Free global shipping on orders $35 or more!

Tea Story #6 Red Jade: Taiwan's Black Tea Specialty

February 24, 2014

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. Also known as Taiwan Tea No. 18 Red Jade is a hybrid of the Assam tea plant and the wild tea tree that grows naturally in the mountain forests 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 Nantou County. Since it possesses the DNA of a wild plant in the local eco-system, it has natural immunity to some of the “pests” that tend to compromise the health of the more conventionally cultivated tea plants. Consequently, this tea garden - now in its fifth year of growth, has been cultivated without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Although this farmer has not pursued official certification, this is - in effect, organically produced tea.

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 high temperatures to cease oxidation or subsequent roasting, it maintains more of its natural character – similar to that of dried fruit or nuts. Summer is considered to be the prime harvest time for black tea, when the leaves contain the most catechins, providing more flavor and astringency.

The producer of this tea is employed by the Yu Chi Township Tea Research Extension Station (TRES) and has consistently won gold medal prizes in each of the Black Tea Competitions in this area. He is a leading figure in his field and his knowledge and expertise of black tea cultivation in Taiwan is virtually unsurpassed. In recent years, he has formed a cooperative of 5 fellow tea producers that all follow the same standards of production. This allows these farmers to maintain their small, family-run farms at high quality, artisan standards while meeting demand for larger quantities of tea.

These leaves are best brewed with slightly below boiling temperature water and with a conservative amount of tea leaves, although the unrolled tea leaves make it look like more in volume than its tightly rolled Oolong cousins. Quick, repeated steepings are ideal for this tea type for maximum fragrance and minimum astringency.

 





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Long Feng Xia High Mountain Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Long Feng Xia High Mountain Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

January 11, 2019

Batch #38  of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is kicking off 2019 with a cutting edge rendition of Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong Tea. We're inspired to share this batch of tea because of its differentiating value from the conventional market grade High Mountain Tea that has become well known in Taiwan and beyond. 

View full article →

Long Feng Xia  (龍鳳峽) or Dragon Phoenix Gorge
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Long Feng Xia High Mountain Oolong Tea

January 07, 2019

Long Feng Xia  (龍鳳峽) or Dragon Phoenix Gorge is a deep river valley on the south side of the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Tea growing region. Long Feng Xia is also the place name of the ridge overlooking this gorge, and is well known in Taiwan as the source of some of the best quality Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea.

View full article →

How Long Does Tea Stay Fresh?
How Long Does Tea Stay Fresh?

December 20, 2018

The shelf life of tea is a common topic of discussion among tea drinkers. We often see questions such as:

  • Can tea go bad?
  • How do I keep my loose leaf tea fresh?
  • Which teas have longer or shorter shelf lives?

Let's look at some of the factors that affect how long your tea stays fresh.

View full article →