Product Ships in 200g farm-sealed, foil pouch
Harvest: Spring, 2012
Growing Area: Yuchih Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
Elevation: 1,970-2,300 ft (600-700 M)
Varietal: Tai Cha #18
This is a beautiful looking and exceptional quality black tea grown in the Yuchih Township area of central Nantou County, Taiwan. The plantation is located in the hills overlooking the famous “Sun Moon Lake,” which is Taiwan’s largest natural lake and a very popular tourist attraction. Usually, on plantations at a moderately high altitude such as the one where this tea was grown (600-700 Meters/1,970-2,300 ft), Taiwanese tea growers do not produce much black tea due to very strong domestic demand for higher altitude grown oolong teas, so I really feel lucky to have found such a carefully & expertly produced black tea from this area.
About the Name:
Our Ruby Black Tea was produced entirely from hand picked and expertly processed Spring harvest, 2012 tea. The cultivar or sub-species of Camellia Sinensis used to produce this tea is known as “Tai Cha #18,” which basically means this tea varietal was bred/developed and designated as a unique cultivar by the Taiwan Tea Research Institute and was given the name (or number) “Taiwan Tea #18.” Other cultivars used in Taiwan’s tea industry are similarly numbered and also have common market names. For example, Tai Cha #12 is commonly known as Jin Xuan, and Tai Cha #18 has come to be known as “Hong Yu” or Red Jade/Ruby. (What we call “black tea” in the West is known as Hong Cha or “Red Tea” in Chinese tea-language, so we call this tea “Ruby Black” to at least try to eliminate some confusion)
Appearance, Flavor & Aroma:
The dry leaves are beautifully dark, long and twisted, and are predominantly composed of complete/whole leaves. It has a distinctively malty aroma in the dry and wet leaves that reminds me a lot of a good Yunnan or Assam black tea. The flavor profile of this tea is malty-sweet with a bit of fruit, a bit of spice, and very little astringency. It produces an exceptionally smooth and sweet cup of black tea.
As usual, I suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Rather than sticking to a specific weight of tea leaves to water volume measure, we recommend simply filling your gaiwan or Yixing style teapot 1/3 to 1/2 full of dry tea leaves, use water just under a boil and a series of short steepings. If you prefer to use a weight to volume measure, try starting with 7 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot.
For Western-style steeping, start with about 3 grams of leaf (good luck getting this leaf to fit in a teaspoon measure) per standard size cup. Use water just off the boil, and steep for 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.
General steeping guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short downloadable “how to” video on Gong Fu style tea preparation are available on our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.