Assam Tea: Everything You Need to Know (And How to Make it Properly)

Assam tea leaves

Quick Look:

  • ORIGIN: India
  • TASTING NOTES: bold, rich, savory, malty, earthy, spicy
  • STEEP TIME: 4 to 5 minutes

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What is Assam Tea?

Hailing from the Northeast Indian state of Assam, Assam tea is a popular black tea made from the assamica variety of the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Known for its rich red color and bold, malty flavor, Assam tea is used to make a proper cup of chai, and is also found in many breakfast tea blends, including English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas!

Thanks to its high caffeine content and strong taste, Assam tea is often the tea you would reach for as a substitute for coffee.

How do you pronounce Assam?

The proper way to pronounce Assam is “ah-sahm” or “uh-sahm”.

What do you need to make Assam tea?

Tea Scoop

This is the perfect tool to help you get the perfectly measured scoop of tea leaves every single time. You won’t regret adding this to your tea arsenal!

Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is a must-have brew gadget for tea drinkers! You can set the temperature to the degree for the perfect brew every time. This kettle is a favorite of ours. Or you can check out our full post on the best electric tea kettles.

Spring Water or Filtered Water

To get the best flavors from your tea, use high-quality water. Don’t use tap water or distilled water!

Tea Pot with Strainer

A teapot with a built-in strainer makes brewing tea so much easier when you’re using loose tea leaves. If you’re an avid tea drinker, you won’t regret buying this tea tool!

Loose Assam Tea Leaves

Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas. If you can’t use loose leaves, a tea sachet is the next best thing, since they have more room than a traditional tea bag.

Tea Cup

This one is up to you! Use whatever cup makes you happy! If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite drinkware.

How do you make Assam tea properly?

To make the perfect cup of Assam tea, you will want to use 1.5 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.

Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.

Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.

Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Make sure to pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.

Step 2: Boil your water.

For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 208°F. This is important, as the flavors will not fully develop if the water does not get hot enough. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, just bring your kettle to a full boil, then remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a moment before steeping the tea.

Step 3: Warm up your teapot.

First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink. 

Step 4: Put your Assam tea leaves into the teapot, add the rest of your hot water, and cover.

Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.

This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer. 

Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup, add sweeteners to taste, and enjoy!

Tea Tip:

If you dislike strong tea and are looking for a lighter infusion, steep your Assam tea for 2-3 minutes. For a medium brew, steep for 3-4 minutes. For the most robust flavors, steep for the full 5 minutes. However, we strongly recommend you do not steep any longer than 5 minutes, as the tea will become increasingly bitter.

What are the best sweeteners for Assam tea?

There are so many ways you can sweeten your tea. Here are a few great options:

Can you cold brew Assam tea?

Yes, Assam tea makes some of the best iced tea thanks to its bold flavor! 

Did you know cold brewing is the best way to make iced tea? To learn all about it check out our post on everything you need to know about cold brew.

Keep reading for the steps to make Cold Brew Assam tea at home. 

How do you make cold brew Assam tea properly?

To cold brew Assam tea, use 1.5 teaspoons of Assam tea leaves for every 8-ounce cup of water.

STEP 1: Add your tea leaves to a pitcher with an infuser.

STEP 2: Pour room-temperature filtered water or spring water over the tea and stir gently.

STEP 3: Put your pitcher in the refrigerator for 12 hours

STEP 4: Strain the leaves, add milk and/or sweeteners to taste, and enjoy!

Dairy-Free Alternatives to Add to Assam Tea

If you are lactose intolerant or just want a dairy-free option to use in your tea, we have some great substitutes for you:

Almond Milk:

This plant-based milk alternative will add a hint of nutty sweetness to your tea. There are different flavors and sweetened options, however, we prefer to stick with the original unsweetened version.

Oat Milk:

Derived from whole oats, this dairy-free milk will give your tea some creaminess with a neutral flavor. This one is a favorite of ours.

Coconut Milk:

Extracted from the grated pulp of mature coconuts, coconut milk will add a rich sweetness to your tea without any lactose! 

What does Assam tea taste like?

Assam tea is known for its bold, rich, and malty flavor. It can also have earthy and spicy tasting notes as well. Depending on how long it is steeped, it can have a varying degree of bitterness. 

Because of its intense taste, many people add sweeteners to it. 

How much caffeine is in Assam tea?

The caffeine content in a cup of Assam tea varies based on how long it has been steeped. The average cup of Assam tea has about 90 mg of caffeine. 

To compare, the average cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine. 

As far as the tea spectrum goes, this is on the high end of caffeine content, which is another reason it is often used in breakfast tea blends!

What are some health benefits of drinking Assam tea?

Assam tea has many health benefits including antioxidants, blood sugar maintenance, skin health, Parkinson’s prevention, heart health, and more!

For a full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of black tea.

Where can you find good quality Assam tea?

There are several good-quality Assam tea options you can try. Here are just a few options to get you started:

What is the best way to store Assam tea?

When it comes to storing Assam tea, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your Assam in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats. 

The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics.

Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

Here are some good options for storing your Assam tea:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

It is important to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!

We hope this guide helped you learn everything you need to know about Assam tea and how to make it at home!

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