1 Tasting Note
Thanks everybody for taking the time to taste and review this tea! We appreciate hearing all your opinions! I wanted to share a little more info here so have a read through the notes below and perhaps you’ll discover some new things about this tea. I’m not trying to rate our own tea, I know that’s not cool (I left the rating slider right it the middle) but I wanted to respond to a few tasting notes in one place so that it’s easy to read and everyone can get an overview and some more information on this tea. I’ve written a few brewing tips and more thoughts on the flavour qualities below so have a read!
I’ve also posted links to a few other reviews of this Red Jade tea by TChing, Walker Tea Review, Lainie Sips, and Tea for Me Please. Have a read of what a few other folks in the tea community thought about this Red Jade.
With Red Jade, more than any of our other teas, it’s all about the brewing. To get those subtle aromatic and flavor qualities that we describe this tea as having, the timing of the brew is most important. We ourselves have over brewed and not enjoyed it and it’s very easy to overbrew. The basic rule of thumb is quick brews.
Second to remembering to brew short steepings and pouring off the tea before it gets too strong is finding the amount of tea leaves that is right for you.
Third, slightly less than boiling temperature water should be used for single mug brewings.
For Gong Fu brewing, the first steeping can be done with boiling temperature water, but only steep for 20-30 seconds and pour off the first brew. Starting with the second brew, slightly less than boiling temperature water should be used, as you increase each successive brew by 10-20 seconds. With more delicate types of tea like this one, there is a science to the brewing method, and you need to experiment a bit.
We definitely recommend using a gaiwan or a gong fu teapot for best results. Brewing a full mug of tea tends to muddle the more subtle qualities and you risk the hazard of brewing an overly astringent, less aromatic and flavorful brew.
In Taiwan, Red Jade is often described as having a note of cinnamon in its aroma and aftertaste. In Taiwanese culture, cinnamon is used as a medicinal ingredient in traditional herbal remedies and in cooking recipes that use traditional Chinese medicine ingredients for flavoring. This stands in contrast to our common experience of cinnamon in baked goods or beverages where it is combined with sweeteners and other flavoring. So the tasting note in Red Jade is of the highly aromatic, slightly bitter quality in cinnamon rather than the sweetness that might be associated with it in western cuisine.
The flavors and aromas are definitely much more subtle in this pure loose leaf Black Tea than a tea blend with added ingredients. The flavor qualities of pure, high grade teas are only just reminiscent of other flavors (such as cinnamon or mint). The tea does not actually taste like these other ingredients, but reminds you of them when you taste it. Similar to a nice single malt scotch.
Taiwanese Red Jade is unique among Black Teas in its aromatic and flavor qualities and quite different than the more familiar hearty, mellow Assam and mainland China Black Teas. It is a hybrid of the wild tea plant that naturally occurs in mountain forests of Taiwan and the Assam tea plant that was imported by the Japanese during their occupation. The unique aromas come from the wild tea plant and are balanced by the mellow, hearty qualities of an Assam tea.
(Side note: The farmer that produced this particular batch has won multiple gold medal prizes in Black Tea Competitions in the Sun Moon Lake Area of Central Taiwan. This tea is also produced organically, without the use of any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Red Jade has the natural immune system of the wild tea plant to allow it to thrive in its natural environment.)
More Eco-Cha Red Jade Reviews by the tea community:
Jason Walker, Walker Tea Review:
Video review: http://walkerteareview.com/tea-review-503-eco-chas-red-jade/
(Jason gave this Red Jade a score of 90.)
“The first sip was minty and spicy…The tea remained aromatic through four steeps.”
“It’s flavor is akin to that of an Assam with a dusting of cinnamon and wintergreen. In fact, Eco-Cha’s version has a stronger wintergreen note than other versions that I’ve tried, so if you like mint, give this tea a try.”
Nicole Martin, Tea for Me Please:
“I love Taiwanese black teas because of their subtlety and this one was a great example of that. It started off with a soft earthiness and spice that developed into a cooling minty aftertaste.”