Honey Fragrance Black
When stacking up Taiwanese black tea against its Chinese competition, people often think of the Ruby 18 variety as the point of comparison. This was a cultivar (short for cultivated variety) which was introduced to Taiwanese tea farmers in 1999 by the TTES (Taiwanese Tea Research and Extension Station). While it has been much celebrated, teas made with this cultivar often feel like they are missing what makes Chinese black tea so special, mainly all that junk in the trunk. Ruby 18 is all treble and no bass.
That's why we were so excited to come across this lovely Taiwanese black tea crafted using a cultivar traditionally for making oolong, whose leaves also had the fortune of being bitten by the tea jassid.
The result is an immensely complex cup of tea, with plenty of bass and honey. Notes of sweet potato peel, butterscotch and cocoa powder. One teapot in and we were ready to sing the praises of Taiwanese black tea all over again.
Teamaker - Li Family
Location - Sanxia District, New Taipei, Taiwan
Elevation - 1,300'
Harvest Time - Late May 2023
Cultivar - Qing Xin
- Gong Fu - This tea works great in both porcelain and semi porous vessels. Since it is lightly twisted leaf, we recommend filling a third to half of the vessel with dry leaf.
- Western - Use 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 oz of water. Add 212F water and steep for 4-6 minutes. Can be re-steeped a second time, adding 2-3 minutes to the original steep time.