red jade (taiwan tea #18)
What is called red tea in Chinese is known as black tea in English. The name Red Jade was given to this tea due to its luminescent reddish-ochre brew. Taiwan Tea No. 18 is a hybrid of the Assam tea plant with the wild tea plant that is naturally occurring in mountain forests on the island of Taiwan. This strain of tea was created by the government subsidized Tea Research Extension Station in the Sun Moon Lake tea growing region of Taiwan. Since it possesses the DNA of a wild plant in the local eco-system, it possesses natural immunity to some of the “pests” that tend to compromise the health of the plant. Consequently, this tea is cultivated without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. It is a totally chemical-free tea, without being certified organic by current standards.
These wild tea qualities, in combination with the Assam tea plant that was originally a native plant to South and Southeast Asia produces an extraordinary type of black tea. The processing of black tea involves full oxidation of the leaves after being harvested, followed by low-temperature drying without any roasting. Due to the fact that black tea is processed without being exposed to the high temperatures that kill the naturally occurring oxidizing enzyme in the tea leaf or subsequent roasting, it maintains more of its integrity – similar to that of dried fruit or raw nuts.
Taiwan Tea No. 18 brews a rich, full-bodied tea with hints of clove, cinnamon and mint in its complex composition. Its character is unique among black teas, while still possessing a classic black tea quality. It is another exemplary selection on the Eco-Cha menu in that it is produced by sustainable methods with low-impact farming methods and minimal processing. If you are a black tea lover, you deserve a sampling of this unique strain of tea. These leaves are best brewed with slightly below boiling temperature water and with a conservative amount of tea leaves, although the unrolled tealeaves make it look like more in volume than its tightly rolled Oolong cousins.