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Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by American Tea Room
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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14 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Yay, my swap from TastyBrew arrived yesterday, & she is awesome! Most of the samples are in foil pouches with her own cool logo on them: it's a tea mug with a beer bottle in it, & the label on the...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 2498 tasting notes
  • “This is my tea of choice for work today. Thanks *Sil* for sending this my way. I've decided that Taiwan blacks aren't normally my favorite. I usually find them too mild and slightly astringent....” Read full tasting note
    82
    Dexter3657 585 tasting notes
  • “I'd read the tasting notes but had forgotten what was said. I brewed for 2 minutes, then 2:30 for the second steep. Next time I'll try longer as recommended! I had the opposite problem to those...” Read full tasting note
    74
    pinky 38 tasting notes
  • “What a weird tea! I got this from TastyBrew...I'm on a roll today with the teas we swapped. Thanks TastyBrew! So, this tea looked like an oolong, both in dry leaf form and when steeped. A dark...” Read full tasting note
    Tealizzy 435 tasting notes

From American Tea Room

Grown on the shores of Sun Moon Lake in Nantou comes this rare exquisite black tea. Long lush twisted leaves resembling charred wood splinters are entwined with scarlet highlights that create a most sensual and sumptuous composition.

Ruby Black is produced from a hybrid of native Myanmar and imported Assam trees planted by Japanese growers in the 1920’s. Black tea has rarely been cultivated in Taiwan an island famed for its Oolongs. Production of this tea ceased until the great 1999 Taiwan Earthquake, when the devastation of hillsides revealed these hardly cultivars. The reintroduction of this tea revitalized the local economy and created a sensational black tea that rivals any Darjeeling or Assam. This is only the third year of production for this magnificent tea.

Imagine the finest Assam with not a hint of astringency and a sweet malty taste almost dripping down the sides of your tongue and marry that flavor with undertones of cinnamon and mint. The taste is beyond description so light and balanced yet robust. Background notes pick up hints of grilled baby root vegetables, small fresh potatoes and rich earth (like in a primeval forest). Only 1000 kilograms were produced in 2010 and virtually none has ever been exported to the US until now. American Tea Room is the sole purveyor of Ruby Black and has a limited amount of this spectacular tea plucked just for us from March 28 – 30 and expertly crafted before being air shipped to insure optimal freshness.

About American Tea Room View company

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14 Tasting Notes

2498 tasting notes

Yay, my swap from TastyBrew arrived yesterday, & she is awesome! Most of the samples are in foil pouches with her own cool logo on them: it’s a tea mug with a beer bottle in it, & the label on the bottle has her name on it! How cool is that?

Here I am, still rolling tea up in baggies, like the old dope dealer I used to be.

Ruby black is my first sample from the wonderful array of teas she sent. From the description, it sound like a super sweet & malty cup, and although it isn’t bad, it doesn’t really follow its bio.
The leaves are a nice dark reddish black, crazy & twisty like an oolong. TB suggested a steep time of 5 minutes. 4 min is usually my preferred time for black teas. I started steeping, dipping a spoon in for a slurp every so often, as I do for new teas sometimes, just to make sure I don’t go over. I let it go to 4min. The resulting brew is dark in color, sweet, with an orange veggie taste like roasted squash or carrots, & lightly malty. Definitely not the bold Assam like character I was expecting! There is a little tongue tingling sensation, & I think next time I’ll give it 5 min to see if it changes anything.
Thanks TastyBrew! I’m bringing Methode Noir to breakfast with me!

Sil

We need to think about an order from these guys…maybe August. I think I’ve narrowed my birthday orders down to verdant, butiki, mandala….and maybe the tea spot. I think I can hold off on American tea room for now…

Terri HarpLady

Sounds good. I know I’ll be ordering from Mandala in July, as I’ve already drank up most of the samples I got & I HAVE TO HAVE that teapot. I’ll need more chocolate O from Teaspot, & probably some other things too.

TastyBrew

I’ve never gotten this tea to do what I want it to. I read reviews of it and other people seem blown away and I’m totally underwhelmed by it. I hope you like the methode noir. It’s really sweet and smooth.

Sil

Ooh maybe tasty can be our 4th? ;)

TastyBrew

I’d rather be the 4th than the 3rd!

(What are we talking about?)

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82
585 tasting notes

This is my tea of choice for work today. Thanks Sil for sending this my way.
I’ve decided that Taiwan blacks aren’t normally my favorite. I usually find them too mild and slightly astringent. Not this one. This works for me. As always I’m not really sure what it is that I like about it, but it doesn’t have much/anything that I don’t like. It’s just a nice smooth, flavorful, black tea. I’ve enjoyed my time with it at work today

Sil

it’s bad when i have zero recollection of what i sent you haha. i just tossed random things into the box until it was full, of things i thought you might want to try haha

Dexter3657

LOL It’s a great box, with lots of interesting things in it. I’m currently putting together second swap packages for a couple of people, and am not sure what I sent the first time. I really need to start keeping a log. :))

Terri HarpLady

I keep a tea journal, with confessions regarding the ridiculous amount of money I spend on tea, lists of what I sent to whom & what I received, lists of teas I want to buy, LOL, & an occasional actual tea log, mainly for gongfu steepings, or the first time I try a tea.

Terri HarpLady

admittedly, I’m not always consistent…

Dexter3657

But….but…..I like living in denial regarding the ridiculous amount of money I spend on tea.

mrmopar

We all are !!!

Sil

i originally had a list of things i’d sent people but then there are a couple people like dexter/terri…that i pretty much just take things from my cupboard randomly and go “OOOOHHHHH yeah this one! OOOOHHHH ya ya that one!” and then it’s sometimes over the course of a few weeks…so i’m shocked i haven’t added in the same tea twice yet lol

Terri HarpLady

Someday when I’m gone, my kids will be cleaning my house out & reading my various journals, & they’ll find boxes of puer cakes in various locations, shelves of tea canisters, crocks filled with samples, who knows what else, LOL. Then they will realize what a wack-job I really am.

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74
38 tasting notes

I’d read the tasting notes but had forgotten what was said. I brewed for 2 minutes, then 2:30 for the second steep. Next time I’ll try longer as recommended!

I had the opposite problem to those trying to get more oolong though. From the rich amber brew I expected something malty and sweet. Although malty and sweet wasn’t what smelling the dry leaves suggested I was going to get, I couldn’t seem to let go of that expectation. What I got was vegetable – not roasted and caramelised, but something fresher, maybe lightly cooked sprout, the kind of thing I would have resisted eating when I was 3. I’m not saying it tasted like Brussell sprouts, but it troubled me that I was having to fish through my mental flavour library to try to get closer to it. Then I got it! It tastes like oolong, green oolong, not the complex buttery, floral or fruity notes but the underlying oolong tea taste.

I think I’d rather have an oolong. Or a black. I’ll see how I like this next time, now that I’ve got a better idea of what to expect.

I really like ATR’s sample packs. There’s masses of leaf in this packet, so I’ll have plenty of chances to make up my mind. I nearly didn’t write this note. I was feeling a little embarrassed about the number of new teas I’ve acquired lately. I had to fight down an urge to keep this one a secret. There’s no need to be shy here, right?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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435 tasting notes

What a weird tea! I got this from TastyBrew…I’m on a roll today with the teas we swapped. Thanks TastyBrew! So, this tea looked like an oolong, both in dry leaf form and when steeped. A dark oolong. It smelled vegetal once steeped, like an artichoke. Let me tell you, this tasted like drinking liquid artichokes, in a good way, if that’s possible. I actually really liked it, and I’ve not been fond of vegetal teas. So weird! It also seemed to taste like a squash or potato with a hint of cinnamon, but only in the aftertaste. Weird, but good!

TastyBrew

Glad you like it! I really want to as it is super highly regarded, but every time I have it I want it to be a little different. I should try it in the gaiwan to see if I can separate out some of the flavors. I do love artichokes!

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89
596 tasting notes

Very nice, very smooth. I agree that it could probably go longer than 2 minutes, but I’d also advise paying attention and not oversteeping. Temperamental? Yes, but worth it.

Geoffrey Norman

Funny, I never found it temperamental. It held up quite well, but definitely needed the two-minute steep time. Embittered quickly even slightly off. However, this also iced well, taking on a spicy note.

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58
357 tasting notes

After my good experience trying the Milk Oolong again after many months I thought I’d try another tea that I had tasted early on in my teaventure that I hadn’t enjoyed much, but was highly reviewed. I didn’t enjoy this one much then and I’m disappointed to say I didn’t enjoy it much now either, so I guess I haven’t evolved that much. ;-)

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94
328 tasting notes

I steep this one for 4 mins about 1 tablespoon for 16 ozs. This is one of my favorite black teas. It is a change up from the standard black yunnans that I like. Yet it has similar qualities as a true Chinese tea as I find it drinkable w/o sugar (unlike assams). And at the longer steep time, I can detect a subtle burnt sugar flavor?

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280 tasting notes

I have a sample of this; I chose it because, as others have described, it LOOKS like an oolong (very long, twisted leaves), and a black tea/oolong hybrid sounded interesting and different.

I’ve had it 3 times now, the first 2 I took their suggestions for 2 minutes at nearly boiling. It tasted like a black tea with a hint of cinnamon. It was good, but I didn’t know why it didn’t seem anything like an oolong, and so I didn’t think it was very remarkable. But I didn’t want to just give up on it, so I tried it for 3 minutes today…

It was much better! I was getting all kinds of fruity oolong flavors on top of a high quality black base. I knew it wasn’t possible for it to be made in Taiwan and look like an oolong and yet not taste like one!

So if you give this one a shot, steep for at least 3 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91
223 tasting notes

I’m a sucker for long twisted leaves and this tea has them in spades. The instructions call for this tea to be steeped for two minutes but I think it would probably do better a bit longer. As is the tea is sweet with fruity notes and the slightest frisson of cinnamon. I do not taste the maltiness that the package claims. It is an excellent tea. I will definitely put this one on my shopping list.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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82
247 tasting notes

“This tea smells really good, you know?”

Ah, the innocent words of a not-so-innocent 5 year old who just knocked over my cup of tea.

Ruby Black is indeed a nice-smelling tea. It smells like tea. I really do like the way it smells. When I opened the package, as usual, I held it to my nose and sniffed. Very nice. It’s a nice toasty scent. The tea’s color… beautiful! Like a reddish-black. Love it! I appreciate the aesthetics of tea, the whole experience.

I followed the instructions and used the Breville at 200 degrees for two minutes.

The scent when brewed changed, but it’s still very nice. It has developed into a more vegetal scent, but still with that hint at toastiness.

Now, for the taste. It’s definitely a black tea and I’m not (in general) a black tea lover. I don’t add milk or sweetener to tea. It’s bold, but an understated, not so in-your-face bold. It’s like an underlying strength. It tastes very vegetal. So much so that I almost feel like it could be something on my plate. (That’s not a plus in my book.) Still, it’s a mysterious taste with a hint at spiciness, but not really. Just a tiny touch. It’s almost a thick taste, without the feeling of weight. There is a maltiness to it.

Overall, it’s nice. I do like it, but it hasn’t converted me to black tea. (I’ll keep trying them all, though!)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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