Berry Black is Stupid good

Tea :      Iron River Assam 2nd Flush  

Producer:  Teasource

Website: Iron River Assam 2nd Flush

Website description:  For those who love Assam. It’s got a get-up-and-go mouthfeel with the body of a breakfast tea. The cup is bright, brisk, with a distinct tobacco character that hangs on for a long finish. Nothing subtle.

Brewing Specs

Water:  240 ml/ approximately 8 oz

Temperature: 185 F

Steep Time: 3 minutes for 3 gm

My Review System:

My Overall Impression (Score of 83.0%)

It’s been a few weeks since my last review.  I’ve been on the road but enjoying my travels along with interacting with people.  I’ve been talking up loose tea to everyone and finally I feel like people are starting to understand its potential.  Especially after sharing some with new friends.

When I wrote this review a few weeks ago, of course the weather was a bit on the nasty side.  I reached for a tea to review and this just kind of pooped into my hand.  It was a perfect choice to combat the damp cold.  Since then, I’m still enjoying this big brew.  Trust me…it’s a big one but quite enjoyable.  From its deep notes on flavor to large structure, this is a great tea for a great price.  Teasource is out of stock right now but I’m hoping they will have this back soon for another round. 

What do I think this Tea’s Personality is?

  • This I call the Barolo of the tea world with a rich inviting mahogany color.

The Price

The price on 3/21/23 is $7.20 for 2 oz or 56.7 grams.

Broken down:

  • 56 gm / 3 gm for steeping = 18 brews
  • 18 brews from package = app. 40 cents per brew

Typically, I double steep all my teas (use the tea twice) so I can get 36 cups or approximately 20 cents per cup.  Personally, I don’t think you could do better on the pricing for this level of strength. 


  • Opening the package, you are met with heavy cereal malt notes along with tobacco, a sweet floral aroma, chestnuts, and smoked meats.
  • This is followed by peat moss, some decaying wood and of all things pine shavings (similar to what you would find in hamster cages – I promise I’m not making this up).
  • Once brewed, it changes completely to a deep rich tobacco/ oak note with a touch of sandalwood.
  • This is followed by notes of cloves, toasted walnuts, molasses, and tar.


  • It shows deep toasted oak flavors that reminded me of smoked meats (especially meat bark on the edges of smoked beef that has dried).
  • It also shows hints of cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, soy sauce and molasses.
  • However, it’s exceptionally smooth and inviting as the acidity brings you back repeatedly for sips.
  • Do not kid yourself; this is a dry brew on the sweetness level with great acidity and bold tannins.
  • It’s full body for sure but be careful on over brewing. It will extract some bitterness if steeped too long.


  • Aromas (4.1/5)
  • Flavors (8.3/10)
  • Overall impression (4.2/5)
    • Total score = 83.0 percent (16.6/20)

Foods to Pair and Why

  • Since this reminded me of a Barolo, all I could think about was dried beef and jerky. The funny part is that I happened to have some dried Maple Salmon Jerky on hand to try with this and it was great.
  • I love Asian options and 5 Spice Pork Lettuce wraps just seems to pair perfectly with this.
  • I consider myself simple when I cook sometimes as you really do not need to be fancy to eat well. After sipping on this brew, I had visions of a simple rustic beef stew (you know with the carrots, onions, celery) but with one twist.  I would add a splash of either soy sauce or molasses for more depth and
  • This tea has beautiful nuances of cocoa so I would love to pair some bittersweet chocolate cookies with this. Think about relaxing with a pot of tea, some light music playing and finishing with chocolate?  I’m feeling it.
  • Like red meats, other options crossed my mind. A steak salad with Diane sauce would be beautiful.  A bacon wrapped roasted venison loin.  Wait… a lamb gyro but the edges of the lamb meat are charred for more depth of flavor.  Just think of game options.


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