We tasted 4 Assams and Teahouse Kuan Yin’s pink and spicy house chais. The tasting began at 11am and it seemed that all had waited to have their first sip of tea until then. The lack of tea (or perhaps caffeine) allowed for a quiet and mellow beginning to our tasting. We enjoyed the first lemony, brisk sip of the Halmari Assam and appreciated the robust reddish orange color of the brew. Halmari was followed by Golden Satrupa and A Tippy. We finished with Cream of Assam, served with milk.

Assam Tea Garden

Bob’s comment was quite apt, “I like Assams because they are straight forward.” This statement is true when comparing Assams with Oolongs, Pu’ers and Green Teas, but tea in general is far from simple. At the tasting we discussed the growth of Assam teas in that region, beginning with the history of the tea in India, followed by the cultivation and processing.

Assam teas are grown from the Assam bush varietal of the tea plant, camellia sinensis. This is the same tea plant that grows in China’s Yunnan Province where wonderful Pu’er tea originates. The Assam region of India is in the far Northwest at the base of the Himalayas. Depsite the fact that we were tasting teas on a Sunday morning at Teahouse Kuan Yin in Seattle, we dreamed of how beautiful and picturesque the growing region in Assam must be, with the back drop of some of the worlds highest mountains and the greenest of leaves growing beneath.

Chai — it is a warm, sweet, delicious and heart-warming drink. I love to enjoy tea with friends, and chai exmplifies this to the highest level. It is more like enjoying desert with people. The slightly sweet, milky broth of savory spices tickles the tongue and calms the belly. At Teahouse Kuan Yin we offer two chais, a pink Kashmiri chai and a spicy Kashmiri chai. Kashmiri chai has green tea as a base and magically turns pink as it brews! The spicy chai has more black pepper and ginger and therefore tastes less sweet. Neither is overly sweet and the combination with whole milk really complements the spicyness appropriately.

Assams and chais was a great tea tasting, enjoyed with wonderful company at the teahouse. If you are interested in joining a tasting here please email us, TeaHouseKuanYin@gmail.com, or call (206) 632 – 2055