When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, I worked for a small independent coffeehouse called Eureka Joe’s, located on Monroe Street. I also worked at Vermont Valley Farm, an organic Community Supported Agriculture farm, located near Blue Mounds.
On mornings I worked at the farm, I stopped by the shop on the way out, and I was always most happy when whomever had the morning shift had selected Assam as the black tea of the day. I’d get a twelve ounce with a little cream and honey and an oat-date scone for the drive out to the farm.
Tea master Tobin Morrison bought some of the best teas around for our shop (well, the best ones we could afford to sell for our regular price), and I’ve long tried to find an Assam to rival the one we carried there.
The search is over. I recently picked up a new selection from Jones’ Food Center’s natural foods department, lovingly stocked by Vermillion’s favorite conservative, Josef Vogel. Two Leaves and a Bud Organic Single Region Assam tea is everything I remember about my favorite morning tea–robust and malty, enough to take a lacing of cream and honey without its rich flavor fading behind the additives.
The downside is that it’s pretty darn pricey–over five bucks for fifteen bags. But the bags are big enough to fill a good-sized mug with great tea, and I guess when you figure how much a cup of good coffee or tea costs at a shop, it’s not so bad.