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

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.

 

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3 Responses

Jim
Jim

April 28, 2014

I am excited to taste and share this Red Jade tea very soon!
Thank you for sharing such helpful information.

Eco-Cha
Eco-Cha

March 02, 2014

Thanks for sharing why you love Red Jade Pei Pei! Beautiful words!

Pei Pei Hsen
Pei Pei Hsen

February 25, 2014

Thanks, Eco-Cha taught me a lot tea knowledge .
I love Red Jade -Taiwan’s Black Tea “紅玉紅茶” I will share with you why I love Red Jade , but in Chinese .
台茶十八號紅玉紅茶是由日月潭的水、土丶風丶火孕育出來,具有台灣山茶的基因,沖泡後有天然肉桂及花蜜的清香,茶湯呈現美麗的深亮紅,喉韻清爽甘醇,層次的變化回味無窮。

我寫一首小詩來稱讚紅玉

紅玉十八台灣香
日光月色潭水長
南投魚池是沃土
清爽甘醇再一壺

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