Flavor: Aromatic hints of cinnamon and clove. Full-bodied, complex, substantial character. Mellow, soothing finish.
Garden: This garden lies high in the hills above Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan. This area was developed in the first half of the 20th century for Assam Black Tea production by the Japanese. After decades of standard Black Tea production, it has seen a renaissance of specialty Black Tea making, mostly due to the introduction of Tai Cha #18, or Red Jade Tea, that was officially introduced in 1999.
Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. Summer 2017. Sun Moon Lake, Nantou, Taiwan.
Red Jade Tea - also known as Taiwan Tea No. 18, brews a rich, full-bodied tea with subtle hints of clove, cinnamon and mint in its complex composition.
The character of Red Jade is unique among black teas, while still possessing a classic black tea quality. It is another exemplary selection on the Eco-Cha menu in that it is sustainably produced with low-impact farming methods and minimal processing. If you are a black tea lover, you deserve a sampling of this unique strain of tea.
The Story Of This Tea
Tai Cha #18 is a hybrid of the Assam tea plant with the wild tea tree that is naturally occurring on Taiwan. It is recorded that the Portuguese were the first to discover this wild tea tree hundreds of years ago. When the Japanese came to this area in the early 1900's bringing with them the Assam plant, this wild tea was being cultivated by early Chinese settlers. So it is said that the hybrid existed long before the Tea Research and Extension Station registered and promoted it less than 20 years ago.
This batch of tea was harvested from a farm that has been managed by a local farmer for well over a decade. In recent years however, our friend who is an organic tea farmer has contracted this farm to cultivate its crop naturally, using no chemical farm products whatsoever. Our friend began with a commitment to procure 1/3 of the seasonal crop, and in less than 3 years has increased his procurement to 2/3, based on demand for his naturally cultivated Red Jade Tea that he processes himself in his home factory. He has had these leaves tested annually with consistent ND results, which indicates zero chemicals in the tea leaves. This new generation with an integrated sustainable approach to tea production is the kind of development in the industry we seek to support.
Our friend lives in the Songbolin tea producing region, and his home factory is equipped for Black Tea processing, which was used by previous generations in his family, but was dormant for many years before this new development. He has repurposed his inherited factory for the production of naturally cultivated Black Tea from a nearby region. He processes his Black Tea himself, using his own factory, which reduces cost and allows him to market it at competitive prices. This also is the kind of sustainable business approach that we are committed to supporting in the local industry. His produce of "small leaf type" Oolong from his own organic farm is processed by a nearby modern tea factory designed to make Green Oolong, in the fashion of High Mountain Oolong.