Spring time mean tea harvest for those lovely places in the world, one of those parts in the lush island of Taiwan. One of my favorite tea companies (Eco-Cha Arisan Teas) was awesome enough to keep a record of their tea production this year in a series of handy Harvest Reports and Facebook Photos. I certainly suggest checking it out of you have a passion for tea or a love of beautiful photography. Consider it a journey into the secret world of the tea leaf, experience the process it goes through from ground to cup!
Speaking of journeys to cups, today’s tea Red Jade Tea by Eco-Cha Artisan Tea, is a very fascinating red tea. Also known as Taiwan Tea No. 18, this particular tea is a hybrid of wild tea treas that grow on the mountains of Taiwan and the Assam tea plant. Created by the Tea Research Extension Station in the Sun Moon Lake region of Nantou, this tea’s hybridization gives it a natural immunity to some of the buggies that enjoy munching on tea plants. The aroma of the curly long leaves is nothing short of complex, blending rich cocoa, roasted peanuts, cloves, a bit of barley, and a woody quality. The aroma is more savory than sweet, in fact it is all savory instead of sweet, with a strong and heavy presence. This is a tea that will be noticed!
Adding the tea to the gaiwan and giving it a bath brought out some very interesting aroma notes, a strong showing from the cocoa and cloves, but also mint and cinnamon. This might be one of the more complex and unusual red teas I have experienced. The liquid’s aroma is lighter, with creamy cocoa and rich cloves, there is a finish of licorice and mint. If I could use any terms other than aroma notes to describe the way the tea smells I would say it is bold and snappy, it makes itself known and has a bright cooling affect at the same time.
With the first sip I am immediately struck by the complexity. At first there is a smooth woody and roasted nut quality with a hint of cloves. This fades to a mint and licorice midtaste that has a cooling sensation, not like actually eating or drinking mint, but the way your mouth is cooled when you switch from breathing through your nose to a deep breath through your mouth. I found it to be an incredibly refreshing sensation. The arftertaste is a tiny bit sweet and a bit like sassafras.
The second steep’s aroma is much sharper and snappy, there are still strong cocoa and clove notes, but the mint is much more prominent, as is the aroma of sassafras. The taste is rich and I would even say herbaceous but more woody herbaceous than leafy herbaceous. Think sassafras bark and roasted peanuts with hints of cloves and mint. It has a malty beginning and a malty finish. This steeping has no sweetness at all, it is all savory and rich.
The third steep’s aroma is much the same as the second, I did not notice any differences between the two. The taste however is different, it still has the same flavor notes as the previous steep, but instead of it being all savory and rich, it is milder and has a subtle sweetness. I really enjoyed this tea (but I don’t say Eco-Cha is one of my favorite companies lightly, I have loved all of their teas) and found the unusual and complex notes to be both exciting and relaxing.
For Blog, Photos, Links to Harvest Notes, and a bit of spring time: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/04/eco-cha-artisan-tea-red-jade-tea-tea.html