As black teas go, Assam Black Tea is one of the most recognizable. Known for its body, briskness, malty flavor and strong, bright color, it is named for the Assam region of India, where it was developed and is now widely cultivated. Assam is one of only two areas in the world with native tea plants, the other being southern China.
The Indian state of Assam is the world’s largest tea-growing region, bordering Bangladesh and Burma, a region with such high heat and gushing rain that the tea grows in greenhouse-like conditions. This tropical climate contributes to Assam black tea’s exceptional malty taste.
Like all black teas, Assam is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but this type is a specific variety known as assamica. Unlike most highland tea varieties, Assam tea is grown at or near sea level. Assam tea is usually harvested twice, in a “first flush” and a “second flush,” whose leaves have a golden tip and a sweeter, full-bodied flavor.