Taiwan Ruby Black (Hong Yue)
In the 1920s, the Japanese introduced assam tea plants to Taiwan and for many decades, Taiwan was famous for high quality black tea, much of it consumed domestically or in Asia. Hong Yue, as translated from Chinese, means “red jade,” or “ruby.” This special breed of tea bush is a cross of Burmese wild tea and Taiwan wild tea. Ruby Black, as we call it, or Hong Yue, is the premier black tea cultivar in Taiwan and renders a very unique character if processed with skill. Not all Ruby Black teas on the market taste the same and some are much better than others, but in general, Ruby Black has a distinctive aroma of clove, wintergreen, camphor, red date, raisin and cinnamon. Ruby Black brews a very assertive, strong flavored cup with a deep red infusion color and is best for gong fu cha style brewing, using a lot of leaf and short infusion times to yield multiple cups from the same serving of leaf. Some tasters believe it is the best of pu-erh, oolong and black tea worlds coming together and is a must try for those who love high grade and strong flavored black tea.
The five year old Hong Yue black tea farm in Nantou is too small for organic certification but the tea is still cultivated without any pesticides or harmful chemicals. Special yellow flowers are planted between the rows of tea bushes to help nurture the young tea bushes in place of fertilizers. Their roots aerate the soil and create an environment where beneficial bacteria thrive. They are mulched into the soil when the tea trees are older and stronger.
Water: 195˚F / Leaves: 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces / Infusion Time: 3-4 minutes / Ingredients: Black tea. / Origin: Taiwan.