Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's What Wednesday 1

Tea Lessons

New Feature

Hi! Welcome or welcome back! If you're a regular reader, you know we love tea. Hot, iced, plain, sweet, unsweet, with milk, without. A tasty beverage! And we love to try new blends and share our reviews. Type "tea review" in the magic search box and see how many we've tried over the past 4 years. 

Anyway, I was thinking we throw around a lot of tea words and we're not even sure what all of them mean. So we brainstormed a new post topic and series. On What's What Wednesdays one of us will break down one jargon word for you. Let's start with Assam.


Honestly, I only know Assam as a type of tea, so I got out the laptop and searched some of our favorites for information. The Tea Maestro, TeaTime Magazine, Joseph Wesley, Harney and Sons, The Republic of Tea, and Teapigs. The last two didn't quite have what I needed; the first two (giggles) Mr. Richardson submits his work to TeaTime, so they are the same; the middle two added a bit extra.
It turns out Assam is a place. A part of India; the upper right or northeastern corner near China. If you look at the map, you can see a river runs through it. 

Assam is known for its wildlife, archaeological sites, and, of course, its tea plantations. Hey, check this out! Assam is the largest tea growing region in the world. The tea found there comes from the camellia sinensis assamica plant. In many cases the tea is harvested by hand.

The tea is picked, dried, and fermented and is one of the most notable black teas. Blenders like its rich, malty flavor as a base; you'll find Assam tea in blends like English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast. You'll also find it in a lot of basic tea bags. It is mellow and slightly sweet. Steeping time ranges from 4-6 minutes depending on how strong you want it and if you plan to add milk. 

In fact, it's perfect if you like to add milk, but don't add cream it's too heavy and can mask the taste of a good tea.
Speaking of you add it? Do you add it before or after pouring out? (giggles) That's a serious debate among tea drinkers. For the record, we've been known to do both depending on time.

I hope this new post series helps you understand our reviews better.

Best wishes,


  1. Years ago we hosted a Japanese exchange student and she once commented that she was hoping to have a "delicious" cup of green tea while in the states. I had green tea but I'm not sure she considered it "delicious". Since then I have wondered what a proper cup of tea is supposed to taste like. Does it taste differently in other countries? Does the type of water (well, chlorinated, distilled) vary the taste? Is the stuff we find in American supermarkets the same stuff one would find in London or Tokyo or India? Lots of questions. I'm looking forward to learning all about tea.

    1. Those are great questions, Fawn! We can give quick answers to two of your questions and we can build on them later.

      Yes, the water makes a difference. Most articles, books, and even package instructions will suggest you use filtered water, but not so far as distilled.

      The supermarket question depends on the label you purchase. Example, PG Tips is a UK brand; the blend in the US and UK tea bags should be the same. Difference in taste comes from a variety of factors; water, type of sweetener, milk quality (if added).

      Love these questions! Will definitely have expanded information in future What's What Wednesday posts. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Water is huge! I try to always use spring water for coffee or tea.

    1. We'll definitely be covering this topic in the future. We're planning to progress alphabetically. :-)