|"For me, the thing that absolutely sets this one apart from the herd is that pop of wintergreen. It kind of lends a clean aroma and gives a bit of tingle to your mouth. I also loved the smoothness, the malt and the touch of spices (clove and cinnamon). "|
Recently, I went gaga over American Tea Room's Choco Late. I plowed through my sample in just a day or two and found myself placing an order with American Tea Room for more. Since David, one of the owners of the American Tea Room, and I are Facebook friends, I decided to ask him what was considered to be a must-have from their store. His response to me was this Ruby Black. He described it as sort of cross between a black tea and an oolong and gave the impression that it was exquisite. As I sit here sipping through my cup at record pace, I have to say that I agree.
The dry leaves are dark, long and wiry. If you had asked me to guess the tea type, I probably would have guessed that they were those of an oolong, but they are missing that roasted smell that dark oolong leaves typically possess. I prepared my one-cup teapot using a tablespoon of leaves in 200 degree water and infused them for 2 min. This truly is a nice cross between a black tea and an oolong. I guess in a way it reminds me of a really high-end Oriental Beauty as that varietal usually has characteristics of a Darjeeling and an oolong. However, I would say that this is more like a cross between a Yunnan and an oolong. This one starts as a mild, malty black tea and finishes as a smooth oolong. It is rather light-bodied and naturally sweet. I noticed that the personality of this tea changed quite a bit with the temperature. When it is hottest, I would say that I thought it was a bit maltier. I also noticed hints of wood, spice and clove. There is something about the aroma that smells very clean and American Tea Room describes this as having a mint undertone. However, don't think peppermint---think more of a wintergreen! As the cup cools, the primary notes morph into that of cinnamon and honey, but I continued to find notes that reminded me of clove. The overall flavor of the cup at cooler temps reminds a bit of sweet potatoes! I prepared a second infusion of this that was every bit as good as the first. While I am not one to drink a bunch of cups of anything in a row, I prepared a third infusion. It not as good as the subsequent two as it was starting to get a bit mild, but it was still decent.
In my opinion, this tea is outstanding and one that I could see myself reaching for on a regular basis. This is truly like a blessed union of an oolong and a black tea. For me, the thing that absolutely sets this one apart from the herd is that pop of wintergreen. It kind of lends a clean aroma and gives a bit of tingle to your mouth. I also loved the smoothness, the malt and the touch of spices (clove and cinnamon). It is my understanding that there are a number of imposter's on the market for this blend and if you want to make sure you ordering the real deal then you need to make sure that you are ordering TTES No. 18. This one comes with a bit of price tag, but it is totally worth it. Sigh! Time to make another order from American Tea Room. Again. Soon. Serious thumbs up!
» Read more about this reviewer on Laura's profile page.
» Find a list of recent posts by Laura.