|"This tea comes from a new species of tea tree; TTES No.18, or Ruby, was developed by the Council of Agriculture's Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) and is grown by Seshui farmers. The Ruby tea tree was derived from the hybridization of a Burmese tea tree and Taiwan's wild tea and is remarkable for a cinnamon fragrance with a slight hint of mint."|
This tea comes from a new species of tea tree; TTES No.18, or Ruby, was developed by the Council of Agriculture's Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) and is grown by Seshui farmers. The Ruby tea tree was derived from the hybridization of a Burmese tea tree and Taiwan's wild tea and is remarkable for a cinnamon fragrance with a slight hint of mint.
Dry, the leaves of my sample did have a light, sweet, slightly minty fragrance. I steeped a generous teaspoonful (my entire sample) in 8 oz of 200F water for four minutes, which produced a crystal clear, medium amber liquor with a faint, mild fragrance halfway between a Yunnan and an oolong—cinnamon, woody, sweet, and slightly floral around the edges, with that hint of mint. The flavor was very smooth, bright, and sweet, with initial black tea notes of cedar, mint, and cinnamon, but a finish that slipped toward the oolong range again, with the sweetness of clover, honeycomb, and a hint of caramel that lingered nicely between sips. As it cooled a sweet cream note crept in. Reverting to black again, however, there was a notable but not harsh level of astringency, and very little fragrance left in the mouth. The sweet aftertaste, however, continued to linger on my tongue as I prepared to make the second infusion.
The wet leaves were a slightly lighter brown now. I pulled a few out and found that they measured 3.5 inches long and were quite slender. They were not especially aromatic, but did have a faintly sweet smell. I infused them a second time for five minutes. The color of this cup was comparable to the first, but it now had more of a black tea aroma. The flavors, however, held true and this cup was as enjoyable as the first. As I drank it, I looked around on the internet for more information and saw that in Taiwan they drink this tea gong fu style. I think it would lend itself well to that.
Although I don't generally expect a third infusion from a black tea, I'd been impressed enough with the second one to give it a try. Another 5 minute infusion produced a slightly lighter liquor with a slightly sweet, minty fragrance. My initial impression of the flavor was that it had faded considerably, but the finish was still going strong—sweet, minty, and smoother, with less pull. If three regular-style steepings could produce this much flavor, then brewing it gong fu style you might get ten or more very good infusions.
This is a unique and impressive new tea. I highly recommend you give it a try.
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