOOOT!
Weekends can be a bit dull for my humans when the skies are gray and a drizzling Winter rain goes on all day long. But I cheer them up with tasty tea! They bought a box of loose leaf Assam tea at a tea room about three years ago and finally decided to open it. What a thrill to try a new tea! The results were rather, well, less than exciting, as I will soon show. #TOOOT! Continue reading Little Yellow Teapot reports: Taylors of Harrogate Assam Tea
Well, dear humans, months and months of work by my ‘she’ human have finally resulted in the completion of our Guide to Assam Teas & Gardens. Assam tea is our favorite here. Two we like to keep in stock are Lochan Gold from Lochan Tea Ltd. and Bihu Bold from Shona’s Assam Tea. I steeped up plenty of each to keep my ‘she’ human alert as she worked through the night and into the wee hours of the morning.
Having had the recent pleasure of helping my humans try a sample of tea from the Nahorhabi tea garden, and having found it quite satisfactory, I also wanted to take a bit of a virtual tour of the garden to see what could be seen. Come along with me, dear tea loving humans. TOOOT! Continue reading Exploring the Nahorhabi Assam Tea Garden – A Little Yellow Teapot Report
From a little acorn, figuratively speaking, my passion for Indian spiced chai grew. Unlike the mighty oak that grows slowly, my thirst for this tasty version of hot tea grew quickly. Read on to see the tale of that acorn, where it came from, and how it grew!
You go around spreading acorns everyday, usually without even realizing or intending it. Well, years ago in a galaxy far, far away…uh, I mean, in an Indian restaurant in Washington, DC, I had joined a group of friends for lunch. Little did I know that the acorn of my passion for spiced chai would be planted in my brain. But it was and here’s how:
We were ordering our drinks and I had requested a diet soda (back when such beverages were still on my list of allowed potables). One of the folks at the table suggested that I try the spiced chai instead (officially, it’s “masala chai”). He said that since I liked tea with milk and sweetener and spicy foods (my fondness for preparing my own homemade curry was by then legendary among them), that the spiced chai would probably suit me. My bravado was in high gear that day, so I said, “Sure!”
His observation turned out to be very astute. First, the chai was not a hot spicy and very mild overall. Second, milk turns out to be one of the best things to have with spicy foods, since the casein in milk has been shown to help neutralize the capsaicin in spicy foods (the ones where hot peppers were used). Of course, a mango lassi (see this great recipe) would also have suited the occasion, but the spiced chai was something I just had to try! And it certainly was tasty as well as helping to cool the burn from that spicy dish I’d ordered (not sure which it was, but was very likely a lamb curry, since that is my favorite).
So sorry that I can’t remember his name and that it was in the days before digital cameras, blogs like this, and social media sites. But this thank you goes out through the ether anyway, along with photos from a much more recent experience in 2010 at an Indian restaurant in North Carolina (none near our new home here in Oklahoma).
Who knows? Maybe I just planted an acorn in someone else’s mind!
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text
When you can’t tell if a tea is “orthodox” or “CTC,” it’s a sign of a poorly processed tea. This one from Red Label is a prime example. Here is what we saw after the latest steeping:
There are teas that are considered “orthodox,” basically they are processed according to methods passed down through generations and involving a lot of hand labor. And then there are teas that are called “CTC,” which most tea vendors say means “Crush, Tear, Curl.” The leaves are put through machines and processed into a shape that is similar to the breakfast cereal called “Grape Nuts.” I tend to like both styles of teas and do not advocate one over the other. Each has its merits. However, seeing what looks like both styles mixed together just indicates that shortcuts were taken or the staff was not knowledgeable, or just plain sloppiness. Not that Red Label is a premium brand or anything, but still, a better standard than this is expected. Or am I being picky? No, maybe just spoiled. Whatever.
Typical of CTC style teas, this one from Red Label steeps up dark reddish brown. The flavor is rather astringent, so milk, sweetener, and a box of Walker’s shortbread were needed. Heh heh! (Okay, so I only ate one of the shortbread cookies with the tea.)
Personally, I don’t mind the mishmash of leaf shapes here – some CTC and some orthodox – but it does indicate room for improvement from the vendor. Either new equipment or better training for those operating it. Just my 2 cents’ worth.
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text
It’s always a sad time when we reach the last of our stock of certain teas – you know, the ones that are truly special. Well, the day has come when we reached the last of this Hattiali TGFOP 1 CL TPY 2nd Flush 2013 Assam tea [garden name on vendor label spelled differently from the garden site, which is the spelling I used here – just noting to save my readers some confusion]. And my humans and I (your fave little teapot) are indeed sad. What to do… TEA PARTY! Yes, tea parties are the answer to all our sad times. So, I invited that cutie teacup and the Moravian cookies from the local store to join in. It really cheered up our humans.